Secession in China

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Secessionism in China is a term used to refer to several secessionist movements in the People's Republic of China (China/PRC) and the Republic of China (Taiwan/ROC). Note that Taiwan (ROC) has limited diplomatic recognition as is not a member state or even observer state of the United Nations.

The most significant secessionist movement in China is the Taiwan independence movement. The movement is complicated by the fact that the Republic of China, which administers the territory known as "Taiwan" and a few minor islands located in "mainland China", is currently engaged in a sovereignty dispute with the People's Republic of China over which government is the legitimate government of "all of China", which is said to include both mainland China and Taiwan.

The second most significant secessionist movement in China is the Tibet independence movement, which has historically received widespread attention across the Western world following the incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China. China (PRC) currently administers the historical region of Tibet as two main subdivisions, which are Qinghai Province and the Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region.

The third most significant secessionist movement in China is the East Turkestan independence movement, which has recently come to the attention of foreign media following accusations that China (PRC) has established so-called "re-education camps" in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which are allegedly holding hundreds of thousands or even up to a million Muslims (especially ethnic Uyghurs) without trial.

The fourth most significant secessionist movement in China is the South Mongolia independence movement, which primarily aims to achieve independence for the Chinese (PRC) Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region as "South Mongolia" and which secondarily aims to incorporate South Mongolia into the currently existing sovereign state known as "Mongolia". This movement has much lower grassroots support compared to the other major secessionist movements in China.

Additionally, the regions of Hong Kong and Macau, which are both administered as "Special Administrative Regions" of China (PRC), are hosts to their own independence movements. Currently, the two regions are already highly autonomous, but they are gradually being encroached on by China (PRC), and their autonomy officially ends in 2047 and 2049 respectively. The independence movement in Hong Kong is stronger than the one in Macau.

Furthermore, there are other minor secessionist movements in China, such as the Manchuria independence movement, Shanghai independence movement, Cantonia (Guangdong) independence movement, etc. However, these movements are somewhat negligible compared to the aforementioned movements.

Taiwan (ROC)[edit]

Overview of Taiwan (ROC)[edit]

Taiwan (ROC) is a state with limited recognition located primarily on the main island of Taiwan, as well as some satellite islands surrounding Taiwan, including the archipelagos of Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu.

Taiwan (ROC) was preceded by two states which have essentially been in the process of merging into a single state for the past 74 years.

  • Japanese Formosa (Taiwan) — This state was a colony of the Japanese Empire for fifty years. The Japanese Empire had acquired the territory of Taiwan from the Qing dynasty (of China) after winning the First Sino-Japanese War back in 1895. Due to the fact that Japanese Formosa previously belonged to a Chinese regime, future Chinese regimes would all lay claim to Japanese Formosa after winning the Second Sino-Japanese War.
  • Republic of China (1912–1949) — This state once represented China in the United Nations. However, in 1949, the state lost a civil war against a rebel group known as the Chinese Communist Party and was forced to flee from its own borders and into Japanese Formosa. The Republic of China had recently invaded and annexed Japanese Formosa four years earlier, in 1945. This left a unique situation where the Republic of China was essentially overlapping with the remnants of a now defunct Japanese Formosa. Note that this was not a perfect overlap, since the Republic of China still managed to hold onto a few small pieces of China.

In modern times, the political status of Taiwan has developed into perhaps one of the most unique geopolitical anomalies currently in existence worldwide. The rebel forces which drove the Republic of China out of China and into Taiwan established a new Chinese regime shortly before this occurred, and named it the "People's Republic of China". This regime not only lay claim to all of the Republic of China's previously-held territory in China but also the Republic of China's newly-acquired territory in Taiwan. To this day, the People's Republic of China is still laying claim to Taiwan, and the Republic of China is still controlling Taiwan.

Ethnic groups of Taiwan (ROC)[edit]

Map of Taiwan.jpg

Officially, Taiwan (ROC) is home to two main native ethnic groups, the Han Chinese (aka "Han Taiwanese") and the Taiwanese indigenous peoples (who are ethnically Austronesian). Additionally, these two main native ethnic groups can be classified into several subdivisions. Regarding the Han Chinese, they can be divided into the Taiwanese Hoklo people, the Taiwanese Hakka people, and the somewhat outdated term "Mainland Chinese in Taiwan (ROC)" (which refers to Mainland Chinese who immigrated to Taiwan (ROC) up to 74 years ago). Regarding the Taiwanese indigenous peoples, there are currently sixteen officially recognized tribes, and perhaps several more which are officially unrecognized.

The Taiwanese Hoklo and Taiwanese Hakka peoples, as well as occasionally the Taiwanese indigenous peoples, are often collectively referred to as "Taiwanese Benshengren" by the peoples of Taiwan (ROC), which roughly translates to "Original Province Person(s)". Meanwhile, the Mainland Chinese in Taiwan (ROC) (not to be confused with PRC citizens in Taiwan), who originate from various provinces of China, are often referred to as "Taiwanese Waishengren" by the peoples of Taiwan (ROC), which roughly translates to "Outside Province Person(s)".

These are the respective proportionate populations of these ethnic groups in Taiwan (ROC).

  • Taiwanese Benshengren people make up around 86% of the native population of Taiwan (ROC).
    • Taiwanese Hoklo people make up around 70% of the native population of Taiwan (ROC).
    • Taiwanese Hakka people make up around 14% of the native population of Taiwan (ROC).
    • Taiwanese indigenous peoples make up around 2% of the native population of Taiwan (ROC).
  • Taiwanese Waishengren people make up around 14% of the native population of Taiwan (ROC).

Ethnic groups of Taiwan Province, PRC[edit]

China (PRC) claims Taiwan and Penghu as its own province and hence has its own ethnic classifications for the native ethnic groups. However, most countries disregard these ethnic classifications in favour of the local ethnic classifications defined by Taiwan (ROC). The main countries where the ethnic classifications defined by China (PRC) are more strongly accepted are China (PRC) and perhaps its close allies.

According to China (PRC), Taiwan is divided into the Han Chinese and the Gaoshanren. "Gaoshanren" means "High mountain person(s)" and refers to the Taiwanese indigenous peoples.

Primary forces supporting Taiwan independence[edit]

Pan-Green Coalition support for Taiwan independence[edit]

Taiwan independence is a complex movement with many different parties being involved. The party which is most commonly associated with the movement is the Pan-Green Coalition, a collective of several political parties which advocate for the independence of a multicultural sovereign state on Taiwan and Penghu (and sometimes also the ROC-controlled territories of Kinmen and Matsu) by the name of the "Republic of Taiwan". Flag of World Taiwanese Congress.svg Flag of Taiwan proposed 1996.svg 908台灣國運動.svg This movement is the most well-known one internationally since the most senior political party in the Pan-Green Coalition, the Democratic Progressive Party, has risen to power in Taiwan (ROC) twice within the past two decades. Notably, this has been achieved by democratic elections, rather than by military coup. This indicates that there is widespread support (or, at the very least, complacency) in Taiwan (ROC) regarding the Taiwan independence movement (as defined by the Pan-Green Coalition).

Other major political parties associated with the Pan-Green Coalition include the New Power Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union. Additionally the organization World United Formosans for Independence is an ally of the Pan-Green Coalition.

Indigenous independence movements[edit]

While many Taiwanese indigenous people(s) support the Pan-Green Coalition, many also support the Taiwan First Nations Party, a political party in Taiwan (ROC) which specifically advocates for the autonomy or possible independence of the Taiwan indigenous peoples. The Council of Indigenous Peoples is also closely affiliated with the movement advocating for Taiwanese indigenous autonomy or independence. An autonomous or independent Taiwanese indigenous state might be named "Aborigines of Taiwan's Autonomy"[1].

Primary forces opposed to Taiwan independence[edit]

The relationship of China with Taiwan is confusing and convoluted. Simply put, Taiwan (ROC) is an independent country which is competing with China (PRC) for recognition as the sole legitimate government of China, and within Taiwan (ROC) there is a nationwide secessionist movement which has garnered the support of roughly half the country. The secessionist movement in Taiwan (ROC) is equally aimed at both the Taiwan (ROC) government itself as well as the China (PRC) government which is claiming the entirety of Taiwan (ROC) as its own territory.

China (PRC) is widely recognized as the legitimate government of both China and Taiwan. This means that the Taiwan (ROC) country is not only fighting against Taiwanese secessionists, but also against China (PRC) simultaneously. Compared to China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC) is at a severe disadvantage but isn't completely powerless, since most of the world isn't too supportive of the possible dissolving of the Taiwan (ROC) country. However, the sovereignty of Taiwan (ROC) is being critically threatened by the Taiwan independence movement, which essentially aims to overthrow Taiwan (ROC).

China (PRC) opposition to Taiwan independence[edit]

China (PRC) considers Taiwan area, which is currently administered by Taiwan (ROC), as part of its own territory, and forces other countries to abide by a "One-China policy" as a prerequisite for establishing official diplomatic relations with China (PRC). The One-China policy is aimed at both the rival Chinese government known as the "Republic of China", as well as the localist Taiwan independence movement. In 2005, China (PRC) passed the "Anti-Secession Law" in an attempt to suppress the Taiwan independence movement.

Pan-Blue Coalition opposition to Taiwan independence[edit]

The Pan-Blue Coalition of Taiwan (ROC) is an alliance of political parties which are loyal to the ROC, currently restricted to the territory of Taiwan and some minor islands of Fujian Province. The Pan-Blue Coalition asserts that the ROC is the sole legitimate government of all of China, which consists of "both mainland China and Taiwan", and that the ROC has never for a single day lost its sovereignty. The Pan-Blue Coalition is opposed to Taiwan independence but is also opposed to a PRC takeover of Taiwan.

China (PRC) (aka "mainland China")[edit]

The People's Republic of China (China/PRC) considers itself to be the sole legitimate government of "both mainland China area and Taiwan area".

The territory controlled by the PRC consists of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The PRC also claims all ROC-controlled territories as part of its own territory. The PRC has established "Special Administrative Regions SARs" in Hong Kong and Macau under the One Country Two Systems policy.

Tibet region (Qinghai, Xizang, etc)[edit]

The Tibetans are an ethnic group in Tibet that is distinct from the Han Chinese. Their proposed state is Tibet. Tibet Supporters of Tibetan independence believe that Tibet is a distinct country which is being occupied by China (PRC). The Tibet region was independent before the Mongols invaded the Tibet region and incorporated it into the Mongol Empire. After this, Tibet became part of the Yuan dynasty (of China), then the Qing dynasty (of China), then experienced a few decades of de facto independence before it was incorporated into China (PRC).

After the failed Tibetan uprising, some Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama into India, establishing a government-in-exile called the Central Tibetan Administration[2], a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, in Dharmashala, Himachal Pradesh, India. The major political parties in Tibet are the International Tibet Independence Movement and the National Democratic Party of Tibet[3]. Their advocacy groups include the Students for a Free Tibet, the Tibetan Youth Congress, and the International Campaign for Tibet.

Xinjiang Autonomous Region[edit]

The territory of Xinjiang is quite inhospitable, and so the population of Xinjiang is minuscule compared to that of China proper. However, Xinjiang covers a huge area of territory which is full of minerals and fuels. Xinjiang is home to several ethnic groups, including the Uyghurs, the Kazakhs, the Tajiks, as well as the Han Chinese.

The ethnic Uyghur people view themselves as indigenous to Xinjiang, but the government of China (PRC) opposes this notion. Whether they are indigenous is very significant, because it defines whether Xinjiang "belongs" to the Uyhurs or to China (PRC). China (PRC) has been in the process of importing Han Chinese settlers into Xinjiang for several decades, which is a source of concern for the Uyghur separatists of Xinjiang.

The Uyghur separatists propose independence for Xinjiang as East Turkestan. Kokbayraq flag.svg The borders of the proposed state will roughly match the borders of the Chinese autonomous region which currently occupies the territory. Uyghur separatists have set up a government-in-exile called the East Turkestan Government in Exile. Their major political party is the East Turkestan Independence Movement.

The main advocacy group of Uyghur independence is the World Uyghur Congress, a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.

Conflict in Xinjiang[edit]

Several armed insurgency groups are fighting the Chinese (PRC) government in Xinjiang, namely the Turkestan Islamic Party and the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, which some people consider to be associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State[4].

In response, China (PRC) has established so-called "re-education camps" in Xinjiang, allegedly as a measure to deal with this violent insurgency, which China (PRC) has labelled as "terrorism".

These re-education camps have become a huge source of controversy in the West, due to concerns that they are imprisoning ethnic Uyghurs and other native Muslims en masse without trial.

China (PRC) claims that the World Uyghur Congress is formally associated with terrorist groups in Xinjiang, but this has yet to be proven.

Inner Mongolia[edit]

The region of Inner Mongolia is home to several ethnic groups, namely the Han Chinese and Mongolians.

Some Mongolians in Inner Mongolia advocate for the independence of Inner Mongolia as a new country named Republic of South Mongolia Flag of the Inner Mongolian People's Party.svg or unification with Mongolia. Mongolia

South Mongolian independence is supported by these political parties: the Inner Mongolian People's Party, a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization; the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance[5]; and the Mongolian Liberal Union Party[6].

Special Administrative Regions of China[edit]

China Hong Kong location map.svg

Hong Kong[edit]

Because of the concession of Hong Kong from Qing China to the British Empire after the First Opium War, the city developed with a separate culture from the rest of China. Since its return to China in 1997, an opposing secessionist movement has supported a proposed independent state named the Republic of Hong Kong Flag of Hong Kong (1959–1997).svg or reverting to being the British Overseas Territory of Hong Kong, advocated by the Hong Kong Independence Party.

Related pages[edit]


  1. ^ "The First Nations of Taiwan: A Special Report on Taiwan's indigenous peoples". Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  2. ^ "Speech of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the European Parliament, Strasbourg". The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 14 October 2001. Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  3. ^ "INTERNATIONAL TIBET INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT". International Tibet Independence Movement. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Al-Qaeda and Islamic State Take Aim at China. Why have both groups turned their attention to Beijing?". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 14 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  5. ^ ""Inner Mongolian People's Party" and the basic facts about its key members". Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center. Archived from the original on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  6. ^ "モンゴル自由連盟党". Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010.(JP)

Other websites[edit]