In the over a century when China was weak and bullied by foreign powers, it claims to have lost quite large parts of its territories, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Korea, Hong Kong and Macao, and 3 million square kilometres to Russia.
This last was Mongolia, a part of China, which China was forced by the Soviet Union to allow to become a satellite state of the Soviet Union in 1924.
The memory of the miserable past is the major cause for the surge of nationalism. I hope China will not try to recover all those it has lost, even if it regains its historic position as the only superpower in the world. Otherwise, there will be no end of trouble. Better to maintain the status quo for the sake of peace.
However, it seems that quite a few people would rather believe annexing another country by force is legitimate while Chinese nationalists should be regarded as aggressive when they claim sovereignty on historic grounds, though they never advocate taking back the sovereignty over Okinawa by force.
SCMP carries Agence France-Presse (AFP)’ report from Beijing: “In a glass case at Beijing’s Imperial College, an 18th century book with a yellowed title page in bold, black characters is evidence – some Chinese say – that a swathe of modern-day Japan belongs to China.
“The two Asian powers are already at loggerheads over a set of tiny uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, even stoking fears of armed conflict.
“But the most aggressive Chinese nationalists – tacitly encouraged by authorities – say far more is open to claim, including the island of Okinawa, home to 1.3 million people and major US military bases.
“The biggest of the Ryukyu Islands, which stretch for about 1,000 kilometres from Japan’s mainland almost to Taiwan, Okinawa was the centre of the Ryukyuan kingdom, which pledged fealty to both Chinese emperors and Japanese feudal lords.
“For hundreds of years, it paid tribute to China’s Ming and Qing dynasties, until it was absorbed by Japan in 1879.”
It remains to be seen if China will pursue the nationalist’s claims.
- China Accuses Japan of Stealing Disputed Islands (nytimes.com)
- Protesters stage anti-China rally in Tokyo over Senkaku Islands (chinadailymail.com)
- U.S. return of Senkakus to Japan in ’72 upset China, Taiwan (chinadailymail.com)