Skip to comments.Asia’s Passport Wars: Chinese Map Triggers Diplomatic Firestorm
Posted on 12/05/2012 5:07:21 PM PST by Zhang Fei
As anybody who travels with personal documents from countries like India or China or Vietnam will tell you, an Asian passport can be a miserable thing. It means having to steel yourself through weeks, if not months, of visa-application processes that can be both interminable and humiliating. It means being forced to wait for special screening at the borders of prosperous Western nations, just by circumstance of birth and bureaucracy. It means feeling forever a second-class citizen of a world that is supposed to be growing ever more interdependent and intertwined.
But, if it wasnt enough of an albatross, the Asian passport has become something else altogether more absurd: a crude weapon of geopolitics. In the past week, neighboring governments reacted with anger after Beijing rolled out a new iteration of Chinese passports. The Indian Foreign Minister deemed it unacceptable. A Vietnamese official, speaking to the Financial Times, described it as one very poisonous step by Beijing among their thousands of malevolent actions.
At issue is whats inside these new Chinese passports: specifically, a map of the Peoples Republic that draws Chinas borders around territories disputed by Chinas neighbors. The map counts as Chinese the barren Kashmiri region of Aksai Chin 16,000 sq. mi. occupied by China since its 1962 border war with India. It also counts as Chinese most of Indias Arunachal Pradesh, a rugged northeastern Indian state that holds regular democratic elections and sends parliamentarians to New Delhi. Much to the ire of Vietnam and the Philippines, the map also includes shoals and archipelagoes in the South China Sea that Beijing claims almost entirely, but which are contested and in some cases patrolled by a number of other Southeast Asian nations.
(Excerpt) Read more at world.time.com ...
Not even close.
Opening our factories, research universities and defense facilities to Chinese workers was far more damaging.
From a geo-strategic standpoint, I agree, but the genie is out of the bottle. In my view, there's nothing we could have done to stop the juggernaut. Once they decided to return to some form of market economy (as has been prevalent for most of China's history), it was simply a matter of time before they caught up, economically-speaking.
Prior to the 1911 revolution that ended the monarchy, China's backwater status probably had its roots in its falling behind in technology after the West's Industrial Revolution and a combination of feckless economic policies ranging from corrupt imperial monopolies (aka crony capitalism) and capricious economic interventions having to do with smashing up concentrations of wealth. During the first 30 years of Communist rule after 1949's victory over the Nationalists, they compounded the capricious and destructive legacies of monarchical rule with the capricious and destructive policies of a centrally-planned economy. The 1979 liberalization ended the misbegotten Marxist economic policies that had brought China, in relative terms, to almost last place on the planet in terms of GDP per capita, a point it had never reached in thousands of years under the rule of absolute monarchs. The result, in economic terms, was a rocket ride that continues today.