5 nov. 2015

Postcrossing incoming! Chinese postcard with their official take on the Senkaku Islands

I recently received this postcard, from Jesse in Taizhou in mainland China. It is of interest to me because the geopolitical dispute involved
Communist China postcard - Diaoyu Island, Chinese name for the Japanese Senkaku Island, claimed by China and Taiwan / 尖閣諸島 (Senkaku Islands) 钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿 (Diaoyu Islands) 釣魚台列嶼 (Diaoyutai Islands)
The card shows the Diaoyu Islands (钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿), the mainland Chinese name for the Japanese Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島), which are reclaimed as own also by both China and Taiwan (that calls them Diaoyutai Islands 釣魚台列嶼).

The island are closest to Taiwan, but have been administred by Japan since 1895. After WWII, they were under US occupation as part of that countrie's hold of Okinawa, until 1972. It was that year, when the islands went back to Japanese control, that China and Taiwan raised their official claims over the Senkaku. This was motivated by the discovery of potential oil reserves under the sea around the islands in 1968.

China claims the islands are their own, as part of Taiwan, that of course they say it's a province of Communist China. And of course this postcard goes in line with the official Chinese propaganda, so the islands are called Diaoyu.

Thing is, as far as I could understand, is that the island were never administred by any country before Japan took over them in 1895, after defeating China in the Sino-Japanese war. The island had been uninhabited until then, and it was just around 1900 that a Japanese businessman built a plant for processing bonito fish, bringing in some 200 workers. That enterprise lasted until around 1940, and the islands have been deserted since.
As Japan itself puts it, on their official Senkaku website: "There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands.

Japan will act firmly and calmly to maintain its territorial integrity.

Japan continues to strive for peace and stability in the region, which is to be established through the observance of international law".

China and Taiwan argue that the islands were controlled by China for centuries before 1895, but they don't have any official documents to prove that. So to me, they are not only Japanese, but no other country has any reason to say they aren't.

The saddest thing is that these little island where nobody leaves could lead to a military conflict. China has even gone so far as to establish an "air defense zone" over the island, as if they were Chinese territory. So far, the US has made public displays of strenght violating those arbitrary Chinese air and sea restrictions, but who knows for how long will anyone be able to put a stop to the military expansionism of the Communist Party Army.

For further information on the Diaoyu-Senkaku dispute, I recommend this video from China Uncensored, a Youtube channel that makes fun videos against the Communist rule in mainland China.

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