Friday, September 28, 2012

Senkakus Round Up... Again

Moon over Taipei, Tokyo, and the Senkakus last night.

UPDATE: Bruce Jacobs guts Han-yi Shaw, Feb 2013.

Lots of fun in the Senkakus this week! Mutual pissing contests! Media misreporting! Peripatetic right-wing cheerleader Niall Ferguson even weighed in, apparently undaunted by his total lack of knowledge about the issue...... long post follows.... UPDATED: Don't miss post above this one on how the ROC maps were altered to reflect new Senkakus claim

Japanese vessels spray pro-China vessels, click if the video above doesn't work.

Taipei Times has some barebones reporting on the latest stupidity (Reuters too):
Coast guard vessels from Taiwan and Japan dueled with water cannons yesterday as Taiwanese fishing boats sailed close to the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) to assert Taiwanese sovereignty over the islets.

The fishing boats came as close as 3 nautical miles (5.5km) to the Diaoyutais, known as the Senkakus in Japan, but were thwarted from making a possible landing by Japanese coast guard vessels, which deterred the protesters from approaching any further.
The fishing boats, according to local media reports, had been paid for by the head of the WantWant group, the ardently pro-China Robert Tsai (蔡衍明), who has been in the news recently over his attempts to grab a chunk of Taiwan's media market. J Michael argues that the mess was driven by local fisherman's issues. Tsai, however, is not involved because he supports the good fishermen of northern Taiwan.

The Ma government probably should have never permitted this, especially with a Japanese envoy visiting Taiwan this week to discuss the Senkakus. Yet there it is: not only did Coast Guard vessels confront the Japanese, which must have been fun for everyone, but the Ma government also sortied fighter jets to monitor the situation, according to the Taipei Times. Unbelievable stupidity. Remember when Ma was "pragmatic"? Promised to be not a troublemaker but a peacemaker? All the Serious US analysts backed him and claimed that those of us shrill, small voices who correctly identified him as a weak, pro-China ideologue were wrong. LOL.

It should be noted that effectively, when the Ma government and the Beijing government tag-team Japan, the Ma government is working with China, whatever their denials.

As Ma dithers with these islands, Taiwan's economy continues to slide. Despite the constant reiteration of the word Taiwan in connection with the Senkakus, the public is not rallying to this cause, but appear rather to be wondering WTF Ma can be thinking. Polls bear this out -- Ma's disapproval ratings reached 71%, with only 16% approving in the last TISR poll, and 13% in the TVBS poll.

Something is up. As a smart observer of Taiwan's political affairs pointed out to me last night in a conversation in which both parties, astonishingly, were sober -- no state to be discussing politics in -- Ma has replaced the envoy to the US with King Pu-tsung, his longtime right-hand man. He has also replaced the head of the Mainland Affairs Council and the head of the Straits Exchange Foundation with people loyal to him. The envoy to Japan has been recalled. Something is in the air, he argues, probably after the leadership change in China and the Lunar New Year. Note also that China has scrambled its Taiwan affairs people.

The international media has once again predictably failed to accurately represent what is going on. Despite the harm false balance has done in so many areas, the media continually reaches for it. The result is that the international media legitimizes China's claims with every article, by treating them on par with Japanese sovereignty and by refusing to do any digging in the background of the "dispute". The "deeper" pieces attribute the current mess to current domestic political issues in both countries. This "dispute" has been simmering for the last two decades. There is always something going on domestically that can be blamed for its revival at any given time.....

Han-yi Shaw
The NYTimes took things a step further the other day with the publication of a right-wing Chinese propaganda screed from Han-yi Shaw, who has been writing on this topic for about 15 years, introduced by Nicholas Kristof (who has been claiming the Senkakus are Chinese for a while). Here is the image that the NYTimes published with the piece:
Here is what Shaw wrote near the bottom:
And according to Taiwan gazetteers, “Diaoyu Island accommodates ten or more large ships” under the jurisdiction of Kavalan, Taiwan.
Heh. The Chinese text he highlights, presumably from the Chen Shouqi text on the right, actually says something like "the Diaoyu Island can hold 1000 large ships." Not ten, but a thousand. Is Shaw deliberately mistranslating, mistaken, or is it that the gazetteer he cites is not the one in the picture?

In 1999 the U of Maryland reprint series (take a moment to examine its editorial board and their output and you will know its politics) published his magnum opus on why Senkakus are Chinese. In it he also cites the Qing Gazetteers.

The Revised Gazetteer of Chen Shouqi published in 1871 is the document displayed in the photo above, according to the NYTimes caption. Shaw describes it...

Note that in this case he correctly translates this as "1000" ships. But, he says in the magnum opus, there is a 1722 gazetteer that has the "TEN" ships.....

I'm sure you've noticed the similarity in language, especially the Chinese. I can't find an image of that passage online, but this ROC Ministry of the Interior site scribes:
In volume 2, Military Defense 武備, Huang listed the patrol routes of the naval forces of Taiwan Prefecture, stating “in the seas north of Taiwan is an island Diaoyutai where a dozen large ships may be anchored.” Subsequently, Fan Cheng’s 范成Revised Gazetteer of Taiwan Prefecture 重修臺灣府志(1747) and Yu Wen-yi’s 余文儀Continued Gazetteer of Taiwan Prefecture 續修臺灣府志(1764) reiterated Huang’s references. In 1871, Chen Shuo-qi’s 陳壽祺Recompiled General Gazetteer of Fujian重纂福建通志further listed Diaoyutai Island under Kavalan Office (now Yilan County) of Taiwan in Volume 86: Coastal Defense and Strategically Important Places in all Districts《卷八十六.海防.各縣衝
Aha.... what we have is writer reproducing another in a downward transmission. A friend suggested that it is likely that the 1871 gazetteer isn't even thinking about the Diaoyutai Islands at all, because there is no harbor in the Diaoyutai capable of holding a thousand ships and the Diaoyutai were never under Gemelan administration (documents, please). The key is the phrase "north of the mountain" which signals that this prodigious harbor is north of Gemelan (Yi-lan) past the mountain. And sure enough, north of Yi-lan over the mountains on the northeast end of Taiwan is the fine natural harbor of Keelung. Were the writers of these gazetteers hazy on the geography and simply get confused over what harbor they were talking about? Check out a map and see where the Senkakus are relative to Taiwan.....

...but it appears that what Shaw did in the NYTimes article is select the first (text) and last (image) in a sequence of writers copying each other over 150 years, and presented that as authoritative. His quote is compiled of TWO different texts as if they each maintain the same thing, and he refers to the gazetteers using the plural.....
  1.  “...Diaoyu Island accommodates ten or more large ships” (1722 text)
  2. under the jurisdiction of Kavalan, Taiwan." (1871 text)
...but only the 1871 gazetteer makes the claim of Qing administration. AFAIK the others do not. Since Han settlement in the Yi-lan area dates from the beginning of the 19th century, the 18th century gazetteers most emphatically did not place the Senkakus under Gemalan/Kavalan administration, which did not exist. They merely note that the islands had a fine harbor that could hold ten ships. 

But there are a couple of deeper issues I'd like to point out. Han-yi Shaw's use of gazetteers written by is itself suggestive. Dear reader, ask yourself why Shaw simply doesn't show us the many maps produced by Qing authorities that show how the Senkakus belonged to the Qing/Taiwan throughout this period.

The answer is obvious, and this excellent post, much updated over the years, has it. Go and look at many maps listed there produced by during the Qing of Taiwan and make your own judgement. I've discussed Shaw's use of gazetteers in this old post. Further, most of my readers have some familiarity with the literature from foreigners on Taiwan -- does anyone know of anything written by a foreigner in the 19th century that identifies the islands as belonging to the Qing government or being under its Taiwan administration? Finally, had the islands been administrated from Taiwan prior to 1895, Japan probably would have made public note of that fact. Since it owned Taiwan after 1895, this might well have buttressed its claim. But perhaps not.....

The NYTimes piece leaves out a key piece of information that makes Shaw's position more rational than it really is, because if the paper's gentle readers saw it in print they would immediately realize an inconvenient truth: that Han-yi Shaw is a right-wing Chinese expansionist following a Chinese-invented Sinocentric form of sovereignty that hands all of Asia to China. Here is what he says in the long paper:
...Many Chinese scholars have argued that when evaluating the various historical evidence put forth by the Chinese side, one must not fail to recognize the important political realities of the time from which they originated, namely, an era characterized by the East Asian World Order (otherwise known as the Chinese World Order).

The underlying concern is the following: whether principles of modern international law, which has its origin in the European tradition of international order, can properly judge a territorial dispute involving countries historically belonging under the East Asian World Order with fundamentally different ordering principles from its European counterpart. First and foremost, it should be noted that the East Asian World Order was a system of international relations characterized as Sinocentric and hierarchical rather than one based on sovereign equality of nations. Under such a framework, relations between nations were not governed by principles of international law known to the West, but instead by what is know as the "tributary system" instituted by China.
It looks like Shaw claims that there are Chinese scholars arguing that if China says someone paid tribute to it at some point in history, China can determine the sovereignty in its favor. I doubt one can find many Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, Japanese, Thai, or Vietnamese scholars to support this. It is hard to imagine a mindset more self-serving and expansionist than this. Imagine if the NYTimes column had been fronted by this nonsense. Instead, Shaw cleverly frames it as an attack on Tokyo's position rather than an announcement of his own with copious evidence, maps, and charts.

One of the ways that westerners exoticize China is that we accept these completely laughable, simpleminded, and historically inaccurate and anachronistic claims, whereas if Italy demanded the Mediterranean and France based on Rome, or Ankara was claiming the entire North African seaboard, Bulgaria, and Saudi Arabia based on the Ottomans, or the Macedonians wanted a chunk of India because Alexander once battled there, everyone would immediately realize how fantastically archaic this kind of thinking is. There is no "East Asian World Order"; that is merely a modern Chinese fantasy retrojected into the past to bolster up modern Chinese expansionist claims. As I noted when I first saw this:
Another issue is the conception of 'China' that existed prior to the Qing. Emma Teng's magnificent book on Qing travel writing in Taiwan, Taiwan's Imagined Geography, is online on Google books. I suggest a careful reading of the introduction -- one of Teng's major points is that pre-Qing China saw itself as a land power only, and saw the sea as its boundary -- the island of Taiwan was considered a distant land across the water which, as Qing official and visitor Yu Yonghe noted in his diary, had never in history sent tribute to China. Shaw's analysis above, which drags up navigational and defense records from the Ming, simply ignores the evidence from maps and texts, as well as scholarly publications and analyses of this body of material, that shows that the Chinese never thought of the sea as a place to extend borders across. Thinking about a China that included islands over the water within its own boundaries was, as Teng notes, a Qing innovation. Teng observes:
"The deeply ingrained notion that the seas defined the natural limits of the Chinese realm underlay the reluctance to annex Taiwan. As the Kangxi emperor's advisors argued, 'Since antiquity, no oceanic islands have ever entered the imperial domain.'"
Thus, one of the most important functions of the constant iteration of “5,000 thousand years of history!” is that it creates in the minds of hearers an entirely fictive politico-historical continuity that China uses to buttress these very real and very dangerous territorial claims. 

But all this is really beside the point. As I've noted countless times before, between 1895 when Japan declared the Senkakus annexed, and the late 1960s, none of the Chinese governments protested this move. Indeed, in numerous published maps and texts, they stated that the Senkakus were Japanese and never hinted of any controversy.  The idea of a "dispute" is a purely post-1970s claim; prior to the discovery of oil there were no such claims made. 

Again, that excellent map post has many examples of maps issued by various institutions in Beijing and Taipei that include the Senkakus in Japanese territory and do not mention any controversy. For example, this 1958 map from the Beijing Map Publishing Company, and a 1959 map from the same outfit. Nor is the 1953 Renminerbao article I posted on before the only example of Beijing including the Senkakus with Okinawa in a text -- here is another from that post. Similarly, between 1946 and 1971 the Taiwan Provincial Statistics Guide repeatedly identifies Pengjia Islet as Taiwan's northernmost point. A 1970 junior high text issued by the government has the Senkakus as part of the Ryukyus and uses the Japanese name for them....National War College maps issued in Taipei between 1959 and 1972 show the Senkakus as Japanese and even use the Japanese name for them, not Diaoyutai. UPDATED: If you've come here via a direct link, don't miss this post two posts above this one on a recent academic paper that discusses these maps in detail). UPDATED: If the ROC really thought the Senkakus belonged to it, why didn't ROC representatives bring that up when they discussed territory when negotiating the Treaty of Taipei? But of course they never did. 

One could multiply such examples. 

This is why the Japanese government maintains "there is no dispute" since it knows perfectly well (who better?) that the controversy dates from the announcement of oil underneath the islands and did not exist prior to that time. 

What has really happened here is that the East Asian World Order as deployed in the service of Chinese expansion means that when China wants to expand, it will rummage through its history to find justification for said expansion. Thus, the real inconvenient truth is that the Senkakus are Japanese and the Chinese claim is simply naked expansionism. 

The even more inconvenient truth, as I have noted several times on this blog, is that many Chinese, especially on the right, argue that Okinawa is Chinese, "stolen territory" -- in Chinese minds, and on Chinese maps, the two are linked. WaPo had a piece on it a few months back....a taste:
In a fiery editorial this month, the Global Times newspaper urged Beijing to consider challenging Japan’s control over its southern prefecture of Okinawa, an island chain with a population of 1.4 million people that bristles with U.S. military bases.

“China should not be afraid of engaging with Japan in a mutual undermining of territorial integrity,” the Communist Party-run paper declared.

Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan, head of the strategy research institute at China’s National Defense University, went even further. He told state-run radio that limiting discussion to the Diaoyu was “too narrow,” saying Beijing should question ownership of the whole Ryukyu archipelago, which by some definitions extends beyond Okinawa.
Coming next in the script, when China feels powerful enough, is Okinawa, linked in Chinese minds to the Senkakus. The East Asian World Order is just a Chinese language version of that old tune, the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Cape-to-Cairo Railroad, Manifest Destiny, and Lebensraum. Hopefully, this time around it will not  be necessary to turn the globe into a killing ground to make people see how evil and dangerous such thinking is.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


Anonymous said...

"White Paper from (Berlin) Beijing on why (the Sudetenland is German) the Senkakus are Chinese."

Excellent one-line-says-it-all.

Anonymous said...

The "FE Sweet Potato blog" text on "China's first carrier is commissioned" states that

"...Until today, China was the only permanent member of the UN National Security Council that did not have operational aircraft carrier capability."

Well, China still does NOT have an operational aircraft carrier. BBC reports on Sept 25, 2012 (link) :

"But China does not yet have a fleet of aircraft or pilots ready for carrier operations. So the Liaoning will be used to test and train them, a task that will probably take several years, our correspondent adds."

So, the "carrier" will not carry anything for years until further notice. There is no aircraft to be carried and there is no pilots to fly "them".

It is not operational.

Anonymous said...

I think the Chinese and Taiwanese never complained in the 50s and 60s because the islands as part of the Ryukyus were administered by the United States until 1972. There was probably no point in making noise about American occupation of the area. Once they were handed back to Japan in '72, they could then stake their claim.

Anonymous said...
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Michael Turton said...

The cutesy Berlin/Beijing thing is actually juvenile and gratuitous reductio ad Hitlerum invective. Please -- can we stop, stop, STOP with the Hitler Card already?

I'm sorry the truth seems juvenile to you.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry Michael. The ChiCom regime will have collapsed long before any such fantastical notions can exercised to action.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, and sorry for you, that you have such a juvenile (I will reiterate) conception of "truth." Look, Michael, no other response than retraction is appropriate here. Such guilt-by-association casuistry is beneath you.

Anonymous said...

See also this thoughtful item on enforcing "Godwin's Law":

Michael Turton said...

'm sorry, and sorry for you, that you have such a juvenile (I will reiterate) conception of "truth." Look, Michael, no other response than retraction is appropriate here. Such guilt-by-association casuistry is beneath you.

Look, if you can't see what China is and what its territorial and ideological goals are, and not only their tight parallels with Nazi Germany (and other right-wing nationalistic expansionist states), in addition to their shared ideological roots (see Dikotter on the roots of modern Han ethnic ideology in China and its relationship to the 19th century European racists) then I don't mind. But keep your ignorance to yourself, please.

And really, take a moment and re-read the last paragraph. I will not be lectured at by people who do not know their shit and didn't even bother to read what I wrote.


Mike Fagan said...

If I may be permitted to comment on this occassion...

"Look, Michael, no other response than retraction is appropriate here."

Quite the opposite.

The analogy could be taken further: not only is race-based nationalism a pivot point of the CCP's domestic propaganda, but their imperialist ambitions are somewhat similar to those of the Nazis in strategic aspect.

The Nazis annexed both Hungary and Romania without using force but merely by offering economic inducements and spurious security guarantees against the Soviets. Although the security guarantees are obviously missing, the CCP's attempt under Hu to induce Taiwan's annexation via ECFA and various other ongoing "treaties" is arguably somewhat similar. Although the threat of force against Taiwan remains via the 2nd Artillery and the PLAAF, the CCP are as yet trying to play for Taiwan's annexation on the cheap.

The annexation of Austria and (eventually) the whole of Czechoslovakia was accomplished under the mere threat of force, partly due to the military inferiority of both Austria and Czechoslovakia and partly due to British and French cowardice in refusing to defend the Austrians and the Czechs. The CCP/PLAN's strategy for annexing the territorial waters of Vietnam and the Phillipines also turns on the threat of overwhelming military force to the extent that (a) the naval forces of both Vietnam and the Phillipines remain inferior, and (b) U.S. support can be doubted. The fact that U.S. support appears to remain is the only thing keeping a lid on it. This is almost certainly true of Taiwan's situation also.

What about Japan and the Senkakus? I would think the obvious comparison is with Poland - there can be little doubt that of all the Asian countries threatened by the CCP, Japan is the one most likely, if not certain, to fight back and resist Chinese expansion. It is probably also the one country in the region whose territorial borders are an actual trip-wire for the triggering of U.S. deterrance.

In another respect, there is a further similarity in that where the Nazis at first made use of Keyensian stimulus spending followed by direct enslavement of much of German industry for military purposes (and not only manufacturing, but agriculture, banking and other "sectors" as well), so too has the CCP already made vast use of stimulus spending (forests of expensive apartment buildings that nobody can afford to live in etc...) and is already attempting to militarize its foreign policy to expand the PLAN's control outward to beyond the 1st island chain.

Having said all that, the analogy to the Nazis doesn't quite fit in other aspects. With the demise of both Mao and Deng, it is arguable that the CCP no longer have a cult leader (although the Bo Xilai case is a reminder that Mao's rotten Lefty carcass may yet be resurrected). The division of the CCP into factions also prevents the further concentration of political power into the hands of any such cult leader - at least until such time as one emerges and is able to instigate his own "night of the long knives".

So I think the analogy to the Nazis is interesting and in any case, "Godwin's law" was descriptive rather than proscriptive - which is something either conveniently forgotten or a point of ignorance to start with.

Anonymous said...

My word. One does not need to pull the Hitler Card to see what "China's territorial and ideological goals" are. Slapping down a sloppy ad Hitlerium analogy of these goals is not a denial of same. Read carefully.

Perhaps there ought to be a corollary to Godwin's Law, if there is not one already: When people are called out for stooping to reductio ad Hitlerum tactics, they become defensive and flustered and attempt to argue that their particular ad Hitlerum analogies are somehow appropriate.

And descriptive or proscriptive, Godwin's law is on-center in what it deplores: endless knee-jerk analogies with Hitler and the Nazis instead of with any other totalitarian and expansionist regimes and ideologies. Constant ad Hitlerium analogizing reflects a lack of historical knowledge, imagination, or contemplation -- and perhaps all three.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of September 30, 2012 9:46 AM wrote:

"Look, Michael, no other response than retraction is appropriate here."

Hm...I didn't realize that Michael was laying a claim on the Senkaku islands.

Gosh, analogies are used all the time to make a point in order to save everybody's time.

The Chinese need to relax their collective rectal sphincter a bit and learn to not automatically jump to demand for a "retraction" whenever someone says something they don't like.

Michael Turton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Turton said...

endless knee-jerk analogies with Hitler and the Nazis instead of with any other totalitarian and expansionist regimes and ideologies

...except of course, it isn't endless or constant. It is occasional and often snarky. And other expansionist ideologies are at the end of the post. D'oh.

Why you are so desperate to recover this non-point about a single snarky comment at the end of a post involving hundreds of words and many images is a mystery. You've dug this silly hole deep enough and have made an absolute ass of yourself. Why don't you avoid reading this blog in the future? Then you can maintain that smug, superior feeling, and I can go on blogging, and we'll both be happier.


Mike Fagan said...

"...attempt to argue that their particular ad Hitlerum analogies are somehow appropriate."

The comparison to the Nazis is appropriate on several counts: racial ideology, fascist control of industry and imperial ambition.

Michael Turton said...

Yes, I know, such parallels could be added ad infinitum, but we both know it is impossible to convince people riding the Godwin high horse with mere evidence and argument. The commenter's own sense of moral superiority is now wrapped up in social class display and he is no longer reachable with merely real considerations. Sad.

Mike Fagan said...

"The commenter's own sense of moral superiority is now wrapped up in social class display and he is no longer reachable with merely real considerations."

Perhaps because throw-away one liners make it easy for the likes of him: they can't lift anything heavier than a playground insult.

Anonymous said...

I think another "Inconvenient Truth" that you should consider adding to this excellent article is the Treaty of Taipei of 1952, the peace treaty ending the Second Sino-Japanese War. In it, Japan conceded defeat to the Republic of China (the then-exiled Chiang Kai-shek government), and ceded to it Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands near Taiwan, plus Japan's claims to various islands in the South China Sea. The Senkakus? They never came up. If the ROC truly believed in the "Daioyu" nonsense they could have demanded them then and there. But they did not do so...

Much less important but worthy of note: Kristof is married to a Chinese-American woman, Sheryl WuDunn. He's a Sinophile in the most literal sense. To Hell with what he thinks.

Anonymous said...

>>the Treaty of Taipei of 1952,... In it, Japan conceded defeat to the Republic of China (the then-exiled Chiang Kai-shek government), and ceded to it Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands near Taiwan, ....<<

What non-sense!!!

The Treaty of Taipei certainly didn't include such a thing. It only refers to the San Francisco Treaty and recognizes that in the Treaty of San Francisco Japan renounced all right, title, and claim concerning Taiwan, the Pescadores, the Spratly Islands, and the Paracel Islands.

Michael Turton said...

Perhaps because throw-away one liners make it easy for the likes of him: they can't lift anything heavier than a playground insult.

Not to mention, I've specifically stated on several occasions that the best historical analogy to China is 17th century France. But never mind that....


Anonymous said...

"Much less important but worthy of note: Kristof is married to a Chinese-American woman, Sheryl WuDunn. He's a Sinophile in the most literal sense. To Hell with what he thinks."

What a sleazy ad hominem. So I suppose any white guy married to a Asian woman must be a shill for her origin country?