The Institute for Vietnamese Culture & Education in US and its founding President Trần Thắng has collected about 150 international maps spanning over 4 centuries and all of them show China never claimed or administered the East Sea/South China Sea/ Western Philippines Sea.
To date, Mr. Tran Thang has presented or donated to The Da Nang Institute for Socio-economic Development (DISD) a total of 150 maps, including 110 original and 40 copies, which were published in the UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, the US and Hong Kong (China) in the 1626-1980 period.
80 maps identify that the southernmost territory of China is Hainan island;
50 maps show that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa belong to Vietnam’s territory;
10 maritime maps and ten maps featuring Asia and Southeast Asia indicate that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa lie in the territorial sea of Vietnam.
According to an Australian professor and expert of Asia Carlyle A. Thayer, the large collection of historical and international maps of Mr. Tran Thang shows “contradictions in China’s claim to indisputable sovereignty”.
He further discussed in a short paper about South China Sea: Chinese Maps Omits Modern Claims.
The following documents are 3 books entitled “the Postal Atlas of China” published by China in 1908,1919 and 1933.
The European colonial powers mistakenly called it South China Sea not after China, but the Europeans were calling it after Cochinchine, southern of Vietnam. However, the mistake was made due to the lack of dialect or language misunderstanding.
South China Sea has become a dangerous misnomer. International political leaders and public are by nature not civilization scholars and can be easily bought to the China’s propaganda that China had discovered or explored these islands or sea 2,000 years ago. Political leaders gain their powers through the political game of force, either democratically or undemocratically. Therefore, they usually exercise their powers from the self-serving interest stand point rather from the righteousness. When it comes to the international affairs, the same rule does apply.
As China is the second economic and military power, other grand nations prefer to practice appeasement. However, the truth needs to be told and acknowledged that China’s claims of indisputable and historical evidences of sovereignty over the whole East Sea/South China Sea/ Western Philippines Sea are completely incorrect. The world leaders should recognize China’s claims are incorrect and have no merits, matter closed. Let’s China’s leaders to feel free to take to International Tribunal for arbitration.
It is true that at the present time, European nations and the USA have no direct vested interest in the dispute. However, real leaders should be visionary.
Chinese civilization is one of the oldest and greatest in the mankind history, Chinese leaders have been telling lies and distorting historical facts to the world without any embarrassment or shame.
Imperialist China is practicing the 19th century gunboat policy to bully its smaller neighbors. China is currently an illegal occupant of Hoang Sa or Paracels, which was invaded by Chinese force in 1974. The world’s second superpower invaded and occupied a sovereign nation’s territory should have caused consternation and concerns. The occupation of Hoang Sa by China has not been duely covered because Vietnam’s government and CPV, relying on China and CPC to hold onto their absolute control of Vietnam, have not made it an issue.
Are European nations and the USA ready to live in the new China’s World Order? There is nothing wrong that China has more says in the world’s affairs as a superpower. However, can we live under the rule of the untrustworthy Middle Empire? Silence and appeasement approach to a dictatorial regime is only postponing the inevitable war. The current silence of the European nations and the USA is just like the Europeans’ appeasement approach and Munich accord with Hitler during pre-World War II.
History has shown to be repeatitive.
The world’s leaders should take a firm stand to tell to China’s leaders their claims are incorrect and non-factual and they should act as a superpower with responsibilities of the 21st century. Then, a future conflict in East Sea/South China Sea/ Western Philippines Sea would be averted.
On the other hand, Vietnamese leaders and CPV should not act as lackey of CPC and kowtow to China’s aggression in order to hold onto their powers.
CPV should abandon to copy-cat the CPC’s model and should follow the Vietnamese aspirations.
Time for CPV to choose the national interest to unite the people by allowing all the political forces of Vietnamese Nation to participate in the building and defending the country before it is too late to reclaim the occupied Hoang Sa or Paracels.
China has recently made the occupied Vietnam’s islands as a new city Sansha and is going to invest $1.6 billion on these islands. Then Hoang Sa is lost forever unless Vietnam uses force to retake Hoang Sa, which is not a viable option.
Regarding to Truong Sa or Spratly islands, Vietnam should not be afraid of war with China. Vietnam wishes and hopes for peace as Vietnamese rarely know peace.
China’s military might can crush Vietnamese forces easily, but in an all-out and intractable war, China will lose like they have always lost for the past 9 centuries. A long war with Vietnam is very dangerous for the stability and territorial integrity of the current China, which will disintegrate as it has been numerous times in its history.
Introduction to Institute for Vietnamese Studies & Culture and President Tran Thang
“As Vietnamese people, we have the obligation to preserve our country as well as to take part in shaping the future of Vietnamese society”.
I would like to share with you my collection of 150 maps that were published in England, America, France, Germany, Scotland, etc… for 400 years during 1626 – 2008.
The dimensions of the maps vary from 8” x 10” (20cm x 25cm) to 24” x 30” (60cm x 75cm).
In the collection, 80 maps indicate that south of China is Hainan Island and 50 maps show that the Paracel Islands belong to Vietnam.
While I was collecting these maps, I found two atlases of the Republic of China published by the Republic of China’s Ministry of Transportation in 1919 & 1933 and one Atlas of The Chinese Empire published by the China Inland Mission in 1908.
The atlas edition in 1909 contains 23 maps; the atlas edition in 1919 contains 49 maps; the atlas edition in 1933 contains 29 maps. The dimensions of the books and maps are 62cm x 38cm x 4cm and 56cm x 81cm, respectively.
All three books do not list the Paracel and Spratly Islands on the map and index page.
Recently, China established a local government and military base on Woody Island, part of the Spratly Islands.
Vietnam claims its sovereignty over the Woody Islands.
I am going to donate my entire map collection to the Da Nang Institute for Socio-Economic Development for their research on the Paracel and Spratly Islands. I would like to thank the following people for their generous contributions to this map collection project:
Nguyen Quang Binh, Vu Minh Tuan, Bui Tuong Anh, Luong Van Thang, Pham Huyen Co, Trinh Bich Thao (Hanoi), Le Duc Van Trinh, Ngoc Cat, Nguyen Nam An, Duong Thanh Son (HCMC), Ngo Triet, Tran Mai & Hoang Thai Viet, Truc & Lien, Ngoc & Thanh (California), Pham Thao (Kansas), Nguyen Ba Chung (Boston), Ngo Viet (Washington DC), Nguyen Giang (NYC).