Belligerent Map Campaigns

Old and new maps take center stage in China's effort to lay claims to disputed territories.

China has begun issuing new passports with new map illustrations on them. National weather reports now cover an expanded geographic area.

Ramping up its effort to lay claims over disputed territories in the South China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands, the Chinese government has been organizing national archival exhibits, publishing new maps, pamphlets and illustrations and encouraging academic research to prove the authenticity of its claims, reports William Wan.

In retaliation, the Japanese government, which recently bought the Diaoyu or Senkoku Islands, as they are known in Japanese, from a private owner, has accused China of overlooking a 1950 Chinese map conferring ownership of the islands to Japan.

China maintains that its rightful ownership of the islands dates back to the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century.

Researchers at foreign universities believe the history of ownership is more complicated than what the maps show, while some Chinese academics think the international community will be more accepting of China's territorial claims if they can use opponent-produced evidence to make their point.

Full Story: China wages a quiet war of maps with its neighbors

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