The Chinese foreign minister fears that the United States president could meet with Taiwan’s new lady president Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai is currently on diplomatic visits, passing through countries in the Americas.
Beijing continues to give the standard response that countries should not recognize that Taiwan has a separate, independent government by meeting with any of its leaders. In order to appease China’s communist government, many countries hold unofficial ties with Taiwan, but a few choose to boldly recognize Taiwan as an independent island-nation.
As Reuters reports, China has also warned the United States about meeting with the Dalai Lama as he visits the U.S. Though China continues to call him a separatist, he continues to say that he just wants autonomy, not independence. China tries its best to disrupt any meetings between the Dalai Lama and representatives from the countries he visits.
Many country’s officials still choose to meet with him out of respect for meeting a religious leader and out of respect for the Tibetan population he advocates for.
— GMA News (@gmanews) June 6, 2016
In both the cases of Taiwan and Tibet, China claims the issue revolves around places that the Chinese government does not want to recognize as being independent of itself. In the case of Taiwan, it has had a government separate from what exists on Mainland China for 67 years.
The government in Taiwan was inherited from Mainland China, where it ruled starting from 1928. The current people claiming that Taiwan should not be recognized are part of the communist party government that has ruled China only since 1949.
Tibet was left relatively free to do what it wanted while China was under the rule of the Republic of China government that would later move to Taiwan. One year after the Chinese Communist Party won the Civil War and rose to power, they sought to bring Tibet under their rule.
At that time Tibet sought assurances of protection for its territorial integrity from the newly established People’s Republic of China, but was denied. Instead, the Battle of Chamdo ended in 1950 with Tibetan territory under Chinese communist rule.
What usually gets left out of these discussions, and a question that is never asked to China’s government, is why these situations exist in the first place. Why do these regions want to split? If Tibet indeed wanted independence instead of what the Dalai Lama requests, being autonomy, why would they want it?
Could it be that people living in Tibet never got hip to rule under the Chinese Communist Party in all these years? Could it be that the CCP has still never managed to appease the region, and has continually heightened tensions? China has definitely not given concessions to Tibetans who share the Dalai Lama’s views, even though the politics of suppression have never silenced Tibetans.
US President Barack Obama will meet Dalai Lama at the White House today pic.twitter.com/sL9yykyiEc
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) June 15, 2016
In Taiwan’s case, the government of Taiwan wants the recognition in the international community that it has been denied ever since official recognition was snatched away and given to the People’s Republic of China by the United Nations in 1971. China has compounded that by continually badgering and harassing countries not to give any recognition to the region.
China has also continually threatened to overtake Taiwan at various times, even as the recent era saw the building of complex political ties between the two governments.
If China was truly free of communist rule, the dual rejection of its rule by both Tibet and Taiwan, if those claims are true as the Chinese government insists, might not exist. The problem is not necessarily that China wants to rule these regions, the problem is what sort of current-day China want to rule those regions.
Tibet has already suffered numerous human rights violations and restrictions of basic freedoms under the CCP, so of course that would have to end before any serious dialogue would be possible. Taiwan hasn’t suffered the suppression of freedoms and restrictive policies on the level that people in the Mainland face, whether in Tibet or elsewhere, and would like to keep it that way.
Independence is only the symptom of people who oppose the catastrophe that rulership under the Chinese Communist Party brings.
So should Obama cave in to China’s demands about who he chooses to meet with? If the United States does indeed consider itself an independent country, than no.