tirsdag 30. juni 2020

From the Qing Empire to the People's Republic, China's worries about separatism run deep

In a speech on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sun Yat-sen -- seen by many as modern China's founding father -- President Xi Jinping pledged to "resolutely oppose" any attempt to divide the country.  "We will never allow anyone, any organization or political party to rip out any part of our territory at any time or in any form," he said, standing under a giant portrait of Sun.

A key tenet of Xi's rule has been his pledge to restore the country to greatness, undoing the "century of humiliation" during which the Qing Empire and later the Republic of China were laid low by foreign powers, with territories including Hong Kong, Manchuria and much of Shanghai shaved off into colonies and concessions. 

It is "our solemn commitment to history and the people," Xi said in the 2016 speech, that China will never be torn apart again. Concerns over separatism can be seen in the hardline policies adopted by Beijing in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, as well as an increasingly aggressive stance towards the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Xi has vowed to unify with the mainland -- by force, if necessary.