With the recent Galwan valley clashes between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh which led to battle casualties and martyrdom of 20 soldiers of Indian Army, let’s dive into the brief history of China’s expansion of their territory either by Military actions or through Trade.
China a country of around 1.4 billion peoples has and old history of expanding its territories and with a vision to become a superpower. China has expanded around 13 regions in its adjacent countries and aims to expand its area furthermore posing a threat to South Asian countries.
China’s expansion of their territory in many areas of Tibet, Turkestan, Mongolia, Manchuria, Pakistan, Macao, Hongkong, and putting diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, Vietnam for making its global influence with the aim to became the next Superpower.
China’s Expansion in Tibet
China’s relations with Tibet has been volatile. In the 13th century, Tibet has been ruled by the Chinese and Mongolian Dynasty and by Britain in around 20th Century before becoming an independent nation.
In 1950 the PLA invaded Tibet and captured many areas, some of them were assimilated to neighboring provinces and some of the areas became the autonomous region after the “17-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” in May 1951.
1959 there was a revolt against the Chinese Military after the destruction of religious buildings and imprisonment of monks and leaders which resulted in the killing of 87000 Tibetans in Lhasa region alone after the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India and from then on Tibetan government has been running in exile from Dharamshala, India.
Due to international pressure chinas has somehow relaxed its policies over there and tried to modernize Tibet and made open to foreign tourists in this region.
However, there have been demands for the independence of Tibet with protests on various significant days along with the support of various activists worldwide.
Tibet is extremely important to China because of its past and provides a buffer zone between India, Nepal and Pakistan, the hilly region provides military and security advantage to china and the region with filled with natural resources like water and gold.’
China’s Expansion in Tibet has been one of the most brutal chapters in its expansion history.
China’s expansion in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh(Sino Indian War 1962)
India which has been on the road of development not as fast as China though, one of the strongest countries in terms of their military strength and china has been finding ways to clash with India.
China also claims its territory over Arunachal Pradesh and considers this state as South Tibet and therefore a part of China.
Historically the Arunanchal Pradesh was neither a part of India nor China, it was initially dominated by the autonomous tribes in this region.
In 1913 and 1914 British representatives met with representatives of China and Tibet and decided the demarcation line of Arunanchal Pradesh also known as the McMahon line which separates Arunachal from Tibet, which China refused to accept.
When Chinese troops invaded Tibet and Dalai Lama fled to India, India supported Tibet which angered China.
During the Sino-Indian war of 1962, China invaded Arunanchal Pradesh and even came up till Tawang and Tezpur district of Assam, but later on decided to withdrew their force till Mcmohan line after diplomatic talks by both the governments.
China is keenly interested in Arunanchal Pradesh because there is an assumption of heavy gold and Lithium deposits in Arunanchal Pradesh.
While mining there were Gold and Silver deposits of $60 billion discover in Lhunze region of Tibet which is adjacent to Arunachal Pradesh.
Tawang which is a district located in Arunanchal Pradesh which shares its border with Tibet and Bhutan is the place of strategically and military importance and has been the source of interest in China and they even had captured this area in Sino Indian war of 1962.
Chinese have even destroyed many maps and created their map of Arunanchal Pradesh with Chines names.
China also claims over Aksai Chin, which is situated in the southwest of Xinjiang province where most of the Uyghur Muslim people are there.
This has been an inhospitable and remote region from many years and most of the population staying are nomadic tribes belonging to this region and had been the main cause of conflict between India and China.
India claims Aksai Chin as a part of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Till the 1950s this region was completely ignored but after China’s expansion of their area in Tibet. Chinese built a road to Xinjiang from Tibet through Aksai Chin, India was agitated upon this action by the Chinese and this led to a major factor in Sino Indian War of 1962.
India lost the war in 1962 on both the frontier of North and Eastern frontier and Chinese acquired areas of Arunanchal and Ladakh. In Arunanchal they retrieved back towards to McMohan line but denied in the areas of Ladakh and acquired around 14700 sq miles of Aksai Chin and Ladakh region.
In 1993 and 1996 India China signed agreements and the demarcation line named Line of Actual Control (LAC) was formed which separated India-controlled territory with Chinese controlled territory in Jammu and Kashmir.
LAC is not like the LOC which has been officially demarked on the land also, due to the under marking LAC there had been clashes going along on this line between the 2 countries with the recent clash of Galway Valley.
China is interested in Aksai Chin because of its huge military importance, this area has an average altitude of 17000 ft and will provide a military advantage to China if ever China went on war with India.
China’s expansion of their area in Aksai Chin after India lost the Sino-Indian war in 1962 has been a dark chapter Indian history after Independence.
South China Sea
One of the awful acts of China’s expansion of its territorial claims in the South China Sea. China has not claimed disputed territories in this region but also developed some inhabited Island like Woody, Spratly Island and also created artificial Island over the region.
China has been using these islands for creating its research station over gaining control and dominating this region.
Many of these islands have been claimed by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan on which China has been claiming their existence because of its historical and geographical existence.
Adding to the woes of China Us Navy patrols over in this area because of allies with South Asian Countries, which keeps China infuriated.
This South China sea is important to water region because it handles one-third of the International sea trade worth of 3.4 trillion dollars and connects Europe and Africa along with this region is filled with oil and mineral resources
According to a study done by USEIA(the United States Energy Information Administration), the oil estimates of 11 billion barrels of Crude oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of Natural gas is available in the South China Sea.
It also a place of China Fishery Industries needs which keeps China interested in this region.
There had been many bilateral talks in ASEAN summit to resolve the dispute over this region. In 2016 a tribunal summit held in Hague stated that China has historic claims over this area which was rejected by China.
Chinas Claims in Taiwan
Taiwan China dispute is not new. Initially, Taiwan was a part of China which was administered by 1683 -1895 by Qing dynasty.
After the first Sino -Japanese War china was passed the administration of Taiwan to Japan after which China regained control of Taiwan after WWII.
In 1946 after the civil war movement in China which led to victory for Mao Zedong’s Communist Party, Taiwan break apart from China and Chiang Kai-Shek And his Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) administered Taiwan.
China was ruled by the communist party and was named as the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan was ruled by a nationalist party and named as the Republic of China.
Taiwan has its constitution, own military and its elected leaders.
KMT dominated Taiwan politics many years until the death of Chiang Kai-Shek death which led to the end of dictatorship rule in Taiwan. Chiang Ching Kuo started a process of democratisation.
In 2000 a non-KMT president Chen Shui ban became the president of Taiwan.
After the break apart of Taiwan from China, their relations were hostile which were little smoothen in around 1980s. China has been trying to impose “One nation, two system policy rule in Taiwan with autonomy “
Taiwan has been consistently refusing this proposal made china.
One more factor is that China is worried that the US has been a close ally of Taiwan and even supported and raise the issue of Taiwan in the UN. In the recent incident on June 24 2020, there had been Chinese Military activities in the airspace in Taiwan.
There had been many defence deals done between Taiwan and the US as the superpower has been kept on supporting Taiwan for their economic success and their resistance towards China.
Even the people of Taiwan have been demanding the Independency of Taiwan and protested against the Beijing policies.
Chinas wants Taiwan because of the historical connection with the country and another major factor is that Taiwan and US relationship.
In future, if Us wants to build a military naval base in Taiwan US would directly come under the nose of China and have a major diplomatic role to play in the South China Sea. As we already know both these nations having a hostile relationship with each other with US-China trade war in recent times.
China’s Expansion and Claims on Hong Kong
Hong Kong -A country where the chines are trying to expand the territory and having its claims.
In 1842 after the first opium war some parts of Hong Kong Island became a part of British after that China provided the administration of Hong Kong to the British for the next 99 years.
In these hundred years, Hong Kong became a busy manufacturing hub and commercial port. Around 1950 when the lease was about to over talks started between Chinese and the British for the future of Hong Kong.
In 1984 a deal was done that Hong Kong would be return to China in 1997 and the policy of “One country 2 systems would be followed”.
Therefore Hong Kong is autonomous with its legal system, own borders, own assembly and enjoys the freedom of speech for the next 50 years.
However, Beijing and the administration of the Peoples Republic of China are imposing their rules and modifying the rights of Hong Kong
Carrie Lam, who is the current chief executive of Hong Kong is elected by 1200 member pro Beijing election committee.
There had been various protest going on in Hong Kong against China for the National Anthem Bill proposed for Hong Kong which provides punishment to those who insult China’s National Anthem in Hong Kong with 3 Years of Jail or fine of $6450.
In 2019 protests are happening all summer for the “Extradition Bill” which includes extradition of fugitives to China.
Hong Kong citizens were worried that this law is used against those citizens who have a different political opinion.
Beijing considers Hong Kong as the pride of Nationalism and a bridge between Asia and Europe.
China’s Expansion of its Territory through its Debt Trap policy
We were talking about the Expansion of countries in western countries and many other developing countries. China builds its infrastructure network and builds dams, highways, roads etc. at the strategic locations of the country.
And the Slowly engulfs and physically occupies the lands.
For eg If there is an important port which China is looking for they just send their army to place to occupy it and use it for themselves.
China has actually expanded in African countries by building infrastructures and giving a huge amount of loans.
By taking advantage of the poverty in African countries cannot pay the debt in return the Chinese annexe the part of the land and infrastructure built by them and then get profit from the infrastructure they built themselves and expand the region in the nearest countries.
Zambia – An African country, as reported by a Chinese media is on talks that 50% of Zambia’s own electric company i.e ZESCO is out of loans and the Govt decided to sell the company to Chinese in worth $548 million (approximately 10 billion Zambian kwachas) with Power China.
State power utility Zesco revealed last month that a supply shortfall reached 810 megawatts in November, with Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe both suffering 20-hour per day power cuts due to extreme drought conditions blighting its hydropower output.
There is an Important Strategic port named Hambantota in Sri Lanka which was first constructed by China, but then Sri Lanka couldn’t pay the debt, now China has taken around 15000 acres of area has taken on the lease of 99 years(Brilliant Idea! People will not know what’s the position of that after 99 years).
This port will be used for China’s expansion of their claims in the Indian ocean which China could use them to use their Warships and Controlling the area of the sea.
Pakistan is another prey under China’s expansion policy they have already provided the Shaksgam Valley, and China has been constructing the CPEC(China Pakistan Economic Corridor) which will connect china’s Xinjiang with Gwadar Port in Balochistan.
China has no free media to show what they have been doing and also it has a kind of dictatorship which does allow any other to expose them and this is really a serious issue. But we have many countries and continents opposing China like USA, Europe, Africa, Australia.
If we all can be get united and take on china there could be a hope that we could do it.
Read:- India Nepal border dispute
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