Sunday, March 06, 2011

Indian or Chinese

The population of the 'angry youth' in China are very sensitive to anything happened in Japan with a thread of Chinese element (and usually fast in mobilizing a protest). However, few in China pays attention to India, even when the government of India repeatedly took China as their primary target when showing off their mighty military power. You would read words like 'can reach ________ of China', after each successful Indian missile launch test, where the bland could replaced by Chinese cities such as Chengdu, Wuhan, and most recently Beijing. By and large, few Chinese see India, even when they look down on a map. It's understandable, in a sense, because most southern Asian countries traditionally hold closer ties to Chinese culture than Indian which is blocked by the Mountain Everest.

Indians, on the other hand, are extremely wary over every Chinese move, domestically or internationally. It is also understandable, in a way. Through October to November of 1962, in the highest of China's 'three years difficulty' when up to 30 million people starved to death, India saw the opportunity and launched an aggressive war along disputed boarder with China. At the time, India was the global leader of the world Non-Aligned Movement, while China was having odds with both superpowers at the time. As a matter of fact, had two small scale boarder conflicts with the USSR. Backed with military equipments from both US and USSR, Indian thought they could conquer Tibet region, and if China didn't budge, they could easily crush China.

The result was disappointing. The entire Indian military collapsed once China's border patrol fired back. As China did not have much military presence at all, one Chinese soldier often had to keep order of hundreds of captures (in earlier stage) and surrenders (in later stage). With Mao's unique sense of humor, all captures weapons and equipments were carefully dissembled and cleaned, fixed and polished before they were packed and returned to Indian military. And Mao ordered Chinese army to withdraw 100 miles back to show off his personal generosity. There are two lines of border between China and India. The Chinese claim line and the Indian claim line. Before the Sino-India war, Chinese boarder patrol controls the Indian claim line, which was inside the Chinese claim line. After the war, Chinese military was 100 miles even north of the Indian claim line. Mao, like many communist leaders at the time, sees China an indescribably element of the international revolutions and see little value in territory claims.

On the other side, the war gave the Indian army an unbearable burden, in the sense that they gained a big territory after losing a humiliated war. Every minute from then on, they have been having the nightmare that they lose the land in another war, while Mao was no longer a leader in China.

The 'lost land of China' has since been a refuge of Tibetan dissidents. In the 1960s, CIA used it to train anti-China guerrillas, in the 1980s, India used it to host monks fled from communist rein. At the turn of the new century amid China's economics leap, however, the land and people living there are becoming a hot spot, as residents advocate for closer tie with China. Many expressed willingness for Chinese rule, rather than Indian control.

Perhaps communists are right for once: it's really not important what government claims, what matters is what people wants and how people identify themselves. The government of India should study Mao's wisdom, and stop count on military force in boarder dispute.

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