The majority of wars are fought over territory.  Many wars are fought between a country or group that wants independence with another country that wants to control it.  Russia is currently subduing the breakaway province of Chechnya. China has repeatedly threatened Taiwan with war should Taiwan declare independence.  The Taiwanese want to be independent and free. 

   Why are countries willing to go to war to prevent independence of people who want it?  If we are in a relationship and our boyfriend or girlfriend wants out we know they have the right to leave.  Surely if a province wants to separate they have the right to do so.  The New York Times interviewed mainland Chinese about why they were willing to go to war with Taiwan.

   According to the New York Times article that appeared in (March 20, 2000) the idea that Taiwan will inevitably reunite with the mainland is probably the most emotional, deeply held belief of ordinary Chinese, from college students to retired factory workers. Prime Minister Zhu Rongji said 1.25 billion Chinese would be willing to "spill blood" to prevent its independence.

"China was divided when it was weak, and now that it is getting strong again, people's nationalist feeling rises and they feel strongly it is time to reunite the country,"

said Zhang Yunling, the head of South Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"I think both sides will have to make adjustments to their policies,"

said a 22-year-old physics major at Beijing University, who refused to give his name. "After all Taiwan is democratic now, and the people have exercised their own right to chose a president."

   Still, he too "accepted that war was inevitable" if Taiwan declared independence, saying he personally could not bear the thought of China's being divided forever. He added:

"The idea of unity is very important to the Chinese people, and we treasure the idea. These ideas have sunken deeply into people's minds, and we just accept them and wouldn't think of changing them."


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