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Learning Chinese
Book Tells Truth of Diaoyu Islands

The Diaoyu (Tiaoyu) Islands and its adjacent islets have formed an integral part of China since ancient times. It is an irrefutable fact.

Ju Deyuan, a historian at the Palace Museum specialized in Chinese territory history, proves this in his book Arguments Around the Sovereignty of Diaoyu Islands; the Land-stealing History of Japan, which was published in July this year.

For the first time, this book reveals explicitly how Japan manufactured confusion by renaming some islands.

"This book is unique and the best in terms of the abundance and accuracy of the history it uncovered," Long Cunni, a senior scholar from Taiwan Province, said after he finished reading the book.

Containing two volumes with 1.11 million Chinese characters, the book features plentiful maps and diagrams, dating from the third to the 20th century, some of which are published for the first time.

It has taken Ju about 30 years to collect these materials from Japan and the United States.

"Somehow it looks like an atlas, because more than 150 maps and 34 diagrams are quoted in this book as evidence to prove my premise that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China," said Ju.

Besides photographic evidences, Ju also used a great numbers of literal records made by foreign historians and geographers.

"In this book, readers will know how Japan generated confusion by fabricating similar island names, such as Kume Shima, Aka Shima and Kume Ak Shima," Ju said. In 1955, Ju enrolled at the Renmin University of China, where he majored in the study of historical archives. During his four-year study he developed a good command of textual studies.

"Textual studies of ancient documents including official and individual documents are very important for history research," Ju said. Any scholar who lacks training in this discipline cannot be called a complete and competent historian.

After graduation in 1959, he stayed at the university as an assistant, where he initiated a new course - Study of the Ancient Documents of China.

During the following seven years, Ju laid the foundations for the establishment of a System of Ancient Documents of China.

During the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), Ju was transferred to the Archive Department on the Ming and Qing Dynasties at the Palace Museum, where he worked as a library assistant.

"Working as an assistant was a better choice for me as it provided me with a quiet environment for my research and the abundant first-hand historical materials I need," Ju said.

At that time, Ju got to touch lots of precious history materials on Chinese marine territories, including the Diaoyu Islands.

"In the 1970s, disputes between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands arose, and I paid more attention to this issue," Ju said.

"We should not only study our own country's materials, but records from foreign countries," said Ju. "Evidence from both home and abroad is more comprehensive and convincing to prove that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China."

Since the 1970s, Ju has devoted himself to searching and collecting relevant historical evidence.

From 1982 to 1991, he went to Harvard University in the United States and Japan's Kyoto University as a visiting scholar, where he paid visits to all the libraries and collected a great number of copies of valuable historical records including literal manuscripts, maps and diagrams. Since then he has made in-depth textural studies on them.

"Materials from foreign countries, especially maps of Japan, turned out to provide irrefutable evidence of China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands," said Ju.

"According to Japanese maps officially published before 1895, the Diaoyu Islands were never drafted into Japan's map," Ju said. "And changes on lots of Japanese maps tell the real ownership of the Diaoyu Islands."

Ju said that the government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki(Maguan) with Japan in 1895, which was in effect until the end of the World War II, when Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945 and later accepting the Potsdam Declaration.

"According to the Shimonoseki Treaty, Taiwan and all its adjacent islands, including the Diaoyu Islands, were ceded to Japan by the Qing government," Ju said. "Since then, Japan added the Diaoyu Islands to its maps published after 1895."

"In 1945, the Japanese Government accepted the Potsdam Declaration, which stipulated that Japan must return all territories it seized from China. From then on, the Diaoyu Islands were deleted from Japanese maps.

"Such changes actually mean Japan has returned the Diaoyu Islands to China," Ju said. "However, in 1971, the Japanese Government announced that the Diaoyu Islands belong to Japan, which showed that Japan is in conflict with its commitment to the Potsdam Declaration."

Ju said his research would provide strong support for the country to make full use of international sea laws to protect its interests.

(China Daily 10/11/2001)

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