27 JULY 1996, Page 25

Chinese take-away

Sir: Foreign Office sinologist and traditional appeaser of Communist China, Sir Percy Cradock, made the striking observation that 'historically China has not been an expan- sionist power' ('Entering the orbit of the star

China', 6 July). An equally specious state- ment would be, 'Hitler's Reich was not a racist state.' Throughout moat of its history China has been a belligerent, expansionist empire, and this is still the case today. Shorn of its occupied territories, China would be less than half its present size, being bereft of Tibet, including the eastern provinces of Kham and Amdo, Xinjiang (E. Turkistan), Inner Mongolia and Manchuria.

China has traditionally extended its bor- ders and submerged hapless peoples in a tide of Chinese immigration. The huge Moslem territory of E. Turkistan was invad- ed and subjugated in the mid-18th century, after a series of devastating conflicts, and Tibet was invaded in 1949-50, on the basis of ancient imperial claims. Its Buddhist cul- ture has been virtually exterminated and over one million Tibetans have been killed, including Aearly 100,000 tortured to death. There are strong independence movements in both these tragic countries, and in his recent visit to the United Kingdom the Dalai Lama drew attention to the plight of his peo- ple while speaking at Westminster, referring particularly to forced abortions and sterilisa- tions inflicted upon Tibetan women by the Chinese.

The fact that the Chinese claims are 'long -standing' is of no importance. Occupied countries and colonised peoples, such as the Tibetans, have the right to independence in this age, and the Chinese Communist land empire seems destined to collapse, like all other empires throughout history.

Paul Ingram

30 Hollingboume Gardens, London W13