Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Happy National Defense Education Day

Posted by MyLaowai on Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today (in China, obviously) is National Defense [sic] Education Day. That’s a cutesy name for what is really Stoke Up Nationalist Hatred Of Japan Day. It’s an ancient day of remembrance since 2007, and is celebrated by air-raid drills and a nationwide ringing of alarms.

It’s a good time then to take a quick look at the Senkaku Islands. China claims them to be an indisputable part of Chinese territory since ancient times (of course), but then China also says the same thing about Taiwan, Tibet, Korea, East Turkestan, Hawaii, Australia, the Arctic Ocean, and the entire South China Sea. I think it’s probably safe to say that their claim to the Senkaku Islands is based on equally substantial evidence, but for the record, let’s just take a quick look at what everyone else in the world considers to be ‘historical fact’:

The Senkaku Islands comprise five small volcanic islands and three rocky outcroppings with a total land area of just seven square kilometres. They were first discovered and mapped by Japanese explorers and finally were formally incorporated into Japanese territory in 1895. A number of surveys have been conducted on the islands, and no trace of any previous habitation or prior ownership has ever been found. Since 1895, the islands have continuously remained as an integral part of Japan’s territory.

In 1895, China and Japan also jointly signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki, in which the Emperor of China stated that: “China cedes to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty of the Penghu group, Taiwan and the eastern portion of the bay of Liaodong Peninsula together with all fortifications, arsenals and public property.” The Chinese now claim that the Treaty of Shimonoseki wasn’t fair, and refuse to recognise it today. They now claim that all the bits they ceded away are still theirs, regardless of the fact that they ceded them away in an internationally-recognised document. By their reckoning, therefore, the Senkaku islands are still part of China. Except, and here’s the kicker, that the Senkaku Islands were never part of the Pescadores group of islands that were ceded to Japan in the first place. As a result of this small and inconvenient truth, the Senkaku Islands were not included in the territory which Japan renounced under Article II of the 1952 Francisco Peace Treaty. They were instead placed under the administration of the United States as part of the Nansei Shoto Islands, in accordance with Article III of that treaty, with the United States later handing administrative rights back to Japan.

All this time, China made not the slightest objection to any of this. In fact, China had nothing at all to say on the entire subject until oil was discovered there at the end of 1970, when they suddenly and very conveniently produced ‘historical records’ proving that the Senkaku Islands had been used exclusively by China since 1403. Hmmm. Gavin Menzies would be impressed.

Anyway, moving on… Even China does not dispute the fact that Japan exercised control of the Senkaku Islands from 1895 until the Second World War, and in fact officially recognised the fact that the islands were part of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture. So what’s the problem? I mean, apart from extreme nationalism, oil, and pig-ignorance, of course? Oh yes, a claim that a few Chinese fisherman caught some fish in the area back in 1403.

So, here’s my question:

Can sovereignty claims based on a complete lack of any legal, historical or physical evidence, and backdated to fourteenth century Asia, be considered as a basis of ownership in a modern international legal system?

I think not. And hey, for once the International Legal System is on my side.

Happy National Defense Education Day. Idiots.

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12 Responses to “Happy National Defense Education Day”

  1. Chinese Netizen said

    Q: “Can sovereignty claims based on a complete lack of any legal, historical or physical evidence, and backdated to fourteenth century Asia, be considered as a basis of ownership in a modern international legal system?”

    A: Yes. Because the feelings of the Chinese people have been hurt.

    CCP would argue that such treaties as the Shimonoseki Treaty are invalid and full of crap as they were written by imperialistic, foul, smelly white men and their lackey Jap underlings whose records are in conflict with irrefutable Chinese historical documents of owning 99.8% of the known universe since the beginning of time.

    However, “The Chinese now claim that the Treaty of Shimonoseki wasn’t fair, and refuse to recognise it today. They now claim that all the bits they ceded away are still theirs, regardless of the fact that they ceded them away in an internationally-recognised document…” shows the Chinese love entering into agreements that they know damned well they’ll never honor, as the China Law Blog will testify to, I’m sure.

    • MyLaowai said

      Hahah you mean the ‘In China We Love The Law Blog’, right?

      • Chinese Netizen said

        But of course. But I was being polite…

      • Slap2tickle said

        The East and South China seas have the word China in them, isn’t that enough? I’m just surprised China hasn’t dropped a flag to the bottom of the ocean under the arctic yet to claim that too, after all it doesn’t matter that Russia got there first because China must have some ancient claim there…….

      • Chinese Netizen said

        Rumour has it Wen Baobao will stake a Chinese flag in Central Park, NYC while on his visit there as it was discovered by China in 1032AD by Gavin Menzies

      • Slap2tickle said

        Does this mean that the US flag on the moon was a waste of time?

      • justrecently said

        Does this mean that the US flag on the moon was a waste of time?
        No. It was a nice photo opportunity, and decorated the moon nicely enough, but that was it.

      • Slap2tickle said

        Yesterday I had the age old argument with a colleague that Ping Pong was not only invented in English (around 1884) but the word Ping Pong is also and English word that was registered by the company that first made it commercial by building a complete set including table, ball and paddle. I love throwing that one in class, the reason being is that all my students and colleagues rush home or to the nearest computer to prove me wrong and find that both baidu and google confirm that I’m right, I don’t usually get apologies the next day, it’s one thing Chinese find hard to do, accept the truth.

      • Neddy said

        Slap2tickle, you are not the first one to notice this:

        “Because of their ignorance of the size of the earth and the exaggerated opinion they have of themselves, the Chinese are of the opinion that only China among the nations is deserving of admiration. Relative to the grandeur of empire, of public administration and of reputation for learning, they look upon all other people not only as barbarous but as unreasoning animals. To them there is no other place on earth that can boast of a king, of a dynasty, or of culture. The more their pride is inflated by this ignorance, the more humiliated they become when the truth is revealed.”

        Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci (1552–1610)
        http://www.talesofoldchina.com/

    • Chinese Netizen said

      An apology equates to loss of face.

      That’s why Chinese guys don’t ever use the term “man up”

  2. […] a comment » Some current developments from the sacred Senkaku Islands Diaoyu Islands plus a bit of historical background is available at mylaowai.com. Those two gentlemen might disagree with such a distorted […]

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