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cestmoi Post time: 2015-10-19 07:46
Quite the opposite, history is the basis on which Chinese, and I include Mongolians, Manchus, Hans, ...
Beijing claims that Taiwan is China’s territory, which it is not. If sovereignty is a function of conquest, colonization, and control, then no mainland Chinese regime has ever in the five thousand year history of China satisfied these conditions as far as Taiwan is concerned. Indeed, China itself was ruled by a variety of non-Chinese regimes for most of its history and the only quasi-serious claim “China” has to Taiwan was made during the Qing Dynasty, which was a Manchu not a Chinese regime. The Qing declared Taiwan an administrative region, but never controlled the island. Its claim lasted a grand total of ten years, from 1885 to 1895 when Japan took possession of the island as part of the settlement of the Sino-Japanese war. It was Japan that conquered, colonized, and controlled Taiwan against the will of its overwhelmingly non-Chinese inhabitants for the subsequent fifty years, until the end of World War II.
Beijing claims that the Senkaku Islands are Chinese, which they are not. If the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyutai, belong to anyone they belong to the former kingdom of Ryukyu, which included the many island groups stretching from the Senakakus to Okinawa. The kingdom existed from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries before being gradually absorbed by the Satsuma clan of Southern Japan. At the same time the kingdom was a tributary to the Ming Dynasty.* Thus, as a dual tributary, the Ryukyuan people sent hundreds of trade and tribute missions to China and Japan, passing the Senkakus on the way to China. Indeed, the Ryukyu Kingdom served as an entrepôt for trade between Japan and China (Ming China prohibited direct trade with Japan). Japan took control of the Senkakus after the Sino-Japanese War in an action unrelated to that conflict.
The People’s Republic of China, in fact, acknowledged that the Senkakus were Japanese until relatively recently. After WWII the United States administered the Senkakus, Okinawa and other formerly Japanese-controlled islands, as part of the peace treaty with Japan. It was only in 1968, when the United States initiated discussions with Japan about returning these islands to Japan that Beijing saw an opportunity to insert a claim. The true, political significance of the Chinese move lies more as a challenge to the U.S. presence in the Western Pacific because the islands still come under the legal purview of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, which commits Washington to defend them as Japanese territory.
The Paracel Islands off the Vietnamese coast are another case of uncertain provenance, none of it Chinese. It was France that annexed the islands as part of their Indochinese colony and the Japanese who took over from France during WWII. China came late to this party, when the Chinese Communists seized the largest of the islands, Woody Island, in 1950 and took the rest in January 1974 when Vietnam was divided, at war, and unable to resist.
The Paracels lie relatively close to Hainan Island and so a dispute with Vietnam is understandable, even if not justified. But the Spratlys, a conglomeration of a multitude of islets, reefs, inlets, and shoals, lies over a thousand miles from Chinese territory. China’s actions here are a brazen grab of territory, which must not be accepted. If China is allowed to seize territory a thousand miles from its own country, what country is secure?
China acts because the only power able to prevent such action, the US, does nothing.