China’s 5 Constitutions refute Beijing sea claim

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

This resumes Wednesday’s piece, “China’s Own Ancient Maps Disprove Beijing Sea Claim.” The article detailed 15 maps of China, 1136-1933, by Chinese officials and citizens. Their common feature: Hainan Island (ancient names Zhuya, Qiongya, Qiongzhou) always has been China’s southernmost territory. Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio dug up the maps. They belie Beijing’s “historical facts” in claiming islets, reefs, shoals, and waters of the South China (West Philippine) Sea.

Three more ancient maps of China, this time by foreigners, prove too that Hainan always has been China’s southernmost territory:

(1) “Carte Exacte de Toutes les Provinces, Villes, Bourgs, Villages et Rivieres du Vaste et Puissant Empire de la Chine” or “Accurate Map of All the Provinces, Cities, Towns, Villages and Rivers of the Vast and Powerful Chinese Empire.” Published in Lieden, Netherlands, around 1700, the map was made by Johannes Nieuhof, who died 1672.

(2) “Carte la plus Generale et qui Comprehend la Chine, la Tartarie Chinoise, et le Thibet” or “General Map that Includes China, Chinese Tartary and Tibet.” The map states Jean Baptiste Bourguignon D’Anville as maker in Paris, 1734. A Royal Cartographer of France, he had access to works of mapmakers in China through his pal, French Jesuit and China specialist Du Halde. As annotated, the map came from Jesuit surveys in 1708-1716 on instructions of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi.

(3) “Carte de L’Empire Chinois et du Japon” or “Map of the Chinese Empire Together with Japan.” Published 1833 in Paris by Conrad Malte-Brun, this map, like the preceding two, shows Hainan Island as the southernmost territory of China.

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Reproductions of the three maps, and the 15 featured last Wed., are now on public display. “Historical Truths and Lies: Scarborough Shoal in Ancient Maps,” runs till Nov. 14, 2014. Venue: University of the Philippines, Asian Center, GT-Toyota Hall, Diliman, Quezon City.

The exhibit is a rare treat for Filipinos and other freemen, and for Chinese subjects. Aside from Hainan as China’s southern end, it shows that the dynasties never included the Spratlys or Scarborough Shoal. Not till Beijing’s Communist despots fall will the maps ever be shown together in their true context. They also can be viewed at the Institute of Maritime & Ocean Affairs website: www.imoa.ph.

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Justice Carpio also compiled China’s official declarations about its territory. Such “historical facts” too refute Beijing Communists’ new claim over the sea between China and the Philippines.

With the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, Sun Yat Sen established the Republic of China. Five Constitutions of the Republic’s stated:

(1) Article 3, Chapter 1, Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China, Mar. 1912: “The territory of the Republic of China is composed of 22 provinces, Inner and Outer Mongolia, Tibet and Qinghai.” As seen in the maps of the Qing Dynasty, one of the 22 provinces is Guangdong, which includes Hainan as southernmost limit.

(2) Article 3, Chapter 1, Constitution of the Republic of China, May 1914: “The territory of the Republic of China continues to be the territory of the former empire.” In editorial comment, the “Regulations of the Republic of China Concerning Rule over Tibet” refers to “former empire” as “the Qing Dynasty.”

(3) Article 3, Chapter 2, Constitution of the Republic of China, Oct. 1924: “The territory of the Republic of China continues to be the traditional territory.”

(4) Constitution of the Republic of China, Jan. 1937: “The territory of Republic of China continues to be the territory it owned in the past.”

(5) Article 4, Chapter 1, Constitution of the Republic of China, Dec. 1946: “The territory of the Republic of China shall be that encompassed by its traditional boundaries.”

The constitutional provisos are from an official publication of the People’s Republic of China: “Regulations of the Republic of China Concerning Rule Over Tibet (China No. 2 History Archives, China International Press, Jan. 1, 1999).”

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Justice Carpio explains the implications under international law: “The effect of these unilateral declarations in several Constitutions of the Republic of China is to bind it to the declarations, against the international community.”

He cites the Nuclear Test Case of Australia-New Zealand against France (1974 I.C.J. 253). In it the International Court of Justice ruled: “Declarations made by way of unilateral acts, concerning legal or factual situations, may have the effect of creating legal obligations. Declarations of this kind may be, and often are, very specific. When it is the intention of the State making the declaration that it should become bound according to its terms, that intention confers on the declaration the character of a legal undertaking, the State being thenceforth legally required to follow a course of conduct consistent with the declaration. An undertaking of this kind, if given publicly, and with intent to be bound, even though not made within the context of international negotiations, is binding.”

There are Tagalog and English sayings for it: “Masabi masabi (Stand by your word).”

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China reiterated its boundaries in a major diplomatic assertion. Unearthed by Justice Carpio, this too denotes Hainan as China’s southern limit. The Note Verbale to France, Sept. 29, 1932, protesting the French occupation of the Paracels, states:

“On the instructions of its Government, the Legation of the Chinese Republic in France has the honor to transmit its Government’s reply to the Foreign Ministry’s Note of 4 Jan. 1932 on the subject of the Paracel Islands.

“The Si-Chao-Chuin-Tao Islands, also known as Tsi-Cheou-Yang and called the Paracel Islands in the foreign tongue, lie in the territorial sea of Kwangtung Province (South China Sea); the northeast are the Ton-Chao Islands; the Si-Chao-Chuin-Tao Islands form one group among all the islands in the South China Sea which are an integral part of the territorial sea of Kwangtung Province.

“According to the reports on the Si-Chao-Chuin-Tao (Paracel) Islands drawn up in the Year XVII of the Chinese Republic (1926) by Mr. Shen-Pang-Fei, President of the Commission of Inquiry into the islands, and to the files of these islands compiled by the Department of Industry of Kwangtung Province, the islands lie between longitude 100º13’ and 112º47’ east. More than 20 in number, large and small, most of them are barren sandbanks, 10 or so are rocks, and 8 are true islands. The eastern group is called the Amphitrites and the western group the Crescent. These groups lie 145 nautical miles from Hainan Island, and form the southernmost part of Chinese territory.”

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The coordinates are vital. For, Beijing Communists now include James Shoal in Malaysia and Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines.

Justice Carpio notes that 1932 was the first time China claimed the Paracels as part of Hainan. Still, the Note Verbale “categorically affirmed the official maps of the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties that Hainan Island is the southernmost territory.”

James Shoal, 800 NM from the Paracels and 950 NM from Hainan, was never in Chinese history its southernmost end. So was Scarborough, 380 NM from the Paracels and 500 NM from Hainan.

Justice Carpio concludes: “Hainan or the Paracels are its southernmost border, China officially declared on Sept. 29, 1932. So Scarborough is not and could never have been part of Chinese territory.”

(See also Gotcha, 10, 12, 15, and 17 Sept. 2014)

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

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