chapter  14
11 Pages

East Timor and China: Beijing looks to secure long-term interests

At midnight on 20 May 2002, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste – more commonly referred to as East Timor – gained formal independence 27 years after its first bid for self-determination. Subject to inept colonial rule from Portugal for over 400 years, followed by 24 years of brutal occupation by Indonesia, independent East Timor faces a myriad of formidable challenges, including high levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy, explosive population growth and political instability generated by regional and political divisions.