Kosovo’s Domino Effect

Kosovar independence could be bad news for China, writes Antoaneta Bezlova in Inter Press Service:

Kosovo’s example is unsettling for China because it revives memories of the Chinese Communist Party’s own promises to minorities to uphold their right of national self-determination, which it quickly abrogated after winning power in 1949.

The most famous example of an autonomous region in China is Tibet. China drew up a 17-point agreement with the Lhasa government in 1951, which details the Tibetans’ rights to self-rule such as self-government, independent religious and educational institutions but no control over military or diplomatic affairs.

But after a suppressed 1959 rebellion led to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s exile to India, China revoked its pledges for genuine autonomy, using sometimes brutal repressive measures since to keep the region under control.

The similarities with Kosovo are striking.

Bezlova also notes that Kosovo’s independence comes just a month before Taiwan holds a referendum on whether or not to apply to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan.

“Taiwan is a member of the international community that cherishes democracy and freedom, and the Taiwan government is delighted that the people of Kosovo have the fruits of independence, democracy and freedom to look forward to,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said a in a statement Monday.

But Beijing was equally quick to blast Taiwan for its audacity saying the island did not meet the criteria for recognising other countries.

“It is known to all that Taiwan as a part of China, has no right and qualification at all to make the so-called recognition,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

February 19, 2008 3:56 PM
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