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From the Qing Empire to the People’s Republic, China’s concern about separatism deepened



From the Qing Empire to the People's Republic, China's concern about separatism deepened

“We will never allow any person, organization or political party to tear any part of our territory at any time or in any form,” he said, standing under a giant portrait of Sun.

This is “our serious commitment to history and people,” Xi said in his 2016 speech, that China will never be divided again.

Concern over separatism can be seen in the hardline policies adopted by Beijing in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, as well as an increasingly aggressive attitude towards the self-governed island of Taiwan, which Xi has vowed to unite with the mainland – with force, if needed.

But such policies can often backfire. In Hong Kong, in particular, hatred for Beijing has grown in recent years. In the past 12 months, when anti-government riots met with strict policies, songs such as “Hong Kong independence, the only hope” were more commonly heard among sections of the protest movement.
Such talks are contrary to Chinese leaders and the need to eradicate separatism has been given as the main justification for the new national security law. Advocating for independence – maybe even a discussion of the topic – can immediately become illegal.

Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said the law would ensure “Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.”

States and separatists

Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, ever argue that “no government should have provisions in its organic law for its own termination,” and even the American separatist Confederate State not including provisions in the constitution that allow members to separate themselves.

Anti-separatism is the norm throughout the world, no matter the desire of many people around the world for their own country, or which is often stated as the importance of “self-determination” as a principle of international law.

Indeed, that UN resolution establishing that principle, which was adopted in 1960 amid a wave of decolonization, also stated that “any attempt aimed at disrupting part or all of the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is not in accordance with the aims and principles of the Charter of the United States.”
While Beijing and Moscow often blame Washington for supporting separatists in their own influence, US policies are often equally pro-status quo. When Croatia held an independence referendum in 1991, the US State Department declare its commitment for “Yugoslav territorial integrity within its current limits.” That year, President George H.W. bush Ukraine warned trying to separate from the creaking Soviet Union to avoid “suicidal nationalism,” adding that “freedom is not the same as independence.”
In 1996, Bush’s successor, Bill Clinton, the word Russia’s brutal war in Chechnya was based on “the proposition Abraham Lincoln gave for his life, that no country has the right to withdraw from our Union.” And in 2014, Barack Obama personally lobbying support Scottish voting to remain part of Britain.
This attitude, which is held by almost every country in the world – see Spain’s suppression of Catalan nationalism – is part of the reason, “for all the political upheavals of the last quarter century, the number, shape, and arrangement of countries on the world map remains very unchanged, “Joshua Keating wrote in”Invisible Country: A Journey Towards the Edge of the Nation. ”

“Since the end of the Cold War, global norms have prevailed upholding cartographic stasis, freezing on the map as it existed at the end of the 20th century,” Keating said. “This norm applies even when ethnic and religious conflicts rage in countries on the map.”

A player plays the role of the Qing emperor during the re-enactment of the ancient Spring festival ceremony in Beijing. Much of modern China's borders are based on the historic conquest of the Qing.

Adjacent China

It is possible that this norm is stronger, or stronger recognized, than in China.

Write in a managed state China Daily this month, Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, responded to London’s concerns over increasing Chinese aggression against Taiwan by saying the island “has been an inseparable part of Chinese territory since ancient times.”
While the People’s Republic of China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since it was founded in 1949, the historical basis for Liu’s claims can be challenged. Despite the fact that an island is an inseparable part of any country, what we now call Taiwan has experienced a long period out of Chinese control, during the reign of indigenous leaders and foreign invaders, including the Netherlands and Japan.

The same applies to other parts of China which are often called inseparable by the government, including Tibet and Xinjiang. While these territories were also often under Chinese control or influence, they were part of a broader imperial system completely removed from modern conceptions of nationhood.

The borders that China considers irresistible today – in the Himalayas, the South China Sea, and around various “inseparable” regions on the periphery – were not determined until the end of the 18th century.
This is not because of some unique characteristics of the Chinese state, but through the same aggressive expansion which pushed the growth of the British, Russian and Ottoman empires. But unlike this system, writes the historian Joseph Esherick“China itself kept its territory essentially intact when the Qing Empire was transformed, in 1911, into the Republic of China and, in 1949, the People’s Republic.”

“The borders of modern China do not fit into the historical boundaries of culture with ethnic Chinese (or Han) people, or with the borders of premodern Chinese states,” Esherick wrote in “How the Qing became China.”

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“Fully half of China’s territory today was obtained by conquest during the Qing dynasty, a dynasty in which the ruling house was not Han China but Manchu intruders from outside the Great Wall. Most of this expansion occurred only in the 18th century.”

Sam Crane, head of Asian studies at Williams College, said many states and territories that paid homage to the Qing Empire and were under its influence would not be considered part of China or Chinese civilization by Beijing.

“The imperial political control does not consider a single, general, modern national identity,” he said. “As soon as we arrived in 1949 the statement that the Tibetans and Uyghurs were part of the ‘Chinese people’ was established at a much greater level than under the Qing, and the political stakes that accompanied it demanded greater autonomy, thus, far higher . ”

Chinese President Xi Jinping was seen during the meeting in December 2019. Xi has developed an increasingly nationalist policy as the leader of China.


Modern ideas about nation states – about nations united by the same culture, language or ethnicity – were traditionally embedded in a series of treaties in the mid-17th century, when the Holy Roman Empire recognized the independence of two non-monarchic states. states, Switzerland and the Netherlands

That signifies, according to Keating, the point at which the state is becoming increasingly “the most significant unit in international politics,” becoming more important than the rulers or empires in the midst of increasing nationalism across continents.

This did not happen immediately and the breakup of the great European empires would not fully occur until the 20th century. In Asia, too, it was not until the Qing was challenged by decisive new nation-states, especially Britain, France, and Japan, the conception of the empire began to shift in the same direction.

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Apart from the adoption of imperial borders, since the fall of Qing, China has reinvented itself completely as a modern nation state, advancing the idea of ​​covering Chineseness – a system of language and education that encourages all within its borders to identify with being part of China.

Since the transition from socialism to a market-based economy in the 1980s, nationalism has emerged as a more important source of legitimacy for Chinese leaders, and many traditional symbols of the imperial past have been rehabilitated as part of this. Beijing’s claim to speak for China and the Chinese people often goes far beyond national borders, uniting ethnicity with the citizenship of the People’s Republic.

The concept of a nation state has also been expanded backwards from time to time, so that former imperial territories such as Tibet and Xinjiang, whose traditional societies have little ethnic, linguistic or cultural relations with those in eastern China, have become “part of the country since ancient times,” as Liu and other Chinese officials said.

Nevertheless, the borders of the Qing dynasty have not been proven to be fully contested under republican rule. After the collapse of the empire, Mongolia broke away, reaching formal independence from China in 1921 with support from the Soviet Union. While some fringe Chinese nationalist figures sometimes talk about reclaiming “outside Mongolia,” Beijing has been a long time recognized Ulan Bator and fostering strong trade and diplomatic relations with its northern neighbors.

Writing about global norms that support the status quo, Keating said, “the assumption is that if the secessionist movement is allowed to succeed, it will open up a dangerous Pandora separatism box.”

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This may be especially true in China, where a single pro-independence domino can trigger territorial riots.

Beijing has dealt with the desire for independence in Xinjiang and Tibet, in part, by encouraging the mass migration of Han Chinese to both regions, and advancing a policy of synification in education, language and religion. Changes in ethnic composition in the two regions make it more difficult to debate self-determination based on the idea of ​​racial or cultural differences with China, with millions of Han Chinese living in both regions.

Hong Kong and Taiwan threaten the status quo in different ways. Both are predominantly Han Chinese, and antipathy towards Beijing in these areas is not based on nationalism but as a rejection of the mainland political system. If one region becomes fully independent, this can damage the claims of the legitimacy of the PRC, based on the idea that historical China has always existed and always has to be.

Challenging this controversial idea everywhere – as much as in China as in Britain over Scotland, Spain over Catalonia, or Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. But as Keating wrote: “Countries in the world are not good in and of themselves; they are useful as long as they help provide public security and welfare for the people who live in them and for the world as a whole.

“When they fail to do so, our first impulse should be to ask how they can be improved, not just to state that they must be preserved.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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