>> Spratlys, Paracels not on 1904 Chinese map
>> Let’s show 1904 Chinese map to China: expert
>> China’s Sansha city election in East Sea under fire
>> Discoverer of official documents on Hoang Sa honoured
Among these maps is “Hoàng dư toàn lãm đồ,” part of a large mapping project launched by the 58th Kangxi Emperor of China in 1979.
Quan owns the map, along with more than 50 others proving Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands are in Vietnam’s waters.
He says the administrative map of China was first made in the Song Dynasty, from 960 to 1279, when maps were often inscribed on large rocks. Maps painted on silk and paper, or printed, emerged during the Ming and Qing Dynasties from 1644 to 1912, Quan told Tuoi Tre in an interview.
Could you tell us about some maps in which Chinese people claimed that Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos did not belong to China?
During the Qing Dynasty, most maps showing China’s territory were correct. “Hoàng dư toàn lãm đồ” in 1719 is among these accurate maps. The 58th Kang Xi emperor consulted famous western clergymen in this field, including Joachim Bouvet, Petrus Pierre Jartoux, Jean Baptiste Regis, and Ehrenbert Fridelli, before deciding to make this map, using advanced surveying technology.
This one-colored map was inscribed on a bronze block in two languages, Han-Chinese and Manchu (traditional Chinese).
They started the project in 1708 and finished in 1718. From the drawing, one year later, they produced the map on different kinds of blocks, including, bronze (41 pieces), wood (32 pieces), and another wood block with 227 smaller pieces.
“Hoàng dư toàn lãm đồ” is an important map that lays the foundation in terms of longitude and latitude for later maps, including the “Hoàng triều trực tỉnh địa dư toàn đồ” in 1904.
What should we notice about such maps, in terms of legislative history?
If you look at some ancient maps made or possessed by Chinese experts, you can see their explanations about the maps were not clear. In fact, all the maps they had were or were based on international administrative maps. Obviously, they drew or named some islands or archipelagos in the East Sea, but that does not mean they claimed their ownership over them.
In other words, if Vietnamese researchers carefully analyze the maps, they can quote some good information from them for their argument over who really is the legal owner of the two islands groups.
In conclusion, Chinese authorities, scholars, and travelers who compiled or drew these maps at the time did not say that islands and archipelagos in the East Sea as well as [other] Southeast Asian waters were Chinese territory.
Maps are convincing and scientific, famed historian Duong Trung Quoc said Wednesday morning in Hanoi at a ceremony in which the National Museum of Vietnamese History received the “Hoàng triều trực tỉnh địa dư toàn đồ” map.
“Maps are considered historical data, so collecting maps is necessary to research Vietnam’s national sovereignty,” Quoc said.
Historian Duong Trung Quoc
Before his remarks, Quoc spoke with Tuoi Tre about the significance of the documents.
“Hoàng triều trực tỉnh địa dư toàn đồ” reveals historical evidence China did not have a presence on the two disputed islands. Is there any other evidence?
Mapping was developed in many countries a long time ago. In Vietnam, “Đại Nam nhất thống toàn đồ,” a map of Vietnam in 1834, also indicates Hoang Sa and Truong Sa are Vietnam’s territory.
Geographically, Vietnam is a “splice” of two ancient civilizations, China and India, and it has an important role in the international shipping community. Therefore, in addition to maps of China and Vietnam, we have to care about maps made by other countries showing the same content. They may not directly mention “sovereignty” on their maps, but we can see the geographic position of our country’s territorial waters on these maps.
I think China has many maps scattered everywhere or stored in libraries at home and abroad. Vietnam has many maps, too. The important thing is, we need to bring them together.
“Hoàng triều trực tỉnh địa dư toàn đồ” -- a Han-Chinese map published in 1904 by Shanghai Publishing House - shows Truong Sa and Hoang Sa did not belong to China. Photo by Viet Dung.
As a historian, do you think academic evidence like the 1904 Chinese map has legislative value?
Vietnam has had a long presence in the East Sea. Thus, to protect our national sovereignty, we need to have commitments from the international community, like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, and historical data, including maps.
1904 Chinese map attracts viewers
Crowds of people on Wednesday morning flocked to the National Museum of Vietnamese History based in Hanoi to see the Han-Chinese map published in 1904 that claims Truong Sa and Hoang Sa are not Chinese territory.
Dr. Mai Hong, the map’s owner, has handed over it to the museum to serve scientific studies as well as local and international viewers.
The map is currently on display at the museum.
Many people on July 25, 2012 gathered around the display area of the Chinese map printed in 1904 by Shanghai Publishing House.
Dr. Mai Hong talking about the map
Dr. Mai Hong handed over the map to the National Museum of Vietnamese History on July 25, 2012.