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  • China is a country both blessed and cursed by geography.

  • On one hand its land has allowed the country to grow to almost 1.4 billion people but on

  • the other hand it really doesn't have great geographical protection.

  • The beginning of what most people call Chinese history often starts with the Yellow River

  • Civilization and there's a good reason why this settlement grew into the most populous

  • country in the worldthe floodplain of the Yellow River is some of the best agricultural

  • land in the world.

  • In fact, the entirety of eastern China is perfectly suited for Agriculture.

  • This was and still is crucial to the country's success.

  • What's more, this area is just warm and wet enough that farmers can do what is know

  • as double-cropping.

  • Once the main crop of rice is cultivated in June and July, another slightly less productive

  • crop can be planted for October cultivation.

  • This increases rice output by about 25% which means China can make more food using the same

  • amount of land.

  • Europe mostly relies on wheat to feed its population which only outputs 4 million calories

  • of food per acre of farmland.

  • Rice, on the other hand, grows 11 million calories worth per acre.

  • It's easy to see why there are so many people in China.

  • But China does have its geographical challenges.

  • To the south it borders three countriesVietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.

  • The borders between these three countries and China seem almost arbitrarily set because

  • they sort of were.

  • Vietnam's was set after the Sino-French War, Laos' was set following its involvement

  • in the Vietnam war, and Myanmar's was set following a small war with China in the 60s.

  • None was naturally set by the environment; all were chosen arbitrarily by humans at war.

  • These countries are not insignificantcombined they have nearly one million active military

  • personnel while China, the much larger country, has just over two million.

  • Significant conflict with any of these countries would not be a one-sided war.

  • While China would have the technological advantage, any of these three countries would have a

  • significant home-field advantage.

  • Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar are all jungle countriesone of the most difficult environments

  • for warfare.

  • This was part of the reason why the Vietnam war lasted so long.

  • It's just so hard to move troops in the jungle so everything slows down.

  • Without any geographical protection of its borders it would be significantly easier for

  • Vietnam, Laos, or Myanmar to invade China than the reverse.

  • But China does have an advantage elsewhere.

  • China and India just aren't good friends.

  • They have border disputes, military conflicts, political differences, so its just hard for

  • them to get along and that is why Tibet is so important.

  • Tibet was historically its own empire; it was only in the last 300 years that China

  • took it over.

  • Tibetan people are ethnically different from the Han Chinese inhabiting China's east.

  • It just doesn't make sense for Tibet to be part of Chinaexcept militarily.

  • Only 0.2% of China's population lives in Tibet which accounts nearly 13% of the country's

  • area.

  • More people live in the inner four districts of Beijing than the entirety of Tibet.

  • It's just incredibly desolate, but it serves a purpose.

  • If China didn't rule Tibet, then India would.

  • Maybe not formally, but there's little chance that an independent Tibet would not be economically

  • and culturally dominated by either India or China.

  • It just doesn't have enough power economically or militarily to resist, but in China's

  • view, it could not and cannot allow for an Indian Tibet.

  • Indian rule of Tibet would mean that there would be no geographical protection between

  • the populated area of China and India because Tibet is that geographical protection.

  • Not only does Tibet extend China's border to the Himalayas, it's also an unpopulated

  • area without the transportation infrastructure needed for an invading India to advance a

  • large number of troops towards eastern China.

  • But that also means that there's not the transportation infrastructure necessary for

  • China to advance towards India, but China is trying to change that.

  • They recently opened the worlds highest railroad to Tibet, they're building highways constantly,

  • and they also opened a large airport in Nyingchi just miles away from the border.

  • In the near term the goal of these projects is to further integrate Tibet into China.

  • The government has all but failed at winning over the native Tibetan population, but they

  • can change who lives in Tibet.

  • Hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese have moved into Tibet and many more visit each

  • year.

  • The government knows that Tibet's usefulness is diminished if when a foreign military shows

  • up the population thinks that means liberation rather than invasion.

  • But there's another reason why China needs Tibetwater.

  • That whole eastern zone of agricultural productivity exists because of all the water from Tibet.

  • The Yellow and Yangtze RiversChina's two longest riversboth get their water

  • from Tibet and foreign control of the water supply of the country would, in the governments

  • mind, strike a catastrophic blow to the country's food security.

  • If there were, hypothetically, a significant mountain range separating Tibet from eastern

  • China, there's a good chance it would still be independent.

  • The water would still come from China and the mountains would act as the geographical

  • protection that China desires.

  • But to the North is another one of China's assetsMongolia.

  • It's an enormous, sparsely populated, friendly country.

  • With the gobi desert and other desolate terrain, there's just little chance that any modern

  • land-based army could make it across with any efficiency.

  • The supply lines would be enormously long and by the time they got to the Chinese border

  • there would have been ample warning.

  • But then again, who would want to invade?

  • Mongolia's only other neighbor is Russia which is a friendly ally of China both militarily

  • and economically.

  • China need not worry about its northern border until relations with Russia sour.

  • But that leaves the eastern border.

  • Now, you would think that this would be China's safest borderthe oceanbut you have to

  • consider that powerful states lay just off China's shores, the most powerful one being

  • the US.

  • The United States has a significant Pacific military presence with bases in South Korea,

  • Japan, and Guam.

  • It's also a close ally with Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia meaning that, if a

  • serious dispute with China occurred, the US would have no problem blockading China and

  • cutting off its maritime access, and of course, China knows this.

  • That's why China has spent so much time, energy, and political capital to establish

  • sovereignty in the South China Sea by building military bases and artificial islands.

  • It knows that it needs these islands so it has sovereignty over the area so that it can

  • reach the Pacific in case of war, but ironically, its actions in the area are souring its relations

  • with the very nations that China needs on its side.

  • The Philippines, for example, doesn't have a bulletproof relationship with the US.

  • While the two countries are allies, Philippine leadership has attempted to distance themselves

  • from the US.

  • If China hadn't ruined its relationship with the Philippines over the South China

  • Sea dispute it could've won them to their side which would allow China crucial access

  • to the Pacific if the US attempted a naval blockade.

  • China's entire economy relies on exports so restrictions to access to the oceans would

  • lead to economic ruin.

  • With its enormous population, China also relies on the importation of food, most of which

  • comes on ships.

  • Without jobs or food, there's a good chance that the population would rise up against

  • the government and end the current regime.

  • China didn't want to be a global power spreading its influence to every continent until recently.

  • It wanted to be the the dominant power in its region, Asia, but historically it kept

  • its affairs within the region.

  • It never colonized outside of Asia and for much of history it didn't have a significant

  • navy to project its power around the world.

  • But that has changed just because China got so big.

  • China is now of a size where it cannot support its population with its size alone.

  • Self-sufficiency in food production has been a major aspect of China's domestic policy

  • for decades, but the country has found a way to move past that as its economy has grown.

  • Africa has emerged almost as China's China.

  • It supplies the country that supplies the world.

  • China has pumped enormous amounts of money into the continent in what some describe as

  • a form of neocolonialism.

  • Chinese state-backed corporations have bought huge amounts of land in Africa to mine minerals,

  • drill for oil, and grow food.

  • China now imports more food and oil than it exports.

  • While that is a sign of the development of its economy, it also means that it is now

  • reliant on foreign powers which is a vulnerable position for a country that is often at odds

  • with some of those foreign powers.

  • China doesn't have bad geography, it has some of the best in the world which has allowed

  • for it to grow into the largest country in the world, but as it grows into a more and

  • more powerful and developed country, it needs to be cognizant of its vulnerabilities if

  • the current regime wishes to continue.

  • It's clear that because of its geography, the country is in a more precarious position

  • than some may think.

  • If there were every a reason to go to war with China, the country is surrounded to the

  • south and east by countries that would likely side with NATO powers.

  • To the west and north, China is surrounded by countries and regions without the infrastructure

  • to support China is a war.

  • China is a nuclear power which means formal war with other superpowers is unlikely, but,

  • if it ever were to happen, its hard to deny that its major disadvantage is geography.

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B1 中級 美國腔

中国的地理问题(China's Geography Problem)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 06 月 10 日
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