China’s Unquenched Territorial Greed: What Is The Limit? – OpEd


Many discerning observers around the world, who are taking a closer look at China’s claims on the territory of other countries, inevitably could conclude that China’s territorial greed today is similar to that of Adolf Hitler’s, which ultimately caused World War II.

Occupation of Tibet

Several decades back, China aggressively entered Tibet, overpowered the Tibetans who resisted its aggression and mercilessly massacred a large number of them. Today, China is sitting pretty with full control over the Tibet region and is hiding that country with an “iron curtain” from the eyes of the world. Outside China and probably within China, most people do not know what is really happening in Tibet at present.

After the onslaught on Tibet, with no worthwhile protest from other countries about China’s act of aggression, China appears to have convinced itself that it can have its way to satisfy its territorial greed by occupying other regions at its will. 

Threat to invade Taiwan

China claims that Taiwan should be part of it, though there is no justification for this. Taiwan emerged as separate region after a civil war, and if China claims that Taiwan should belong to it, then Taiwan too can have equal claim to China territories.

On several occasions, China has threatened to invade Taiwan. However, unlike in the case of Tibet when China’s aggression virtually went unchallenged, the Taiwan region has the support of Western countries. This has prevented China from militarily operating against Taiwan, even as China’s territorial greed persists.

South China Sea / Senkaku Islands

The South China Sea is an area where China claims its sovereignty and is rejecting the claims of other countries including the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan. China-Philippines tensions are now rising around a flash point in the South China Sea, due to China’s aggressive posture.

There is territorial dispute regarding the Senkaku Islands between Japan China and Taiwan. It is now claimed by China that the Senkaku Islands belong to it and there is considerable tension in the region due to China’s claim and aggressive postures. China is not ready to discuss the issue and arrive at an amicable solution.

Occupation of Indian territory

China launched a war against India in the 1962 and is now holding thousands of hectares of Indian territory as its own, which was occupied by China during the war. Frequently, China is creating issues in the border with India and skirmishes between Chinese and Indian soldiers are becoming frequent.

Claim on India’s Arunachal Pradesh

China now claims that Arunachal Pradesh in India should belong to China and is doing everything to stress its claim, short of going for a full-fledged war with India

Recently, China released a fourth list of thirty new names of various places in Arunachal Pradesh, amid China’s stepped up assertions in recent weeks to re-emphasise its claim over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chinese Civil Affairs Ministry released the first list of the standardised names of six places in “Zangnan” (the name given by China for Arunachal Pradesh ) in 2017. The second list of 15 places was issued in 2021, followed by another list with names for 11 places in 2023.

The naming of places in India’s Arunachal Pradesh by China indicates the height of arrogance of that government and its confidence that it can do anything against other countries and get away with it. 

Obviously, the unquenched territorial greed of China makes it behave with such aggressive postures against other countries.

Stranglehold over Pakistan

By tempting and persuading Pakistan to implement the economic corridor project, China has extended huge loans to Pakistan to implement such projects, even as China knows that Pakistan will never be able to repay the loans and accrued interest in the foreseeable future. Thus, Pakistan has now become highly dependent on China and is indebted to it.

In the process, China has taken control of the Gwadar port in Pakistan and is creating access to transport material from the port to China.

Obviously, China will never let go of its vice like grip over Pakistan in future

Take over Hambantota port in Sri Lanka

Like what China has done in Pakistan, it has extended a huge loan to Sri Lanka and implemented projects in Sri Lanka, which benefited Chinese industries and the economy of China, more than that of Sri Lanka.

With Sri Lanka is facing a debt trap, China has taken over Hambantota port on 99 year lease from Sri Lanka in lieu of the loan that Sri Lanka received from China.

A 99 year lease is a very long period and the ground reality is that China will never give up its grip over the Hambantota port, which area ultimately may become an extended territory of China for all practical purposes.

What could be the ultimate limit of China’s greed?

It is generally said that greed has no limits as such. That said, the ultimate limit of greed could happen, when the level of greed makes an individual or a group or a country to overreach in satisfying its unquenched greed. Such a scenario would cause a huge resistance from the people in the affected regions, creating an insurmountable problem for the entity with the unquenched greed.

The British empire, which expanded the territory under its control in different continents for several centuries, ultimately lost all such territories and remains as just one of many nations in the world now. Its past glory is now a matter of distant memory. China should derive the right lessons from the experience of the British empire and allow other countries to live in peace.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

One thought on “China’s Unquenched Territorial Greed: What Is The Limit? – OpEd

  • April 5, 2024 at 5:28 am

    China is a case of double speak and actions. What it says and what it does on ground is well highlighted in the article. Now China is also involved in EcoColonliaism through BRI and related projects. This is what Global Times says; “We also sincerely look forward to continuing joining hands with ASEAN countries, taking the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence this year to vigorously carry forward the Bandung Spirit that calls for solidarity, friendship and cooperation, to eliminate external interference, enhance solidarity and cooperation, safeguard peace and tranquility and provide more positive energy and stability to the region and the world.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *