China and Land disputes

China claims territories of 23 countries, even though it only has borders with 14 , now this may be a shocker for you. China has imperialist ambitions.

On 1st October 1949, this was People’s Republic of China. See the Yellow part. Tibet was not a part of China. Xinjiang or East Turkestan was not a part of China. Southern part of china was “Nationalist China”. Hong Kong and Macau were not in China. Essentially, PRC was roughly less than half of today’s PRC. This was less than 70 years ago!


  1. First the Communists of PRC kicked out the  Socialists  and Nationalists.  That  gave them 25% of today’s PRC land in the south. Except Taiwan, they could not be found anywhere in Communist China.
  2. Then China took over Muslim majority East Turkestan during the same 1949 and made it Xinjiang. They called it “Incorporation of Xinjiang into the People’s Republic of China”. That added another 15% more land to PRC in today’s terms. Nevermind that Uighurs of Xinjiang are still fighting to separate from China after 69 years.
  3. Then they gobbled hapless Buddhist controlled Tibet within 10 years. Dalai Lama had to flee to India to save himself and run an ornamental “exile” government which still runs from Dharmashala in India. But Tibet lost heavily and Tibetans are even today fighting with self immolation bids. But you can read a sanitized version of violent Tibet annexation into PRC as “Incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China”. Tibet is the roof of the world and a source of most major rivers of Asia (outside West Asia). It is China’s strategy to occupy it using some historical quotes, though Tibet itself had won against China in wars 1200 years ago and occupied China all the way till Sichuan.
  4. In 1999 China hit jackpot getting back Portuguese colony Macau and British colony Hong Kong. Both were very well developed. It still has issues in Hong Kong as they are not accepting Beijing’s version of Communist governance and pro-democracy protests happened as recently as July 2017 when Xi Jinping visited.
  5. During 1950s, China literally walked into Aksai Chin of Jammu and Kashmir state in India. Even today India claims it back, but has little chance of getting back. In 1960s, Pakistan which had illegally occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir state of India, “gifted” Shaksgam Valley to China in return for goodies and protection.


There are more areas in both sea and land. China has been gobbling territory, both on land and in sea constantly for 70 years now. It just randomly brings in some “historic” paper or agreement, and then starts bullying.

Irony of chinese claim –

  • The total area of China’s claims on other countries exceeds the size of modern China itself, but Beijing refuses to budge on its claims.
  • Many are based on unsubstantiated (outside China) and unprecedented “historical precedents” dating back centuries.
  • While China only has land borders with 14 countries, it is claiming territory from at least 23 individual nations.
  • These include Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, maritime territory which is 1000 kilometres from the closest Chinese soil (well outside the internationally recognised 200 kilometre EEZ).


The following is a list of China’s current claims against other countries – 

  • Afghanistan

Afghan province of Bahdashan(despite treaty of 1963, China still encroaches on Afghan territory).

  • Bhutan

Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet, namely Cherkip GompaDhoDungmarGesurGezonItse GompaKhocharNyanriRingungSanmarTarchenand Zuthulphuk. Also Kula Kangri and mountainous areas to the west of this peak, plus the western Haa Districtof Bhutan

  • Brunei

South China Sea (Spratly Islands)

  • Burma

China claims large areas of Burma on historical precedent (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368). There are unspecified border disputes with Burma.

  • India 

Aksai Chin (part of Jammu and Kashmir), DemchokChumarKaurikShipki PassJadh, and Lapthal Shaksgam ValleySouth Tibet (part of Indian Arunachal Pradesh), Trans-Karakoram Tract

  • Indonesia

Parts of the South China Sea.

  • Japan

Parts of the East China Sea, particularly the Senkaku Islands. Also, on occasion, the Ryukyu Islands, on the grounds that the completely independent Kingdom of Ryukyu was once a vassal state of China. The Kingdom of Ryukyu terminated tributary relations with China in 1874.

  • Kazakhstan

There are continual unilateral claims by China on Kazakhstan territory, despite new agreements, in China’s favour, signed every few years.

  • Kyrgyzstan

China claims the majority of Kyrgyzstan on the grounds that it was unfairly forced to cede the territory (which it had formerly conquered) to Russia in the 19 century.

  • Laos

China claims large areas of Laos on historical precedent (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368)

  • Malaysia

Parts of the South China Sea, particularly the Spratly Islands

  • Mongolia

China claims all of Mongolia on historical precedent (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368). In fact, Mongolia, under Genghis Khan, occupied China.

  • Nepal

China claims parts of Nepal dating back to the Sino-Nepalese War in 1788-1792. China claims they are part of Tibet, therefore part of China.

  • North Korea

Baekdu Mountain and Jiandao. China has also on occasion claimed all of North Korea on historical grounds (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368).

  • Pakistan

Territory is still unilaterally claimed by China, despite China signing numerous agreements.

  • Philippines

Parts of the South China Sea, particularly Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands.

  • Russia

160,000 square kilometres still unilaterally claimed by China, despite China signing numerous agreements.

  • Singapore

Parts of the South China Sea.

  • South Korea

Parts of the East China Sea. China has also on occasion claimed all of South Korea on historical grounds (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368).

  • Taiwan

China claims all of Taiwan, but particular disputes are: Macclesfield BankParacel IslandsScarborough ShoalSenkaku Islands, parts of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands.

  • Tajikistan

China claims parts of Tajikistan on historical precedent (Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912).

  • Vietnam

China claims large parts of Vietnam on historical precedent (Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644). Also: Macclesfield BankParacel Islands, parts of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands.

Let us observe how China is bullying all its South China Sea neighbours with Nine Dash, Eleven Dash, 10 Dash kind of maps. Whenever it wants more territorial waters, it modifies a dash on map and claims a few 100 nautical miles around it. It is now building artificial islands and claiming large areas around it as exclusive zone.

{Map source: Blogspot}

The most laughable is with Mongolia.

China claims all of Mongolia on historical precedent citing Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368. But the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan had ransacked Beijing, massacred 100s of 1000s and occupied a big chunk of China!

{Map source: Wikipedia}

Essentially, what China is doing is simple.

  1. Find some page in history that is useful for it to make a claim.
  2. Make much more claim than what it actually needs.
  3. Sit on the negotiating table and bully the neighbours. China’s policy is always clear. What I have is mine, what you have is up for negotiation! That’s why you have no Brahmaputra water sharing agreement with India, while India has water sharing agreements with Pakistan (Sindhu) and Bangladesh (Ganga).
  4. Then get what it wants.
  5. But keep the effort repeated so that it can keep getting more.

Every neigbour of China is fed up. But since china is the world’s 2nd biggest economy now, most can’t bully China back. Not yet… The only three which stand up to China at present are India, Japan and Vietnam.

Additionally, China recently taunted Hillary Clinton about claiming territorial rights on Hawaii, and claimed that Chinese sailors had settled peacefully in Australia centuries before European discovery. And let’s not forget the supposed 1418 map that “proves” China discovered the Americas (and the entire world) long before Columbus.

However China has never given threat to Russia like it has given to india and the countries in south China sea . China claims all of the south China sea on basis of a irrational concept of nine dash lines. Even after losing in international court China is refusing to leave south China sea.

Amid Rising tensions China’s think tanks have repeatedly warned India of war if Indian forces don’t step back , however india won’t go back like counteries in south china sea as giving them doklam would increase their confidence and would increase possibility of another claim . Dokhlam is Bhutan’s territory and india would do anything to stop Chinese from invading it .

I joke with my friends. There are small Chinatowns in Kolkata and Mumbai in India. Who knows? China might some day make a claim on Kolkata too citing that “historically” Chinese had settled there 🙂

In the future, expect China to make claims deep inside Pacific Islands, near African coast, in Trans Atlantic ship routes and much more. China is clear of what it wants. It wants world domination and will work meticulously towards it.

Ps – last time China was in war with any other country for territorial disputes was 30 years ago , so chances of war remains low and this is good for every country . 


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