Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

From Kosovo to Tibet

LONDON -- Why is China behaving as it is in Tibet? What makes Tibet so important to the government in Beijing? At the heart of the matter is the fact that nothing worries China’s rulers more than when the country’s unity is called into question. And nothing makes them more anxious than their fear that a regional dispute might, if not brought to an end quickly, steamroll into national disintegration.  

Kosovo’s recent unilateral declaration of independence sharpened the Chinese government’s anxieties over the protests in Tibet. Although supporters of Kosovo’s independence argue that it sets no international precedent, China’s rulers fear otherwise. Moreover, Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election has further ratcheted up the tension for China’s government.

Opinion polls in Taiwan suggest that former Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) will defeat Frank Hsieh of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). But some in China fear that the incumbent president, Chen Shui-bian of the DPP, is seeking a pretext to prevent a defeat for the pro-sovereignty camp. He is currently advocating a referendum on whether Taiwan should join the United Nations, which China views as provocative and a threat to China’s unity.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/Ri6pqqm;
  1. wei22_FABRICE COFFRINIAFP via Getty Images_WTOredlight Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

    How to Revive the WTO

    Shang-Jin Wei & Xinding Yu

    The World Trade Organization’s appellate body is under threat not from China, but from the United States, which is blocking the appointment of new judges to the panel. Reviving the WTO will require changes to the organization's rules – but killing its dispute-settlement system is not the solution.

    0
  2. ghosh16_Yawar NazirGetty Images_indiakashmirmuslimwoman Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

    The Rape of India’s Soul

    Jayati Ghosh

    India’s rapid descent into xenophobia, violence, and irrationality has an important economic dimension, but it takes politicians to channel these emotions into nationalism, and to embolden the nationalists to commit violence. Now that the BJP has done so, is it able – or willing – to exorcise the many demons it has unleashed?

    10