The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 2/3

With military bases in the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Okinawa, it was easy for America to replace France in Vietnam, which led to the Second War in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1955 to 1975.

That was when Mao’s China said that Vietnam and China were “as close as the lips and the teeth”.  Mao asked, “What happens to the teeth when the lips are gone?”

What the French and Americans did in Vietnam was not the only reason China wants to keep a buffer between itself and countries such as England, France, Japan and the United States.

Great Britain conquered Burma after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in 1824 to 1886. Singapore was added in 1819. Then the British acquired Melaka in 1824 then expanded into the Malay Peninsula between 1874 and 1914.

Thailand was the only Southeast Asian state to remain independent during the colonial period yet Thailand, which was known as Siam paid tribute to China 48 times mostly after 1780.

The next war between China and Japan took place in 1894 to 1895. China lost and ceded Taiwan, the adjoining Pescadores, and the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria to Japan.

China’s defeat encouraged the Western powers to make further demands of the Chinese government, which triggered a reform movement and the beginning of revolutionary activity against the Manchu rulers of China.

While China was helpless, Japan occupied Korea and held it as a colony from 1900 – 1945.

In 1903, a British military expedition invaded Tibet interfering in Tibetan affairs to gain a base in one of the buffer states surrounding India. The British were unsuccessful and left in 1904.

However, in 1913, soon after the Qing Dynasty collapsed, the British convinced Tibet to declare freedom from being one of China’s tributaries after being occupied and loosely governed by China since the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century.

In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion led to another foreign invasion by the eight-nation alliance of Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany, Austria-Hungry and Italy.

During that invasion, China’s Imperial army lost 20,000 troops and about 19,000 civilians while the foreign invaders lost 2,500 soldiers.

Return to The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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