Asia, Jiang Zemin, Washington discussed on The Archive Project


The present day from the dangerous tendency to believe simply what we wish. Were so your show. Thank you a great pleasure to be here. This is i think an appropriate moment to reflect to bid on the what i think we have to describe as the tragedy of tibet. Not only the chinese president and communist party chief jiang zemin just been to washington and been saluted with a twenty one gun salute and had a state dinner in the white house but the president himself will soon travel to beijing and this puts the issue to bet very much on the front burner now. I think it's really difficult to understand. Even talk about tibet without understanding a little bit about china because it is a marriage of sorts perhaps an unfortunate marriage of two societies we. They're not call them to countries which in many respects simply don't understand each other and never have and yet they're insoluble bound together in a way which has cast their fates As one and sometimes it's very perplexing i think to americans To foreigners when they look at the situation they hear what happened and they wonder. Why doesn't china just take care of it. Why don't they just let china have a little more autonomy. Let the dalai lama return well. It's more complicated than that. It's an incredibly sensitive issue. And i want to tell you a little bit about how it arose because it's not quite as simple as it may appear from afar when mao zedong finally came to power in one thousand nine hundred forty nine one of the things he was he was very adamant about. Was this notion of reunifying china. And this was important to him because over the last hundred years since the opium wars in the eighteen forties china had an effect peck depart. Both by its own. Centrifugal forces disunity warlords regionalism but also by foreign powers. Britain started actually. Portugal started in macau hundreds of years before then. Britain seized hong kong went up the coast and all the way up to north china. It began to open up treaty ports and in these treaty ports like shanghai and those of you who have been there will know of i speak. They established not colonies per se. But what they call foreign concessions where foreign law. Whether it was french. English german ruled that had their own police forces that had their own tax collecting They were in a sense. Mini colonies within china. And this was an extreme humiliation for china. Because china had always imagined itself as being central to everything that it was in fact the source of much of the culture of asia korea japan vietnam confucian culture those countries also adapted chinese characters of the countries were related to china through a tribute system they pay tribute to the emperor sent missions to beijing to send gifts and acknowledged in fact at least the cultural suzerainty of china. Well here came the west with superior guns superior warships with entrepreneurs this loaded for forbear wanting to trade and a the western powers wanted to be treated as equals in..

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