China and Tibet

Posted by Lex, on April 16, 2008


Perhaps like me, you’ve wondered why China felt compelled to occupy Tibet after World War II, engendering the ire of so many Hollywood celebrities and other assorted fashionistas, all of  whom are passionately committed to liberating inaccessible populaces in places of no strategic import. After all, from the Chinese perspective, if it’s merely the pursuit of dissident skulls to crack, Tibet is rather a long way to go – especially when there are so very many dissatisfied people so very close to hand.

Tailspin sends along a link to a StratFor post illuminating the issue from the PRC’s perspective:

Strategically, China has two problems, both pivoting around the question of defending the coastal region. First, China must prevent attacks from the sea…

The second threat to China comes from powers moving in through the underpopulated portion of the west, establishing bases and moving east, or coming out of the underpopulated regions around China and invading…

Beijing therefore has three geopolitical imperatives:

  1. Maintain internal unity so that far powers can’t weaken the ability of the central government to defend China.
  2. Maintain a strong coastal defense to prevent an incursion from the Pacific.
  3. Secure China’s periphery by anchoring the country’s frontiers on impassable geographical features; in other words, hold its current borders.

All of which makes a kind of sense out of the Communist Party’s passion for maintaining control of the country’s political levers long after its underlying ideology evaporated, their naval strategy of forward defense of the second and third island chains, and their need to dominate the culturally and ethnically contrarian Tibetans and Uighurs, all of whom must be ruthlessly suppressed. For their own good.

It’s an enlightening read, but not one which should prevent us from questioning the regime’s methods. After all, it’s possible for a strategy to be logically based on an irrational premise – that anyone, in the 21st century, has any notion of invading and occupying a country containing one quarter of the world’s population.

Imperial Japan? So 60 years ago.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, International Affairs, Lex, Neptunus Lex, Politics and Culture

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