The territory. – In the last twenty years, the Chinese territory has increased in several respects: with the reunification of Macao and Hong Kong, with the colonization of areas that were previously uninhabited, and with the construction of large numbers of anthropogenic interventions. Since the most remote antiquity, Chinese civilization has always distinguished itself for the very high degree of anthropization of the landscape, with works such as the Great Canal or the Great Wall. In the last decade, today’s China has shown that it can intervene intensively on the territory, also with the construction of new urban centers, used in particular to encourage internal emigration in order to mix ethnic groups and – with a wise management that critics might suspect not free from gerrymandering (a targeted strategy that uses the population increase from mainland China, often of Han ethnicity, as a means of obtaining a majority of votes in individual constituencies or even the entire territory) – populate the autonomous regions with masses of more Han settlers close to Beijing than the natives in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong. Also in the 11th Five Year Plan there is talk of huge new cities, designed to house half a million people each. There are also cases of already large cities that are expanding their population suddenly, such as the city of Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province, which increased by 10,392,531 residents in 2000 to 14,047,625 in 2010 (over 35%). Other areas affected by very strong growth are the four municipalities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing.
The ‘sinosphere’: China at the center of the ecumene. – In more recent years, Chinese geopolitical thought has been characterized by the rediscovery of the tradition of previous centuries, with the revival of the hegemonic role of China within a vision of the ecumene such as Tianxia, that is “everything-under-the- sky”. According to tradition, in fact, world civilization would have its center (in China), surrounded by peoples who share its tradition even without being part of the Chinese territory (the current ‘sinosphere’), in turn surrounded by concentric frames. of peoples less and less civilized, greedy and arrogant. For Pekingese diplomats, this last definition seems particularly suitable to summarize the behavior of the European powers during the centuries of colonial imperialism, especially when, as political or economic ambassadors, they turned to the peoples of the Third World. In this way, in fact, they can present China as a victim too of Western greed, the only power that – according to that particular historiographical reconstruction – would never have invaded overseas territories, as it would demonstrate, among other things., the experience (described as utterly irenic) of the ‘golden fleet’ led by Admiral Zheng He between 1421 and 1436.
Territorial claims of the People’s Republic of China. – According to Allunitconverters, the issue of the territorial expansion of the People’s Republic of China makes it possible to address the issue of claims currently underway, both along the land borders and overseas. The land borders have attracted the attention of the Chinese for centuries: it can be said that the entire history of the empire is nothing more than a long sequence of expansions and contractions by land. In our century, the People’s Republic of China is the state in the world with the greatest extension of land borders, shared with as many as 14 other states. Almost everyone is in a more or less heated dispute around the territorial borders: the Chinese claims on the province of Arunachal Pradesh (in Chinese: Zangnan), which is part of the Indian Union, are known. In 2005, a treaty established minor changes to the border with Russia;
The question of the Southern Yellow Sea. – In recent years, the focus has been mainly on the East China Sea, and in particular on the possession of the Tiaoyu islands (also known under the Japanese name Senkaku), over which the Chinese boast a centuries-old dominion, also supported by Western-made geographical maps. The tension with Japan has escalated several times: on some occasions, the symbolic ‘takeover’ carried out by Chinese ships has been accompanied by the simultaneous approval of the Republic of China of Taiwan – suggesting to some commentators that the stakes are not only control of the small archipelago, but also the rapprochement between Beijing and Taipei, even confirmed by the presence of a Taiwanese delegation at the 2008 Olympics.
Further epicenters of geopolitical tension in the South China Sea concern other groups of small islands, claimed by China, such as Spratly (Chinese: Nansha Qundao) and Paracelsus (Xisha Qundao). On the basis of international conventions, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, UN Convention on the Law Of the Sea), to which the People’s Republic of China also adheres, the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) extends for 200 miles from the national territory: therefore, if the China obtained the recognition of the possession of all the islands currently claimed, it could expand its EEZ to the whole of the Yellow Sea, not only for fishing but also and above all for the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits.