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Asia’s Passport Wars: Chinese Map Triggers Diplomatic Firestorm
Time ^ | Nov. 27, 2012 | Ishaan Tharoor

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 wasn’t 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 what’s inside these new Chinese passports: specifically, a map of the People’s Republic that draws China’s borders around territories disputed by China’s 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 India’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Japan; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; india; japan; vietnam

1 posted on 12/05/2012 5:07:26 PM PST by Zhang Fei
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To: Zhang Fei
Opening our ports to Chinese made goods was,very possibly,the biggest mistake this country has made in its entire history.It was a huge mistake for Europe and Japan to have made as well.
2 posted on 12/05/2012 5:19:17 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Opening our ports to Chinese made goods was,very possibly,the biggest mistake this country has made in its entire history.

Not even close.

Opening our factories, research universities and defense facilities to Chinese workers was far more damaging.

3 posted on 12/05/2012 5:57:50 PM PST by null and void (Going Galt: The won't of the people)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Opening our ports to Chinese made goods was,very possibly,the biggest mistake this country has made in its entire history.It was a huge mistake for Europe and Japan to have made as well.

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.

4 posted on 12/05/2012 6:30:27 PM PST by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: Zhang Fei
China screwing around with maps doesn't really mean much. It is not too difficult to show Tibet and Uighuristan as independent countries as a quid pro quo.
5 posted on 12/07/2012 9:21:02 AM PST by ravager (I)
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