I've shamelessly stolen a bunch of slides from Bill Hayton's presentation, which is online here. As he introduces in another piece on the South China Sea mess:
At the root of all of this trouble is what Beijing calls its “indisputable historical claim” to 80 per cent of the South China Sea: all the way from Hong Kong harbour almost to the coast of Borneo, 1500km away. The problem with the claim is that there’s no credible evidence to support it. Yet this piece of historical fiction threatens peace and security in Asia and provides the stage for a struggle between China and the US with global implications. It seems scarcely credible that this potentially cataclysmic confrontation is, at its root, a dispute over almost entirely uninhabitable specks of land.Hayton's presentation gives a background on the whole mess, showing how the SCS claim actually originates in the Maps of National Humiliation that originated as private projects which were eventually taken up by the government. Click on READ MORE to continue to whole (long) post.
another piece: "As the French researcher Francois-Xavier Bonnet has shown, a map of Guangdong Province published in 1897 went no further south than Hainan Island." The Philippines collected a large number of historical maps of China for a recent exhibition on its claim to Scarborough Shoal, and in each one going back to the 11th century, Hainan Island is marked as the southernmost point of China, as it is on the Qing map above. The last Chinese dynasty, the Ming, had its borders defined in the Official History (the Ming Shi) written by the Qing and they did not include anything south of Hainan Island. Bonnet's piece in English on Scarborough Shoal is available here.
Callahan notes that today the purpose of "national humiliation" is to contain and channel nationalism so it does not threaten the CCP's grip on Chinese society, and Chinese experience "national humiliation" via consumption of national humiliation goods just as consumers in western societies recreate their social identities via consumption -- my favorite good being the National Humiliation towel, good for washing your face and washing away humiliation at the same time.
Note that the ultimate humiliation is invasion and annexation of "China's territory" by a foreign power. So obviously China being invaded and extinguished by the Manchus should be the number one humiliation of all time. But since Chinese expansionists wanted to inflate the new state out to the old Qing borders, the idea that it was a humiliation to be ruled by the Qing isn't part of this discourse. Instead, the Manchus became "Chinese" just as their empire became "China". The one entails the other...
A provincial Chinese delegation had reached the Paracels a few decades earlier, on 6th June 1909, making what appears to have been a one-day expedition, guided by German captains borrowed from the trading firm Carlowitz. On such humble claims rests international confrontations.The reason they had to borrow German captains is because there were no Chinese pilots capable of taking them to the Paracels, he says.
bigger version online) and says Taiwan was "ours" but lost to the Japanese. The map contains no clearly marked borders of the new nation and forthrightly states that the new China is the same as the domain of the old empire. Except that it doesn't define what that domain was...
國恥地圖 in Chinese) are actually expansionist fantasies in cartographic form...
This one is a 1938 government authorized elementary school map. These maps draw on false ideas about the way the tribute system worked to recreate a fantasy China that actually owned the nations that sent "tribute." Here note that Laos, Cambodia, Korea, and Vietnam are "lost territories" awaiting "reunification."
Here is another national humiliation map. Observe also how these maps anachronistically use the modern western colonial borders to represent the territories "China" owned...
This blogpost has a bunch of such maps. If you search this text string 國恥地圖 in Chinese you can find many.
Thus, as several academics have pointed out (for a good discussion, see the end of Emma Teng's Taiwan's Imagined Geography), under the rubric of humiliation/expansion, Qing expansion becomes "unification of the nation" and any discourse on Qing imperialism disappears. Since there is no Qing imperialism, studies of Qing expansion in China are called "frontier studies" there. As Teng observes, another fallout of this ideological stance is homogenization of local identities into Beijing's constructed Chinese identity, since all this vast diversity of peoples and cultures under Beijing's sway is swallowed up in the construct "Chinese". This long historical process of assimilation and destruction of local difference wrought by the CCP and ROC before it, is taking place within China's borders as well as driving the protests in Hong Kong and the rejection of Beijing's imperialism in Taiwan. We just notice it less where it stamps out the scores of ethnicities in China and replaces them with Beijing's imperial construct, because those acts take place deep in China, far from western eyes.
he observes. Check it though -- the Chinese got their maps of the Spratlys from the archives? Nope, they had to send to Manila.
When a Chinese government committee first gave Chinese names to the islands in 1935 all it did was either translate or transliterate the existing British names. In the Paracels, for example, Antelope Reef became Líng yang (the Chinese word for antelope) and in the Spratlys, North Danger Reef became Bei xian (Chinese for “north danger”), Spratly Island became Si-ba-la-tuo (the Chinese transliteration of the English name). The Chinese committee simply copied the British maps, errors and all. The names were then revised, twice. Scarborough Shoal, named after a British ship in 1748, was originally transliterated as Si ge ba luo in 1935, renamed Min’zhu Jiao—Democracy Reef by the nationalist Republic of China in 1947 and then given the less politically-sensitive name of Huangyan (Yellow Rock) by the communist People’s Republic of China in 1983.The "traditional" names actually turn out to be names based on British names! British/Western names were used because it appears there were no Chinese names for them.
The Diplomat and The National Interest on China's interest in the Natunas.
The moral is clear: if you analyze Chinese history in terms of the idea of national humiliation, you're forwarding Chinese expansionist propaganda.
Note: the Wikipedia page on the Spratlys is awful and often simply regurgitates modern Chinese claims about history without any fact checking. For example, it says the 1887 Chinese-Vietnamese Boundary Convention defined the Spratlys and the Paracels as Chinese, but in fact it does not. Nope, sure doesn't.
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