Editor, This Week in Geopolitics
All four, at one time or another, resisted Chinese domination, as Tibet and Xinjiang still do today. Xinjiang is predominantly Muslim, and an insurgency and terrorist movement is particularly active there. Tibet is less active but no less opposed to Chinese domination.
Inner Mongolia and Manchuria are generally content at the moment. The mood in these regions varies, but China must always be concerned to maintain control.
Roughly 15 inches of annual rainfall is needed to maintain an agricultural economy. This line, called the 15-inch Isohyet, is shown in the next map along with areas of population density in the People’s Republic of China.
This is designed to both hold the coastal wealthy and the interior poor in check. Whether this will work depends on whether the People’s Liberation Army, essentially a domestic security force, can withstand the forces tugging it in various directions. Notably, a purge and reorganization has just begun in the PLA.
China then must control at least some of these strategic passages from air, sea, and land on the islands of the archipelago. And the key island, Taiwan, is beyond China’s ability to seize.