Forced to remain nation's citizens

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 12:00am

Your correspondent Lau Han-tao's letter headlined, 'Tibetans one of many races in China' (South China Morning Post, January 16), raises interesting points.

He asserts 'China is composed of 56 different races', but fails to mention how many of these are included against the natural free will of the historical, ethnic, earlier inhabitants and resulting from the activities of various warlords and past emperors - who were often the usurpers of previous dynasties.

Mr Lau also asks the question whether Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and the United States should be returned to their native owners. I can pass over the obvious point that all the (adult) inhabitant citizens of these countries of whatever ethnic origin - and who are of voting age - have the right to vote for any candidate of any political viewpoint or party, which is not the case in a republic with 56 different ethnic races.

Lau Han-tau asks if it does not seem outrageous that the British are occupying such areas as the Falkland Islands, which are even in another hemisphere.

The best people to answer that question are the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands whose wishes are respected by the British Government. The inhabitants are not clamouring for total independence, nor are they agitating for union with Argentina.

What Mr Lau might also like to consider in the context of the views expressed in his letter, is the equally-debatable position of Tibet which was conquered by force by 'outsiders' - namely Mongols in the 13th century and again by the Manchus in the 18th century - and again by military force, including bombing from the air, in the 20th century. (Regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants).

Also, your correspondent might like to consider the position of Taiwan which was earlier settled by people of Polynesian origin. Perhaps Mr Lau knows details of the peaceful consultation with the ethnic Polynesian inhabitants before the territory was claimed by China. If so, I would be interested to learn of them.