A number of Belgian newspapers today reported a story about the discovery of a number of ancient maps that could offer support for several of China’s territorial claims in South East Asian and other parts of the globe.
The maps in question were discovered in the library of Arenberg Château, a 16th century castle now belonging to the Catholic University of Leuven. The maps themselves date from the late 13th century up to the late 17th century, and include world maps, and maps of several regions of the globe, mainly European and South East Asian. Most of them were made by European and Chinese geographers at various times in history, and were collected by the Croÿ family, owners of the castle during most of the 15th to 17th century.
Importantly, the maps offer a unique view of national borders throughout history. A committe of historians, who have had a chance to review the maps briefly earlier this week, claim that several of the maps might represent important evidence supporting China’s territorial claims in South East Asia. One historian reported how several maps contain “clear indications of national borders during the early 19th century”, which “strongly support China’s claim over several small island groups currently under dispute between China and its neighbors.”
A more shocking discovery was that the maps support China’s sovereignty over a number of smaller territories in Europe, including a few small Mediteranean islands and even a small neighborhood in Brussels itself.
A local government official in Brussels, who wished to remain anonymous, commented that “the validity of the Brussels map and any Chinese claims in this region are neglectable”. According to our source, “China has never claimed the neighborhood in question and is unlikely to do so in the near future.” Neverhteless, there is a slight reason for concern, he added, “in view of China’s recent aggressive foreign policy.”
Early next week a small panel of Chinese historians and politicians are planning an official visit to Arenberg Château for examination of the maps.
Editor’s comment: The above story was published as satire, based on China’s previous claims of such maps. Only a few state employed Chinese scientists insist the maps are authentic.
According to National Geographic’s 2006 story “‘Chinese Columbus’ Map Likely Fake, Experts Say,” the map appeared in Shanghai mysteriously in 2004, shortly after a 2002 book by British author Gavin Menzies was published. This book claimed that Chinese admiral Zheng He had made the first round the world voyage in 1421, decades before Columbus.
China insisted that the map of the world, showing Australia and the Americas, was drawn by Zheng He during his voyage, but refused to allow anyone outside China to authenticate it. Later, when China’s claims were being dismissed, China suddenly found an inscription on the map that they had “previously missed.” and allowed a sliver of bamboo to be examined by New Zealand. The inscription supposedly said the map was a copy made in 1763 of an original map made in 1418.
Though the bamboo the map is drawn on might eventually be proven to date from 1763, there is no evidence that it is a copy of a map from 1418. Aside from that, all known Chinese maps show China as the centre of the world, but this map doesn’t.
But the real problem arises because Zheng He made his voyage in 1421, three years after the original map was supposedly drawn, and he only crossed the Indian Ocean as far as east Africa. When they later realised their mistake, China refused to explain it, but insisted they were 100% correct.
Gavin Menzies wrote other books, claiming to have proof (as yet unseen) that a Chinese ambassador had persuaded Columbus to make his round the world trip, that Leonardo Da Vinci had copied his drawings from a Chinese scientist, that another Chinese ambassador had inspired the European Renaissance, and yet another Chinese emissary had a meeting with Pope Eugene IV that changed the course of Christianity.
These fantastic claims have been dismissed by scientists around the world. Only a few in China, including the CCP, insist they are true.
- Newly discovered ancient maps support Chinese territorial claims (thetruthaboutjapan.wordpress.com)
- China’s stupid contention on South China Sea: most idiotic territorial claim in human history (chinadailymail.com)
- South China Sea dispute: lucky China, unlucky Philippines (chinadailymail.com)
- Who discovered America? (oceanviewpress.wordpress.com)
- What Do Chinese Students Think of American History? (theatlantic.com)
- China And The Biggest Territory Grab Since World War II (thecontroversialfiles.net)
- China Agrees to Asean Talks on Sea Spat Amid Philippine Warning (bloomberg.com)
- The Senkaku/Diaoyu Island Dispute in the East China Sea (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Sliding Towards a New Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: Japan and Southeast Asia against China (chinacollapse.wordpress.com)