Old China maps have no mention of Diaoyu

Only after 1971 did charts lay claim to Japan's Senkaku islets


Maps created by Chinese government-affiliated publishers after the 1949 establishment of the People’s Republic of China and until July 1971 had no reference to Diaoyu, the Chinese name of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Jiji Press learned Sunday.

China started to claim the islands as its own in 1971. But the name Diaoyu was not found in domestic maps produced by China’s state surveying and mapping bureau before then.

China has also moved its border with Japan around the islands on the map since it began claiming sovereignty over the islet chain.

Jiji Press checked some 50 world and domestic maps published in China between 1946 and 2003. It is believed to be the first time that maps published in China have been systematically checked over the Senkaku Islands, experts say.

Kentaro Serita, president of Kyoto Notre Dame University and an expert on the Senkaku Islands, said the fact that maps created by Chinese government-affiliated publishers had no reference to Diaoyu shows China had not regard them as its territory.

The discovery of these maps could affect discussions between Japan and China at a time when their relations have been strained by Japan’s nationalization of three of the five uninhabited islets in September 2012, and China’s establishment last month of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea that includes airspace around the island chain.

In recent years, the Chinese government has been strictly controlling the management of maps lacking a reference to Diaoyu. For example, a national library in Beijing now prohibits visitors from viewing old maps.

Jiji Press obtained the 50 maps, mainly those published by government-affiliated SinoMaps, the most authoritative map publisher in China, at antiquarian booksellers in Beijing. Among them are those published in 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1970, or before China began to assert ownership of the Senkaku Islands.

A detailed examination revealed that all maps published in July 1971 and later, excluding some wall maps of the world, had the name of Diaoyu for the islands and Chiwei Yu, the name for one of the islands, called Taisho in Japan.

In maps published in June 1971 and before, however, Diaoyu was not found at all in pages for mainland China or Taiwan. This contradicts China’s current assertion that the Senkaku Islands are part of Taiwan, which China claims is part of the country.

In addition, the Japan-China border drawn between Yonagunijima, the westernmost island of Japan, and Taiwan on maps published in July 1971 and later was moved southward compared with maps created earlier, apparently to clearly show that the Senkaku Islands are part of China.

Meanwhile, a map published in November 1958 contained Senkaku and Uotsuri, the Japanese name for the largest of the five islands, suggesting that China had recognized the islands as Japanese territory.

Among old maps publicized by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, those created in 1930, 1962 and 1973 had such names as Senkaku and Uotsuri.

Chinese ships encroach

Naha Okinawa Pref.

Three Chinese Coast Guard ships temporarily entered Japanese territorial waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Sunday, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The intrusion was the first since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s contentious visit Thursday to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

The last time Chinese vessels entered what Japan calls its territorial waters was Dec. 22.

Meanwhile, the China’s State Ocean Administration in Beijing said Sunday the Haijing 2112, 2151 and 2337 operated in what it calls its waters.

  • Peter_T

    Try Qing era maps instead. Earlier PRC maps tend to forget certain things after chaos of Japanese caused war, its Civil War, and Great Leap Forward

  • Viva75

    This news of course does not surprise, as China is making these nine and ten dash maps up as she goes, and using the old ‘historical rights’ story that vaguely defines China’s ‘new territories’ as a cover for blatant theft. Regardless of the fact these ancient maps are real or not, do or do not show islands and territories is totally irreverent, as maps do not carry independent legal weight under UN Convention on
    the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) anyway. China’s overriding challenge remains the
    need to bring its South China Sea and Senkaku claims into conformity with
    international law. Unfortunately and annoyingly for them, they cannot legally do this.

    Simply hand drawing nine and ten dash lines that are deliberately ambiguous on a map (the
    dashes haven’t been joined, the area is vast and no coordinates are
    specified) to extend ones territory through and over already existing territories to claim fishing, oil and gas reserves and to control shipping lanes is beyond arrogant, immoral and completely illegal. The map came into existence in 1947 and China claims
    historical sovereignty over the whole region. To say that it doesn’t
    meet standard map drafting requirements is an understatement and China opposes internationalisation of any of the issues with her neighbours. And disturbingly for those neighbours China has already set it’s code of conduct going forward, and it will only get worse for them if things are ignored by the international community.

  • coolcat93

    Regarding to Japan and the Post WWII world order established by the Allies toward the end of WWII, Cairo Declaration says that Japan shall be stripped of all islands she has seized or occupied in the Pacific since the beginning of World War I in 1914 and Japan will be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Declaration)

    The Cairo Declaration was the outcome of the Cairo Conference in Cairo, Egypt, on November 27, 1943. President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China were present. The declaration developed ideas from the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which was issued by the Allies of World War II to set goals for the post-war order. The Cairo Communiqué was broadcast through radio on December 1, 1943. The Cairo Declaration is cited in Clause Eight (8) of the Potsdam Declaration, which is referred to by the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Declaration)

    By signing the Instrument of Surrender (2 Sep, 1945), Japan specifically accepted the terms of the Potsdam declaration, which incorporated by reference the terms of the Cairo Declaration: “We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the Allied Powers.” The Potsdam Declaration (26 Jul 1945) stipulated that: “(8) The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out AND Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku …” . (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Declaration)

    That is to say: Japanese territory has been basically limited to the 4 Japanese main islands and the close surrounding minor islands. Japan really has no right and legal foundation to claim sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands at all.

    Unfortunately, Japan has been waging a sustained and persistent revisionist campaign on its role in the history of WWII and challenging the Post WWII world order. That is why we have so much disorder in Northeast Asia. Challenging the post WWII world order on the part of Japan is the root cause of this disorder.

  • Gatteo

    Again, the modern china has nothing to share with the ancient empire, everything died when you decided to deny your past in favor of a modern communistic development.
    India, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia…
    All of them have been on a way or another menaced by china and you want to tell me that it is your problem because they got some territories back from the colonization of the western societies?

  • Max

    Japan and China should look at the bigger picture. The European Union are getting bigger and become powerful trading block. Japan, China, South Korea and Russia Should look at forming a trading block and enhance co operation in economy and politic, Imaging the day Japan export can go to China and Russia tax free and vice versa. China, Japan and Korea are Confucian based countries and enhance the common area This little Islands group (Diaoyu Islands) may spin Japan and China into endless war and poverty.