China’s Growing Role in Southeast Asia Reopens Old Wounds

It is an unfortunate corollary of historiography that one people’s historical footnote is too often another people’s great tragedy.

I’ve become accustomed to being lectured — and not without good reason — for the sins of my ancestors in China, but in Southeast Asia, it is the Chinese who are the historical villains almost as often as are the European colonialists. It is a narrative which has taken on greater stridency as China looks to assert its hegemony over its smaller neighbors to the south. China’s economic clout, hunger for resources, and military power all cast a long shadow into Southeast Asia.