Chủ Nhật, tháng 6 29, 2014

Trung Quốc Đòi Chuyện Tầm Phào

China's frail historical claims to the South China and East China Seas

Một Giáo sư Đại học tại Úc phân tích cơ sở lịch sử mong manh của những điều Trung Quốc đòi hỏi tại biển Hoa Nam và biển Hoa Đông (Nguyên văn từ American Enterprise Institute)

Reuters - Guided missiles are launched during a drill of the Chinese East Sea Fleet.




Article Highlights

  • China attempted to use military force to back up alleged historical claims to the South China and East China Seas.
  • China's belligerent attempts to enforce its claims endanger peace in Asia.
  • Southeast Asian nations must maintain a military presence to deter Chinese aggression while attempting negotiations with China. 


Key points:

  • China has recently attempted to use military force to back up alleged historical claims to the South China Sea and East China Sea; however, upon closer examination, the claims do not hold up.
  • China’s belligerent attempts to enforce its claims in the South and East China Seas endanger peace in Asia. China appears unlikely to accept any reasonable proposals that respect history and geography.
  • Southeast Asian nations and other interested countries, like the United States and Australia, must maintain a military presence to deter Chinese aggression while attempting to negotiate a peaceful settlement with China.

Recently, China has used military aircraft and ships to threaten Japan in the East China Sea near the Senkaku Islands (which the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands and the government in Taiwan calls the Diaoyutai). Similarly, in the South China Sea, Chinese ships have claimed areas very far from China but very close to such Southeast Asian countries as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. China argues that these places belong to China, owing to long historical circumstances. But an examination of the evidence demonstrates that China has no historical claims to either the South China Sea or the East China Sea.

China makes its historical claims to the South and East China Seas in two key documents. "Historical Evidence to Support China's Sovereignty over Nansha Islands," issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 17, 2000, makes China's claims for the South China Sea.1 The Chinese government white paper entitled "Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China," issued in September 2012, makes the historical case for the East China Sea.2

The Chinese claim places in the South and East China Seas because Chinese historical books mention them. For example, during the Three Kingdoms period (the years 221-277), Yang Fu (楊阜) wrote about the South China Sea: "There are islets, sand cays, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, the water there is shallow and filled with magnetic rocks or stones (漲海崎頭. 水淺而多磁石)."3 Despite the assertions in part A of "Historical Evidence," this passage simply describes a sea and does not make any claim for Chinese sovereignty.

These references in Chinese historical books have four additional difficulties. First, names in historical books are not necessarily the same as the place claimed today. Second, many places are described as the location of "barbarians" (for example, yi and fan ), who by definition were not Chinese. Third, some of the mentions describe a "tributary" (附庸) relationship with China, but in these tributary relationships China and the tributary nation sent each other envoys (使臣). 

Furthermore, these foreign and tributary nations most clearly were not under the rule of the Chinese emperors, nor were they part of the Chinese nation or empire.

Finally, the Chinese historical claims refer to the Mongol (1279-1367) and Manchu (1644-1911) empires when China was defeated and under foreign rule. China's defeat becomes clear when reading the despair of Chinese scholars in those times, yet the rulers in China today distort China's history by pretending that this rule was simply by Chinese "minority nationalities." China today making a claim on the basis of the Mongol or Manchu empires is like India claiming Singapore because both were simultaneously colonies of the British Empire or Vietnam claiming Algeria because both were simultaneously colonies of the French Empire.

Let us now consider more specific claims with respect to the South and East China Seas.

The South China Sea

Figure 1 shows the conflicting claims over the South China Sea. China makes by far the largest claim to the South China Sea, a claim that runs along the Vietnamese coast and approaches the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. The Chinese claim, which extends about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to the south of China's Hainan Island, is difficult to defend in geographic terms.

Figure 1. Conflicting Maritime Claims in the South China Sea
Source: US Central Intelligence Agency (available from

Figure 2, an official Chinese map of Hainan Province, demonstrates that figure 1 does in fact accurately represent China's claims to the South China Sea.

Figure 2. An Official Map of China's Hainan Province
Source: Hainan provincial government (

The Chinese document "Historical Evidence" begins to provide more evidence about the South China Sea as of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).4 Yet for centuries prior to the Ming Dynasty, ships of Arab and Southeast Asian merchants had filled the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. China, too, was involved in this trade, though the trade was dominated by Arabs and Southeast Asians. In the words of Edward Dreyer, a leading Ming Dynasty historian, "Arabic . . . was the lingua franca of seafarers from South China to the African coast."5

The importance of Arab traders is clear in a variety of ways. During the Tang Dynasty (618-906), a "largely Muslim foreign merchant community [lived] in Canton (Guangzhou). Canton was sacked in 879 by the Chinese rebel Huang Chao, and the most vivid account of the ensuing massacre is in Arabic rather than Chinese."6

Before the Song Dynasty, non-Chinese dominated trade in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. In the words of Dreyer, "Despite the importance of China in this trade, Chinese ships and Chinese merchants and crews did not become important participants prior to the Song (960-1276). Well before then, voyages between China and India were made in large ships accompanied by tenders. The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Faxian [法顯] travelled in 413 aboard a large merchant ship. . . . The largest ships of Faxian's day were . . . very large . . . [b]ut they were Indonesian, not Chinese."7

The Mongol Empire sent a Chinese man, Zhou Daguan (周達觀), as envoy to Angkor (modern Cambodia) in 1296-97. Zhou's writing provides an important source of information about daily life in Angkor at this time, and two different English translations have now been published.8 Of course, Angkor was a foreign country outside of the Mongol Empire, and Zhou did not pretend otherwise.

Early in Ming Dynasty, during the reign of the Yongle (永樂) Emperor (r. 1403-24) and his successors, the Ming court sent the famous commander, Zheng He (鄭和), on seven major expeditions to Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the east African coast between 1405 and 1433. Zheng He had huge fleets with many "treasure ships" (baochuan 寶船), which were probably the largest wooden ships ever constructed. But Zheng's voyages were not voyages of exploration. In fact, Dreyer wrote, "Zheng He's destinations were prosperous commercial ports located on regularly travelled trade routes and . . . his voyages used navigational techniques and details of the monsoon wind patterns that were known to Chinese navigators since the Song Dynasty (960-1276) and to Arab and Indonesian sailors for centuries before that."9 Zheng's voyages, like those of the Portuguese who came a few decades later, "were attracted by an already functioning trading system."10 Like the later Portuguese, Zheng most likely used Arab navigators in the western half of the Indian Ocean.

Zheng's voyages had the purpose of bringing various foreign countries into China's tributary system. This proved successful as long as Zheng's voyages continued, but the immense military force of Zheng's fleets, with over 27,000 men (mostly soldiers), meant that potential force was always an element in these voyages and violence was used on three occasions.11

The biography of Zheng He in the official History of the Ming Dynasty (Mingshi 明史) demonstrates the importance of the "iron hand in the velvet glove": "Then they went in succession to the various foreign countries. . . . Those who did not submit were pacified by force."12 Zheng's voyages did have some influence. The rise of Malacca (Melaka) as a trading port to some extent owes to support from Zheng.13 But, "After the third ruler of Malacca converted to Islam in 1436, Malacca attracted to its port an increasing amount of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea trade, much of which was carried on ships sent by Muslim merchants and crewed by Muslim sailors. . . . [After Zheng He] this pattern of trade, now largely in Muslim hands, persisted until the arrival of the Portuguese."14

Owing to the great expense of Zheng He's voyages, as well as the Ming Dynasty's concern with the Mongols on its northern borders, China turned inward and northward: "The [Ming] prohibition against building oceangoing ships and conducting foreign trade remained in force, and Chinese private citizens who violated this prohibition went beyond the borders of the Ming empire and ceased to be objects of government solicitude."15 With a northward-oriented foreign policy and the prohibition of building oceangoing ships and conducting foreign trade, Ming China withdrew from the oceans. As I will show, this policy also affected the East China Sea.

Before moving to the East China Sea, however, let us consider another argument used to prove that China owns the areas around the South China Sea. This argument emphasizes the discovery of Chinese ceramics and pottery shards. As noted earlier, the South China Sea was a trading hub filled with ships carrying various valuable cargoes, including Chinese ceramics and Southeast Asian spices. But most of the ships carrying this cargo were Southeast Asian or Arab. This failure to distinguish between a trade good and the ships carrying the good affected the analysis of at least one senior Chinese leader. In his speech to the Australian Parliament on October 24, 2003, Chinese President Hu Jintao said, "Back in the 1420s, the expeditionary fleets of China's Ming Dynasty reached Australian shores."16 President Hu was referring to Zheng He, but we know the itineraries of Zheng's voyages, and we know that they did not include Australia.17 In fact, Australian aborigines had long carried on trade with Macassans, who came from Sulawesi in modern Indonesia, and such Chinese ceramics most likely came from this trade, which included trepang and northern Australian timbers.18 This trade between the northern Australian indigenous peoples and the Macassans resulted in several Macassan words becoming an integral part of north Australian indigenous languages,19 but it provides no evidence that Chinese ever visited Australian shores before the 19th century.

"Historical Evidence" does not address one more important historic claim: the so-called "Nine-Dash Line" in the South China Sea. The origins of this line date back to 1933, when the then Republic of China's Land and Water Maps Inspection Committee was formed. Conventionally, the public appearance of the so-called Nine-Dash Line map (figure 3) is dated 1947, though some sources date its publication as early as December 194620 or as late as February 1948.21 After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Premier Zhou Enlai (周恩來) accepted the Nine-Dash Line as valid for the People's Republic as well, though sources vary as to when this took place. Since then, the Nine-Dash Line has varied, with different official versions having 9, 10, and 11 dashes. Yet this cartographic claim adds nothing to the historical evidence about any "sovereignty" over the South China Sea.

Figure 3. Original Nine-Dash Line Map Issued by the Republic of China in the Late 1940s.

The East China Sea

Chinese historical claims to the East China Sea were clarified in the September 2012 white paper "Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China." The paper begins its historical argument by stating that the Diaoyu Islands 釣魚島 (or, to use their Japanese name, the Senkaku Islands ) were mentioned in a Chinese book published in 1403, Voyage with a Tail Wind (Shunfeng xiangsong 順風相送).22 As noted earlier, specific identification of modern locations with places mentioned in Chinese historical books remains uncertain, and in any case, the naming of a foreign country or place does not in any way say that China made a claim to these places. It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China in Taiwan made a similar claim in September 2012, but that this claim had been deleted from the Ministry's website in June 2013.

The white paper then goes on to mention that the Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands began to pay the Ming tribute in 1372.23 As noted earlier, a tributary relationship is not the same as a claim of ownership. Tribute nations were foreign states, and the Ming sent envoys to and received envoys from these foreign countries. Tributary relations gave the tribute nation substantial foreign trade privileges with China.

As shown in the discussion of the South China Sea, following the deaths of the Yongle Emperor and Zheng He, the Ming Dynasty focused inward and northward and forbade "building oceangoing ships and conducting foreign trade."24 Han Chinese from Fujian did temporarily visit Taiwan, primarily southwestern Taiwan, to fish, trade with the aborigines and hide, in the case of pirates. Yet Taiwan remained a foreign place,25 and no permanent Han Chinese settlements existed in Taiwan until the Dutch imported Chinese for labor after the establishment of their colonial regime in 1624. When the Spanish arrived in 1626, they found virtually no Han Chinese in northern Taiwan.26

Taiwan received little attention in Chinese documents until late in the Ming Dynasty. In the words of Laurence G. Thompson, one of the earliest Western scholars on Taiwan history: "The most striking fact about the historical knowledge of Formosa is the lack of it in Chinese records. It is truly astonishing that this very large island . . . should have remained virtually beyond the ken of Chinese writers until late Ming times (seventeenth century)."27 The Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands were much smaller than Taiwan, much farther from the Ming to Taiwan's east, and uninhabited. Thus, when Ming documents ignored much larger and closer Taiwan, they almost certainly did not mention the much smaller and more distant Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands.

In fact, both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan stated that the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands belonged to Japan until the possibility of hydrocarbons in the seas near the islands was mentioned in a 1968 United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East survey of coastal mineral resources. On January 8, 1953, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, the People's Daily (Renmin ribao 人民日報), published a report stating that the Senkaku Islands belonged to Japan's Ryukyu Archipelago.28 Figure 4 shows this article on the lower-left of page 4. Figure 5 shows the article itself. The article begins:

The Ryukyu Archipelago is distributed on the sea between the northeast of China's Taiwan and the southwest of Japan's Kyushu Island. It has seven groups of islands including the Senkaku Islands. . . . The Ryukyu Archipelago stretches one thousand kilometres. On its closest side (內側) [to us] is China's East China Sea. On its furthest side (外側) are the high seas of the Pacific Ocean. (琉球群島散佈在我國台灣東北和日本九州島西南安之間的海面上,包括尖閣諸島...琉球群島綿亙達一千公里.它的內側是我國東海,外側就是太平洋公海.)29

This suggests that the Senkaku Islands are outside of China's sovereignty, an interpretation that other pieces of evidence also support.

Figure 4. View of People's Daily.
Source: Renmin ribao, January 8, 1953, 4.

Figure 5. People's Daily Article Stating That Senkaku Islands Belong to Ryukyu Archipelago
Source: Renmin ribao, January 8, 1953, 4.

In 1958 China published a World Atlas (Shijie dituji 世界地图集) that demonstrates that the Senkaku Islands belonged to Japan.30 The map of Japan (figure 6) has a separate map of the Ryukyu Archipelago in the lower right-hand corner. On this map, the international boundary is to the east of Taiwan but to the west of the Senkakus, which are clearly labeled in Chinese characters as Uotsuri Island 魚釣島 and as the Senkaku Islands 尖閣群島.

Three other maps in this collection verify that the Senkaku Islands fall to the east of China's proclaimed international boundary to Taiwan's northeast. These maps are Asia Political 亚洲政区 (figure 7), China Topographical 中国地形 (figure 8), and China Political 中国政区 (figure 9). In figures 8 and 9, the international border is also shown to be west of the 123° longitude line while, as shown below, the Senkaku Islands are all to the east of that line. The government of Taiwan under Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石 also repeatedly published official maps that showed the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands as belonging to Japan until 1971.31

Figure 6. Map of Japan 
Source: Shijie dituji 世界地图集 [World Atlas], 1958, 25-26.

Figure 7. Asia Political Map 
Source: Shijie dituji 世界地图集 [World Atlas], 1958, 11-12.

Figure 8. China Topographical Map
Source: Shijie dituji 世界地图集 [World Atlas], 1958, 14-15.

Figure 9. China Political Map 
Source: Shijie dituji 世界地图集 [World Atlas], 1958, 17-18.

Only after both the 1968 United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East survey of coastal mineral resources suggesting hydrocarbons in the area of the islands and the Diaoyutai movement in Hong Kong, the United States, and elsewhere did either the government of the People's Republic or the government of Chiang Kai-shek evince any interest in the islands. Furthermore, all Chinese assertions of sovereignty based on the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) or the San Francisco Peace Treaty (1951) have no credibility since these treaties do not even mention the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands.32 These islands did not belong to China and could not be returned.

Claims that the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands have "always been affiliated to China's Taiwan Island both in geographical terms and in accordance with China's historical jurisdiction practice"33 also have no historical basis. The Republic of China government under Chiang Kai-shek accepted the surrender of the Japanese in Taiwan on October 25, 1945. The Taiwan Provincial Executive Commander's Office 臺灣省行政長官公署 under Chen Yi 陳儀 published a major book with 540 tables and 1,384 pages translating 51 years of Japanese statistics about Taiwan into Chinese.34 Using statistics dated August 1946, this book suggests that the eastern most parts of "Taiwan Province" were Taiwan island (122°00′04″E), Pengjia Islet 彭佳嶼 (122°04′51″E), and Mianhua Islet 棉花嶼 (122°06′15″E).35 These are the only locations east of 122°E. Yet, the westernmost of the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands is more than 1°24′45″ further east at 123°31′0″E. Thus, under the Japanese colonial rule over Taiwan (1895-1945), the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands were never administered as part of Taiwan. This situation is quite different from that of the South China Sea, where Japan did administer some islands through its colony in Taiwan.36

The Chinese government has also expressed anger over the so-called "nationalization" (Japanese: kokuyūka 有化) of the Senkaku Islands, a subject mentioned in both the foreword and conclusion of the "Diaoyu Dao" white paper. The Chinese assert that the Japanese government gained sovereignty through this nationalizing process. In fact, this is a misunderstanding. As we have seen, the Japanese government exercised sovereignty over the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands before the nationalization process and the process did not change sovereignty at all. Rather, by nationalizing, the Japanese government converted Japanese land from private ownership to land held by the national government. This happens frequently in many societies when, for example, a government converts private property into a national park.

At the recent international China Pacific Forum 2013 held in Beijing in October 2013, Chinese scholars continued to provide further "historical evidence" that the so-called Diaoyu Islands belong to China. One scholar showed a Ming Dynasty map that purported to show both the coast of Fujian Province and the Diaoyu Islands. The map, however, did not show Taiwan. Clearly the so-called Diaoyu Islands on this map were not the islands to the northeast of Taiwan.

Another scholar asserted that a Japanese military map stated that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China, but the Japanese writing on the map simply referred to "Taiwan and associated islands." The evidence presented in this paper clearly shows that the Diaoyu(tai)/Senkaku Islands were not associated with Taiwan. Thus, Chinese scholars today continue to make historical claims for the Senkaku Islands, but poor history and leaps of logic underpin their "research."


China's belligerent attempts to enforce its claims in the South and East China Seas endanger peace in Asia. In dealing with the Chinese about these issues, the United States and countries with claims to these seas should make crystal clear that they do not accept China's so-called historical claims. We must note that these claims have no historical basis and that the Chinese use these false claims in their efforts at territorial expansionism in the South and East China Seas.

Unfortunately, to date China has failed to indicate any willingness to take steps that might lead to genuine peace in disputes over the South and East China Seas. For example, in response to a recent Philippine initiative to go to an international tribunal, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a commentary in the People's Daily responded, "The act of the Philippine side is against the international law and the historical truth as well as against morality and basic rules of international relations [italics added]."37 Such a broad-based Chinese attack on the Philippine proposal, including the claim that the Philippines is acting immorally, suggests that China is not prepared to make any concession whatsoever and that it does not seek any genuine resolution of the dispute.

Similarly, the last paragraph in the Chinese "Diaoyu Dao" white paper also expresses a lack of willingness to make even the slightest concession:

China strongly urges Japan to respect history and international law and immediately stop all actions that undermine China's territorial sovereignty. The Chinese government has the unshakable resolve and will to uphold the nation's territorial sovereignty. It has the confidence and ability to safeguard China's state sovereignty and territorial integrity.38

Yet, as we have seen, China's claims in "history and international law" do not demonstrate that China has sovereignty in the Senkaku Islands.

While policymakers must continue to make efforts to reach a just peace in the South and East China Seas, the prospects of China accepting any reasonable proposals that respect history and geography seem remote. Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei and other interested nations such as the United States and Australia must also maintain a strong military capacity to deter Chinese aggression simultaneous with attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement with China.

J. Bruce Jacobs ( is Emeritus Professor of Asian Languages and Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His most recent books are Local Politics in Rural Taiwan under Dictatorship and Democracy (EastBridge, 2008) and Democratizing Taiwan (Brill, 2012). The four-volume Critical Readings on China-Taiwan Relations, which he edited with an introduction, is being published by Brill in June 2014.


1. For the text of “Historical Evidence,” see
2. State Council Information Office, the People’s Republic of China, “Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China,” September 2012; for English text, see, and for Chinese text, see
3. “Historical Evidence.” For more information about Yang Fu, see and In fact, Yang’s main contributions were during the Three Kingdoms period rather than the Eastern Han.
4. “Historical Evidence,” especially Parts B and C.
5. Edward L. Dreyer, Zheng He: China and the Oceans in the Early Ming Dynasty, 1405–1433 (New York: Pearson Longman, 2007), 7.
6. Ibid., 37.
7. Ibid., 37–38.
8. Chou Ta-kuan (Zhou Daguan), The Customs of Cambodia (Bangkok: Siam Society, 1987, 1992, 1993); and Zhou Daguan, A Record of Cambodia: The Land and Its People, trans. Peter Harris (Bangkok: Silkworm Books, 2007). The Chinese title of Zhou’s book is Zhenla fengtuji
9. Dreyer, Zheng He, 182.
10. Ibid., 175.
11. Ibid, 28–29 and others.
12. Mingshi 304.2b-4b, as translated in Dreyer, Zheng He, 187–88. The Chinese text in simplified characters is: “
以次遍历诸番国不服则以武慑之.” For the original Chinese Mingshi biography of Zheng He, see
13. Dreyer, Zheng He, 46.
14. Ibid., 175.
15. Ibid.
16. For the text of Hu Jintao’s speech to the Australian parliament, see Australian Parliament House of Representatives, “Address by the President of the People’s Republic of China,” October 23, 2003, 166–71, Quote is from 166.
17. Dreyer, Zheng He.
18. On the trade between the northern Australian indigenous peoples and the Macassans, see “Macassan Traders,” Australia: The Land Where Time Began, September 30, 2011,; Rupert Gerritsen, “When Did the Macassans Start Coming to Northern Australia?,”; and Marshall Clark and Sally K. May (eds.), Macassan History and Heritage: Journeys, Encounters and Influences (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2013), introduction,
19. Kate Humphris, “Macassan History in Arnhem Land,” 105.7 ABC Darwin, July 29, 2009,
20. Erik Franckx and Marco Benatar, “Dots and Lines in the South China Sea: Insights from the Law of Map Evidence,” Asian Journal of International Law 2 (2012): 90–91.
21. Zhiguo Gao and Bing Bing Jia, “The Nine-Dash Line in the South China Sea: History, Status, and Implications,” American Journal Of International Law 107 (2013): 102–03.
22. “Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China,” Section I.1. The Chinese text of Voyage with a Tail Wind can be found at
23. “Diaoyu Dao,” Section I.1.
24. Dreyer, Zheng He, 175.
25. See the 1603 account by Chen Di
陳第, “An Account of Eastern Barbarians” (Dongfan ji東番記), translated in Lawrence G. Thompson, “The Earliest Chinese Eyewitness Accounts of the Formosan Aborigines,” Monumenta Serica, no. 23 (1963): 172–78.
26. Tonio Andrade, How Taiwan Became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish, and Han Colonialization in the Seventeenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 83. See also sources cited in J. Bruce Jacobs, “Review Essay: The History of Taiwan,” China Journal, no. 65 (January 2011): 196–97.
27. Laurence G. Thompson, “The Earliest Chinese Eyewitness Accounts of the Formosan Aborigines,” Monumenta Serica, no. 23 (1964): 163.
28. “Ziliao: Liuqiu qundao renmin fandui Meiguo zhanling de douzheng
資料: 琉球群島人民反對美國佔領的鬥爭” [Reference: The Struggle of the Ryukyu Archipelago People Against American Occupation], Renmin ribao 人民日報 [People’s Daily], January 8, 1953, 4.
29. Ibid.
30. Shijie dituji
世界地图集 [World Atlas] (Beijing and Shanghai: Ditu chubanshe, 1958).
31. Ko-hua Yap, Yu-wen Chen, and Ching-chi Huang, “The Diaoyutai Islands on Taiwan’s Official Maps: Pre- and Post-1971,” Asian Affairs: An American Review 39, no. 2 (2012): 90–105.
32. “Diaoyu Dao,” Section IV. For the text of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, see For text of the Treaty of San Francisco, see The Treaty of Taipei (1952), the Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China government under Chiang Kai-shek and Japan, which the Ma Ying-jeou government in Taiwan often cites, also does not mention the islands. For the text of the Treaty of Taipei, see
33. “Diaoyu Dao,” Section IV.
34. Taiwan sheng wushiyi nian lai tongji tiyao
臺灣省五十一年來統計提要 [Statistical Abstract of Taiwan Province for the Past Fifty-One Years] (Taipei: Statistical Office of the Taiwan Provincial Administration Agency, 1946; reprint, Taipei: Guting Shuwu, 1969).
35. Ibid., 52.
36. Ibid., 51, 54.
37. “Commentary Gives China’s Reasons for Refusing Arbitration on South China Sea Issue,” Xinhua, April 1, 2014, or
38. “Diaoyu Dao.”


Sau hai ngày chưa thấy mấy ai nhắc đến tài liệu công phu này, Dainamax xin giới thiệu nguyên văn. Độc giả nào có thời giờ phiên dịch và phổ biến rộng rãi hơn thì giúp ích rất nhiều cho người khác.

Thứ Sáu, tháng 6 27, 2014

Tự Đánh Vào Đầu

Nguyễn-Xuân Nghĩa - Việt Báo ngày 140627

Thiên Triều Đỏ và Nỗi Lo Chệch Hướng

 * Tập Cận Bình, một danh họa mới vẽ lại mối họa cũ tại Thiên An Môn 1989... *

Theo thông lệ, mỗi khi Trung Quốc có một lớp lãnh đạo mới, giới quan sát Tây phương lại đem cái tâm của mình mà suy đoán ra cái tình của lãnh tụ vừa lên. Và thường thì đoán sai!

Trường hợp trước đây là gán tư tưởng đổi mới cho Giang Trạch Dân sau Đại hội đảng khóa 14 năm 1992 hay chủ trương hiếu hòa của Hồ Cẩm Đào sau Đại hội 16 năm 2002 và mới nhất là người ta phó thác kỳ vọng cải cách cho Tổng bí thư Tập Cận Bình, vừa lên ngôi sau Đại hội 18 vào cuối năm 2012.

Rồi 18 tháng sau các nhà quan sát bỗng dưng ú ớ - mà không chỉ vì những gì đang xảy ra ngoài Đông hải.... Bài này sẽ nói về chuyện bên trong của Trung Quốc.


Hôm 24 Tháng Tư vừa qua, một nhà báo lão thành tại Trung Quốc, và có tên tuổi ở nước ngoài, là bà Cao Du bỗng dưng bị bắt về tội "tiết lộ tài liệu tuyệt mật". Sinh năm 1944, nhân vật này đã ra vào khám lớn nhiều lần kể từ vụ thảm sát Thiên An Môn vào Tháng Sáu năm 1989, và được báo chí quốc tế, kể cả cơ quan UNESCO của Liên Hiệp Quốc, vinh danh nhiều lần về thành tích bảo vệ tự do bằng ngòi bút.

Lần này, Cao Du bị bắt mấy tuần trước ngày kỷ niệm 25 năm vụ Thiên An Môn vì một tội danh còn nặng hơn. Phải chăng, bà cho thế giới bên ngoài loại tài liệu liên quan đến an ninh, hỏa tiễn phòng không hay mạng lưới tình báo điện tử của Bắc Kinh? 

Làm gì nên nỗi!

Cao Du bị truy tố chỉ vì liên quan đến một chuyện mà quý độc giả đã đọc trên cột báo này từ... năm ngoái, vào Tháng Năm (bài "Thất Bất Giảng - Bảy Điều Không Được Bàn Tại Trung Quốc – và Tám Điều Cấm Tại Việt Nam").

Số là ngày 22 Tháng Tư, Văn phòng Biện công sảnh (hay Bạn công thinh theo cách viết của Bắc Kinh) phân phối một văn kiện được gọi là "Tài liệu số Chín" cho các đảng viên ở dưới học tập. Như văn phòng Trung thư lệnh (Bí thư trưởng của Hoàng đế) thời xưa, Biện công sảnh đảm nhiệm công việc thường vụ của Bộ Chính trị và Ban Chấp hành Trung ương đảng, trong đó có các công văn mà cấp dưới phải biết để thi hành. Chỉ thị số chín này nêu ra bảy điều không được bàn cãi giảng giải trong nước vì thế mới có tên là "thất bất giảng". 

Khi cấp đại học biết được chỉ thị vào đầu Tháng Năm, các giáo sư đã than phiền nên dư luận bên ngoài mới biết.

Vì thế, việc bắt giữ Cao Du vào Tháng Tư vừa qua chỉ là đòn khủng bố trí thức theo kiểu "sát kê hách hầu" giết gà dọa khỉ, chứ không tiết lộ những cấm đoán tư tưởng tại Trung Quốc khiến trí thức của đảng cũng khó chịu. Người viết xin ghi lại bảy điều cấm, với điều kiện là cấm độc giả cười: 1) đề cao tư tưởng dân chủ Tây phương; 2) nói đến "các giá trị phổ thế hoàn vũ", universal values; 3) nhắc tới "xã hội công dân" (civil society); 4) đến "dân quyền"; 5) quyền tự do báo chí kiểu Tây phương; 6) "đả phá lịch sử" - về những sai lầm của đảng; và 7) luận bàn về "xã hội chủ nghĩa với màu sắc Trung Hoa" và chiều hướng cải cách hay không của lãnh đạo.

Đặt vào khung thời gian năm ngoái, sau Đại hội 18 và kỳ họp đầu tiên của Ban Chấp hành Trung ương mới rồi khóa họp của Quốc hội để Tổng bí thư Tập Cận Bình đăng quang Chủ tịch Nhà nước, chỉ thị Thất bất giảng là một cách đóng chốt tư tưởng cho thấy chiều hướng tập trung quyền lực của lãnh tụ mới. Nó khởi sự từ cái đầu.

Khi ấy, truyền thông Tây phương chưa tuyệt vọng. Họ nhấn mạnh đến việc Tập cận Bình nỗ lực thanh lọc hàng ngũ và kỷ luật các đảng viên để giải trừ nạn tham nhũng ở cấp cao nhất.

Đến mùng 10 vừa qua, Ban Kỷ luật Trung ương của Tập Cận Bình lại rọi đèn vào một góc lạ.

Lần này, bị rọi đèn và điều tra là một lò trí tuệ (think tank) của Bắc Kinh. Giới quan sát quốc tế vẫn đánh giá Viện Khoa học Xã hội (CASS - Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) là một trung tâm nghiên cứu hàng đầu của thế giới. Nhưng với cơ quan phụ trách về kỷ luật đảng đang ra tay diệt trừ tham nhũng thì dù Viện này là do một Trung ương Ủy viên đã tốt nghiệp trường đảng là Tiến sĩ Vương Vĩ Quang điều động, nó vẫn đã bị "các thế lực thù nghịch của quốc tế" xâm nhập.

Và cuộc điều tra đang được Ban  Kỷ luật Trung ương tiến hành.

Giới học giả quốc tế còn phân vân chưa hiểu "thế lực thù nghịch" là gì và những ai trong số đại trí thức của Viện Khoa học Xã hội đã nhiễm bệnh "tham nhũng về tư tưởng" thì một tài liệu nội bộ từ thành phố Vận Thành của tỉnh Sơn Tây bỗng làm sáng rỡ mọi chuyện.

Theo tài liệu này thì cơ quan "Trung ương Quốc gia An toàn Ủy viên hội" đang mở cuộc điều tra từ đầu Tháng Năm và có thể kéo dài tới cuối Tháng Bảy về sự xâm nhập an ninh tại tỉnh Sơn Tây và có thể là tại các tỉnh Quảng Đông, Quảng Tây và Sơn Đông.

Cơ quan này có thể gọi là "Hội đồng An ninh Quốc gia" theo kiểu National Security Council của Mỹ, do Tập Cận Bình mới thành lập trong Bộ Chính trị sau Hội nghị Ba của Ban chấp hành khóa 18 vào Tháng 11 năm ngoái. Được ba nhân vật cao cấp nhất đảng cầm đầu – là Tập Cận Bình, Thủ tướng Lý Khắc Cường và Chủ tịch Quốc hội Trần Đức Giang – Hội đồng An ninh với màu sắc Trung Hoa có nhiệm vụ tập trung các bộ máy an ninh nội địa, phản gián và tình báo quốc tế lẫn ngoại giao để diệt trừ "khủng bố, ly khai quốc gia và chủ nghĩa tôn giáo cực đoan".

Khi Hội đồng này điều tra về an ninh tại nhiều tỉnh thì ai cũng có thể nghĩ loại đối tượng bị theo dõi là khủng bố Hồi giáo, Tây Tạng ly khai hay Giáo phái Pháp luân công, v.v... Sự thật lại phàm tục hơn: lãnh đạo an ninh của Bắc Kinh đang ráo riết điều tra vai trò của các tổ chức ngoài chính phủ, các NGO (Non-Goverment Organizations) của ngoại quốc trong các tỉnh nội địa Trung Quốc!

Kết hợp ba chuyện tưởng như rời rạc - là Cao Du và Thất bất giảng, Viện Khoa học Xã hội và thế lực thù nghịch, rồi Hội đồng An ninh cùng các NGOs - người ta thấy ra một sợi chi đỏ: nỗi âu lo về tư tưởng của một đảng độc quyền.


Quyền tiên khởi được đảng Cộng sản Trung Quốc bảo vệ trước nhất là độc quyền tư tưởng.

Mọi lý luận của đảng về nào chủ nghĩa cộng sản, nào chủ nghĩa xã hội với màu sắc linh tinh, hay công và tội của Mao, về cải cách của Đặng hay "Trung Quốc mộng" của Tập Cận Bình, v.v... đều là "chân lý nhà nước". Đó là những sự thật chính thức mà mọi người phải chấp nhận, kể cả và nhất là thành phần trí thức và mô phạm của chế độ. 

Vậy mà Thiên triều đỏ vẫn chưa yên tâm!

Sau khi ra lệnh cấm nghĩ sai, kèm theo cách suy luận đúng như ghi trong Chỉ thị số chín về Thất bất giảng, lãnh đạo Bắc Kinh dùng cơ quan kỷ luật nội bộ mở cuộc điều tra về thế lực thù địch đang tấn công vào một thành trì tư tưởng là Viện Khoa học Xã hội. Nối tiếp là Hội đồng An ninh tiến hành chiến dịch kiểm soát tại các tỉnh để tố cáo vai trò của các hiệp hội phi chính phủ của nước ngoài.
Vì thế, trận đánh ưu tiên của lãnh đạo Trung Quốc không hẳn là Đông Hải hay Tây Tạng, Tân Cương hay Hồi giáo. Trận đánh kỳ lạ ấy là mặt trận tư tưởng và ý thức hệ. Là đánh vào đầu.

Khi đó, giới quan sát lạc quan của Tây phương nghĩ sao về hứa hẹn cải cách kinh tế và chính trị của Tập Cận Bình? Nhiều người lộn đầu mà luận ngược về tương quan nhân quả, họ cho là chỉ vì các nước dân chủ Tây phương gây ra nỗi lo nên mới làm họ Tập phải xiết vòng kim cô.

Các nhà bình luận này bị đánh vào đầu mà không biết.