The Communist Party of China has provoked territorial disputes with almost all of it's neighbours. In the recent past, they had one of these with India, but are currently engaged with India to de-escalate tension in the region but still the issue is burning.

I don't know what repercussions the CPC will have to face in China & maybe the world for this misadventure and failing to reach the goals they set to achieve, but fail to do so in it's entirety.

Now, they are in a border dispute with Tajikistan. It is said that they are working on age old ideology which links to the Qing dynasty that they want to regain land they had during the Qing dynasty, which ended in 1911.

How logical is it for the CPC to act on such an ideology? Will it help them to prove their guts to international community after the fiasco with India? Will this same strategy work in the future?

  • I thought this community asks question before they down vote. Two up votes and two down votes? Have I asked a wrong questions? If so, then I am ready to delete it. Please let me know.
    – CaWo
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 11:51
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    I didn't downvote or upvote. But do you have sources that China officially has active territorial disputes with Russia and Tajikistan? I only found sources claiming a random Chinese person commenting on such matters, while officially they were resolved years ago.
    – user23013
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 12:06
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    Why has any country ever wanted more land? Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 12:18
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    I didn't upvote or downvote but "Will it help them to prove their guts to international community after fiasco with India? Will the same strategy will work in the future for them?" seems to be asking for opinions, as well as predicting the future.
    – Taladris
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 13:36
  • It is possible that logic is not an issue here. Xi Jinping has a tight hold on the levers of power, and the policies in question are very much his. We can't rule out the possibility that his decisions are not entirely rational. Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 7:34

4 Answers 4


From the Pacific Council on International Policy:

Since assuming power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has clearly articulated his vision of the “Chinese dream” which seeks to achieve the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Xi has vowed to “restore” China’s historical influence and status by transforming China into a moderately prosperous state by 2020 and a rich, strong, and fully-developed great power by 2049. A major component of the Chinese dream includes the strengthening and expansion of China’s military capabilities. Beijing has specifically tasked the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to complete military reform and modernization by 2035 and to become a world-class military by 2050.

I will not speculate as to whether or not this project will be successful, but the intent behind it is clear.

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    Comments deleted. Please remember that comments are not for political debates. Especially not when they are tangential to the topic. For more information on how comments should and should not be used, please review the help center article on the commenting privilege.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 8:56
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    While I agree with this and have a particular dislike of Xi's effect on China since his arrival, a goodly number of these disputes predated his leadership. He's intensified them, as he has intensified a lot of repression and abuses, but it's inaccurate to associate them to only his person. This is a China problem, made worse by Xi, not a Xi-only problem. Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 19:26
  • Expansion of military capability is not the same thing as expansion of territory. I think the question refers to territory so this answer is off-topic.
    – H2ONaCl
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 3:01

Because they were not powerful enough to do so until now.

Almost all countries in the world have/had territorial/border disputes with neighboring/other countries. Some countries resolved their disputes amicably. Others tried to resolve them militarily, but military solutions are never sustainable unless you are a superpower.

China is trying to resolve it in both ways. In the case of weaker countries, they are adopting muscle power. For the stronger countries, they are proceeding slowly but steadily.

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    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:13
  • @SchwarzKugelblitz This does not provide an answer to the question. --- why?
    – user366312
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:14
  • It was found to be vague and with a very vague oversight of the situation without any real corroborated sources Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 18:29

Geostrategic vulnerability

In a paper titled Why China attacks: China’s geostrategic vulnerability and its military intervention, the author hypothesised four points:

Hypothesis #1: If a crucial neighboring state becomes hostile to China, the geostrategic vulnerability of China increases. China’s security is closely related to the nature of crucial neighbors in the periphery that have strategic value for geostrategic reasons, such as Korea, Vietnam, and India. Throughout history, China’s grand strategy has been to strengthen its domination over adjacent states by transmitting Chinese thoughts, religions, and cultures to make them become pro-China. Its neighbors, however, were not always acquiescent. Some states clashed with China because of border conflicts, territorial issues, ideological confrontation, and historical enmities. Sometimes they antagonized China and increased Chinese geostrategic vulnerability by aligning with China’s main enemy.

Hypothesis #2: The more Chinese influence weakens in its traditional sphere of influence, the more its geostrategic vulnerability increases. China has deterred the challenges of regional hegemons and prevented the invasion of the enemy by securing its adjoining spheres and exerting its influence over them. When stronger enemies, however, expanded their diplomatic, economic, and military influences to Chinese spheres, they inevitably threatened Chinese security by forcing regional states to turn against China. For example, the deployment of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula and in Taiwan in 1950, the Soviet Union’s expansion on the Indochina peninsula in the late 1970s, and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 resulted in the antagonization of regional states and the restraint of Chinese domination, respectively, in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia. Accordingly, the stronger enemies’ expansion into China’s peripheries weakened China’s influence and increased its geostrategic vulnerability.

Hypothesis #3: If more than two separated crucial spaces become antagonized or fell under the influence of a hostile power, then China’s geostrategic vulnerability would increase even more. There is a huge difference between antagonization of one neighboring state or region, and antagonization of more than two states or regions. If more than two states or regions became hostile, both of which were imperative for security, China would be besieged by hostile neighbors and its main enemy, and could be attacked on two different fronts at the same time. Then, China would have to prepare to defend itself from both threats from the two directions, which would deplete its national resources and increase its vulnerability in geostrategic terms.

Hypothesis #4: If China’s geostrategic vulnerability deepens, the possibility of military intervention increases. Under unfavorable strategic settings, such as a crucial neighbor antagonized, weakened sphere of influence, and being encircled by a stronger enemy, China may be able to either accept the reality with compliance, or challenge the status quo, thus running a risk. China, however, neither accommodated the inauspicious situation, nor directly challenged the stronger power. Instead, China’s strategic choice was to intervene against the antagonized neighbors and to regain its control/power over them, while preventing worse unfavorable situations in advance. Therefore, the increase in geostrategic vulnerability was the factor causing China’s military interventions that were not full-scale provocations against the strong power, but ‘‘limited challenges’’ to the status quo by controlled use of force.

The author also wrote

The following two case studies will show that China’s geostrategic vulnerability was sufficient to cause military intervention against its neighboring states.

Kindly note the two case studies are: China’s involvement in the Korean War in 1950 and China’s attack on Vietnam in 1979.

Reference: Changhee Park, Why China attacks: China’s geostrategic vulnerability and its military, The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2008, 263-282 (Korea National Defense University, Seoul, South Korea)

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    The Sino-Vietnamese War was also motivated by Deng Xiaoping’s personal political aspirations, which is useful to bear in mind.
    – H Huang
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 1:05

The C.C.P.'s intentions can be considered both from general and specific angles:

  1. In a general sense, their goal is to maximize the the influence of the party. This is achieved through the same methods as every other political party: generate economic growth, appeal to traditional values, create fear of the other, and generate a sense of national pride, among other things. In the specific case of the C.C.P, a large part of the narrative is the struggle for national rejuvenation, and emancipation from the Century of Humilation.
  2. The C.C.P. is made up of individuals. Their goal as individuals is again the same as most other individuals: to maximize their personal "success". The personal benefits of being a party member are significant, but it would be a mistake to think that they are only financial. Confucianism still provides the main template for social status in China; respect, loyalty, and hard work are equally valued.
  3. General points aside, the C.C.P. de facto follow the principle of 大一统, that is, they believe that everyone should become "civilized", whatever that means from a Han-ethnocentric perspective. Confucius said, 世界大同, "everyone should become the same" - they will do what the Qin emperor did to the Warring States: standardize everything. That which can not be standardized, will not be dealt with lightly.
  4. The final element to consider is Marxism, and its most recent incarnation Xi Jinping Thought, of which the most relevant point internationally is the goal of strengthening China's national security. This represents a new direction from traditional Chinese thinking, which emphasized China's central role in the world, but did not necessitate any form of territorial expansion. "China" such as it existed in its various forms was always the dominant power in the region, and had no real need to expand, due to its use of Tributary States and economic influence. However, the C.C.P. has been influenced by revolutionary socialism, and as a consequence is more outward-looking, and potentially more expansionist, than they would have been before the 20th century.

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