Diaoyu Fortress

Diaoyu Fortress

The Diaoyucheng or Diaoyu Fortress, is located on the Diaoyu Mountain in Chongqing, China. The castle is known for its resistance to the Mongol armies in the latter half of the Song dynasty.

The death of Mongol leader Möngke Khan during the siege of Diaoyucheng resulted in the immediate withdrawal of Mongol troops from Syria and East Asia. Although the Mongols and the Southern Song were united in their fight to bring down the Jurchen Jin dynasty, their pact broke immediately afterwards, and the Mongols launched an aggressive war against the tenacious Southern Song that lasted for more than a third of the 13th century.

The ancient Diaoyu covers an area of 2.94 square kilometres. Situated on a hill surrounded by water on three sides, it is located about five kilometers east of Hechuan, Chongqing, near the confluence of the Qu, Fu and Jialing rivers.

As it contains many historical sites—a naval wharf, drilling grounds, watch towers, and a fortification with built-in cannons—Diaoyu was placed on the World Cultural Heritage Tentative List.


While Mongols were engaged in subduing the Jin Chinese they had maintained an alliance with the Song Dynasty in southern China, but a territory dispute between the two over the spoils of the defeated Jin precipitated a war between the former allies in 1235. Unlike previous Mongol campaigns, the Song Chinese would prove resilient and hold out against the Mongols for over forty years. For sixteen years the Mongols struggled just to get a handhold in the Song territories near Chengdu. When Mongke Khan came to power in 1251 he would reenergize the Mongol efforts to master the Song dynasty.

While Mongke Khan had charged his brother Hulegu with incorporating the Middle East into the empire, for Mongke that was more of a side show. China was far more important to Mongke, so much so that he would personally lead the campaign there along with his brother Kublai. Together the brothers would take Tibet and the Kingdom of Dali, but the Mongols would suffer a disaster in 1259 when Mongke succumbed to an illness during a failed attack on the Diaoyu Fortress in Sichuan.

Kublai would take up the position of Khan after Mongke&rsquos death, committed to pursuing the campaign against the Song to its conclusion. He found an unlikely ally in the general leading the Diaoyu Fortress that had just defeated Mongke. Unhappy with the Song dynasty&rsquos chilly reaction to his defense against the Mongols, this general defected to Kublai and guided them to the Song weak point at Xiangyang. Kublai heeded this advice and, with the help of some Arab siege engineers imported from Hulegu&rsquos conquests, captured the city.

The siege of Xiangyang had been a long ordeal for the Mongols, the city had managed to hold out for years. But it was even more exhausting for the Song Chinese. One attempt to relieve the city after another had been massacred by the Mongols. After Xiangyang fell the Song would commit to one final decisive battle at Yuhue, but their forces had been so seriously depleted at Xiangyang that they no longer had the ability to put together real resistance. In 1276 the Song dynasty capitulated to the Mongols, and Kublai Khan took on the title of Emperor of China.


The State Council, constitutionally synonymous with the Central People's Government since 1954 (particularly in relation to local governments), is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China.

Syria (سوريا), officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic (الجمهورية العربية السورية), is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.


In Sichuan [ edit | edit source ]

After 1234, the Mongols launched an all-out war against the Song dynasty. They attacked from both the east and west flanks, crippling the Chinese defenses. Despite these initial military successes, the Song army managed to retaliate. No significant advancement was made.

Under the command of Meng Gong, Yu Jie and other generals, the Song army fended off the advancing Mongols. In Sichuan, Meng Gong led the Song army as it held its position against the Mongols in 1239 and 1240.


By the end of the Song dynasty, Chinese society was the most advanced in the world. The population had exploded, doubling in size during the 10th and 11th centuries. Gunpowder had been discovered, fireworks popularized, and true north located. Movable type printing had allowed for a great proliferation of literature and contributed to an increased literacy rate. The government had built a navy, traded heavily with foreign powers, and established a civil service exam that allowed commoners to rise to leadership positions.

So how was it that the Mongols defeated the Song?

The answer, of course, starts at the beginning.

When Emperor Taizu reunified the country after the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, establishing the Song dynasty, it looked like nothing could stop the Chinese. A strong leader, Taizu ruled soundly and lived by Confucian principles. He set up the civil service exam, known as keju, that lasted until the end of the imperial era, and was a major proponent of science and technology.

When he died in 976, however, his successors found it difficult to keep the peace with foreign threats. The Western Xia blocked Song access to the Silk Road. The Viets conquered the Song in the south. The Liao Empire to the northeast, while ultimately defeated by the Song, took the Song’s attention away from bigger threats. And the Jurchens to the north, with whom the Song allied against the Liao, was the straw that broke the Song in two.

The Jurchens started out as a tribe of the Liao but broke off from them to form the Jin dynasty in 1115. Along the way, they allied themselves with the Song, but when they noticed the Song’s military weakness, they broke the alliance and attacked. The subsequent two years of war pushed the Song south and separated the dynasty into two distinct periods: the Northern Song (pre-Jurchen) and the Southern Song (post-Jurchen).

The Southern Song, while smaller, flourished again, and it seemed the dynasty would last forever. Southern Song leaders even had friends in the Mongols, who were quickly becoming a global force unlike any the world had seen. It was during this time that many of the Song’s greatest inventions came about. And it was this switch to the south that forced the Chinese diet to acclimate itself to rice, a staple crop of the area.

However, the Song made a fatal mistake when it decided to retake the former capitals of Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Chang’an after the Mongols toppled the Jin dynasty. The Mongol Khaganate didn’t take kindly to this affront, and Mongol leader Möngke Khan began a campaign against the Song that ended with the infamous Kublai Khan declaring the beginning of China’s first foreign dynasty: the Yuan.


Diaoyu Fortress

In the city of West China - Chongqing stood a "miracle town", which once rewrote the whole history of the world, named Diaoyu Fortress.

Like many historical sites in China, the interesting name of “Diaoyu Fortress” was derived from an ancient legend: a long time ago, a number of flood victims ran towards the mountain to escape from the flood. Just when they were starving, a Titan came down from the heaven, sat on a boulder and went fishing to feed the victims. Hence, people named the mountain Fishing Mountain to commemorate the Titan. And the town built along the mountain was named Diaoyu Fortress .

Diaoyu Fortressis located on the top of the Fishing Mountain, in the east peninsula of Hechuan District, Chongqing. Three rivers (Jialing River, Fu River and Qv River) converge in Hechuan, forming a natural military advantage for Diaoyu Fortress- easy to defend, but hard to attack. Standing in the Diaoyu Fortress, viewing the three rivers converging into one, the feeling as you are surrounded by rivers from three sides, and the steep cliff on one side, you will clearly understand the reason why the place under your feet was of vital military importance.

Wall of Diaoyu Fortress

History is the best evidence. The Diaoyu Fortress Battle, which is world famous because of the smaller, weaker army overtaking the larger and stronger army, took place here.

In 1235, the war between the Song Dynasty and Mongolia broke out in full scale. It was the longest, largest labor-consuming, and the toughest war for Mongolia, a force that rose from the 13 th century. The Diaoyu FortressBattle was one of the most influential battles during this war.

In 1257, Mongke Khan, who had been the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire for seven years, advanced his army, which had conquered Europe, Asia, and Africa on the west side, to launch a large-scale war against the Song Dynasty. Mongke Khan led the principal force of his army to attack Sichuan .

In February 1259, Mongke and his army came in front of the border of the Fishing Town. Achieving triumph in all his former battles, Mongke would never image that he had no chance to conquer the Fishing Town, a 2.5 square kilometers small city. In July of the same year, Mongke was attacked by a bombard and died soon after.

Mongke Khan’s failure had huge influences. American historian Leften Stavros Stavrianos pointed out in the "Global History" that: “after (Hulagu) conquering Allerton and Damascus in the same way, it seems that no force can stop the Mongols to attack Egypt and North Africa, so as to complete the conquest throughout the Muslim world . Mongke Khan’s death brought disruption of the united Mongolian ruling circles. The failure of this army (Mongke’s army) saved the Islamic world, marking the beginning of the decline of the Mongol Empire.”

Mongke’s death first claimed the complete collapse of Mongol Empire’s plan of destroying Song Dynasty, prolonging the life of Song Dynasty to 20 years longer. Secondly, Mongolian army's third-time west expedition was suspended because of this, alleviating the threat to Europe, Asia, Africa and other regions. Thirdly, Mongke’s death provided an opportunity for Kublai, the younger brother of Mongke to ascend to the throne, who played not just a very important role in the history of China, but in the history of the world.

The army and the people in Diaoyu Fortressstill persisted to fight for many years after Mongke’s death. Until 1279 (at this time the Yuan Dynasty had been established for 8 years by Kublai Khan), the Diaoyu Fortresssurrendered to the Yuan Dynasty on condition that no people in the Diaoyu Fortresswould be hurt. In the Mongolian invading process, all the resistant cities got massacred except the Fishing Town , protecting its people after 36 years of incessant warfare.

During the 36 years from 1243 to 1279, the army and people of Diaoyu Fortressfought over 200 combats against the Mongolian army and the Yuan Dynasty army.

The Diaoyu Fortress Battle was a defending miracle (36 years of defending) in the ancient and modern world war history. It claimed Mongke’s death and forced the Mongol Empire to withdraw from the Eurasian battlefield. Hence, the whole world highly praised this town for its contributions, such as prolonging the life of the Song Dynasty, alleviating the wars in Europe and Asian, and preventing the Mongolian expansion into Africa. The Europeans called the Mongolian army the "Scourge of God", and they named Diaoyu Fortressto be “God’s Folding Scourge Place” or the “Oriental Mecca.”

As a typical representative of the mountain city fortress defense system, the Diaoyu Fortressfully demonstrated its defensive role in the cold weapon era. Nowadays, there is a sandbox model of the ancient Diaoyu Fortressbattlefield exhibiting in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, highlighting its important position in the history of Chinese ancient wars.

Today, Diaoyu Fortresshas become a world-famous tourist attraction. As one of the best preserved Chinese ancient battlefield sites, tourists can feel its “magnificent, rare, dangerous, beautiful, warfare, ancient and tranquil” features. It is the only scenic spot in Chongqing being honored with both the National Park of China and the National Key Cultural Unit.

Today, Diaoyu Fortress has become a world-famous tourist attraction. As one of the best preserved Chinese ancient battlefield sites, tourists can feel its “magnificent, rare, dangerous, beautiful, warfare, ancient and tranquil” features. It is the only scenic spot in Chongqing being honored with both the National Park of China and the National Key Cultural Unit.

The surrounding mountains have beautiful natural scenery, such as lush vegetation, ancient stone roads, three standing hills, crisscrossed paths, scattered ponds and dotted villages, making people relaxed and happy.

In the 2.5 square kilometer main scenic spot, tourists can see the military and living facilities relics of the Song and Yuan Dynasty, such as the city wall, gates, forts, navy pier, arms workshops, marshal mansion, barracks, Tianchi Pond and Naodingping Stage, as well as the religion sites including the Huguo Temple, the Zhongyi Hall, the Impending Reclining Buddha in Tang Dynasty, the Buddha Caves and the Three Sacred Rocks. The natural wonders including the 800-year-old laurel, the Thin Knife Ridge, the Three Turtles Stone and the Misty Rain of the Diaoyu Fortresscan also be seen.

Over the years, the local government consistently carried on the "double protection" policy regarding the natural ecology and cultural relics of the Fishing Town, maintaining its “authentic” style through many vicissitudes. Today, the Diaoyu Fortresshas been ranked the World Cultural Heritage Tentative List, and the local government is supporting its application for the World Cultural Heritage.

The thump of hooves was buried in history, but the sound of waves never stops. More and more people come from all over the world, climbing Fishing Town, overlooking the three rivers, and quietly listening to the miracle story of this town.


Diaoyu Fortress (Fishing City)


Diaoyu Fortress (Fishing City), Chongqing Attractions

Introdution
The Diaoyu Fortress is located on the Diaoyu Mountain in Heyang Town, is known for its resistance to the Mongol armies in the latter half of the Song dynasty. It's in Hechuan District, also named Dianjiang in ancient times, used to be the capital of kingdom Ba during the Period of the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States. Loftily situated in the Fishing hill to the south side of Jialing River and surrounded by Jialing River, Fujiang River and Qujiang River, Diaoyucheng City was constructed on steep cliffs. The wall of the city was piled up by huge stones, serving as firm barricade against enemies’ attack.

What to See in Diaoyu Forteness
Diaoyu Fortress has become a world-famous tourist attraction at present years. As one of the best preserved Chinese ancient battlefield sites, tourists can feel its “magnificent, rare, dangerous, beautiful, warfare, ancient and tranquil” features. It is the only scenic spot in Chongqing being honored with both the National Park of China and the National Key Cultural Unit.

The surrounding mountains have beautiful natural scenery, such as lush vegetation, ancient stone roads, three standing hills, crisscrossed paths, scattered ponds and dotted villages, making people relaxed and happy.

In the 2.5 square kilometer main scenic spot, tourists can see the military and living facilities relics of the Song and Yuan Dynasty, such as the city wall, gates, forts, navy pier, arms workshops, marshal mansion, barracks, Tianchi Pond and Naodingping Stage, as well as the religion sites including the Huguo Temple, the Zhongyi Hall, the Impending Reclining Buddha in Tang Dynasty, the Buddha Caves and the Three Sacred Rocks. The natural wonders including the 800-year-old laurel, the Thin Knife Ridge, the Three Turtles Stone and the Misty Rain of the Diaoyu Fortresscan also be seen.

Huguo Gate
Huguo Gate is the most magnificent gate in the eight town gates in Diaoyu Fortress. The leaning cliffs on the left and the deep Jianling River on the right make Huguo Gate an important strategic position. If one man guards here, even ten thousand soldiers can not get through. There are several characters on the gate, reading “Huguo Gate” and “the most crucial place in Sichuan.”

Ancient barracks
Ancient barracks are the place where the defense soldiers lived. Roads extending to all directions lead to the barracks, so that the troop can take a quick action and attack in any kinds of military emergency. The ancient barracks were burned during the war, but some barracks were rebuilt on the historic site many years later.

Shizhao County Government
Hezhou Shizhao County Government is an ancient local government, called the “last county government of the Southern Song Dynasty”. Its duties mainly include building the city facility, cultivating, storing grain, handling civil affairs.

Impending Reclining Buddha
The Impending Reclining Buddha was carved out of an impending rock in the late Tang Dynasty. The 11-meter-long and 2.2-meter-wide reclining Buddha was carved with a pleased and natural face expression. It is the unique impending sculpture in China.

Huguo Temple
Huguo Temple was built during the Shaoxing years of the Southern Song Dynasty, destroyed by warfare in the Yuan Dynasty, reconstructed in the Ming Dynasty, and repaired by Monk Zhihui, the abbot of the temple in the Qing Dynasty. There is a stone-carved couplet on the gate of the temple, reading: Diaoyu Fortress, exploring the mountains with the help of the three rivers Huguo Temple, controlling the rivers with the aid of the flying clouds.

Zhongyi Hall
Zhongyu Hall, built in the period of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, is the crucial ancient construction group in Diaoyu Fortress. The hall covers an area of over 4,000 square meters, and the construction area is over 2,000 square meters. The immortality memorial tablets of the military generals of the defensive army are displayed in the hall.

Over the years, the local government consistently carried on the "double protection" policy regarding the natural ecology and cultural relics of the Fishing Town, maintaining its “authentic” style through many vicissitudes. Today, the Diaoyu Fortresshas been ranked the World Cultural Heritage Tentative List, and the local government is supporting its application for the World Cultural Heritage.

Travel Guide
Location: 5km away from the Hechuan district, Chongqing
Admission Fee: CNY 60
Opening Hours: 8:00AM -17:00PM
Tel: +86-23-42822763
Recommended Time for Visiting: 2-4 hours
How to get there from Hechuan district: Take city bus No. 111.
How to get there from Chongqing: take train from Chongqing to Hechuan, and take a taxi to reach there


Hechuan Fishing Town

This is an amazing fortress that fought plenty of wars against invading Mongol army and has a special place in Chinese history. This is a wonderful short hike of about 300 meters. Wonderful lookout points from the top.

Hechuan can be reached within 30 minutes from Chongqing north station, cost about 20rmb. Taxi from train station to this fortress costed me about 15 rmb. There is hardly any public transport here. I spend about 3 hours walking around leisurely and enjoying reading about the wars fought by the Chinese local army against invading mongols.

This place requires a time budget of about half a day from Chongqing (30 minutes of train one way = 1 hour of train travel. about 1 hour of access time and about 3 hours of visit time) There is no English here and I did not encounter any foreigner here. It is better to have a translation app to communicate.

An old fortress town from 700 years ago atop a hill, with river on three sides. The site of an important 23 year long siege which ended with the death of the Mongol Khan.

Whether you want to walk the historical trails - with the gates and walls (rebuilt, as this is China, but the inner wall has been left unrestored and you can walk alongside that too in place. Getting to see actual old things rather than a modern facsimile is great) nestled in the green trees. Lovely views, and a very peaceful yet sombre feel.

Not full or touristy either, though don't expect to be fully alone you can go tens of minutes without seeing another person.

There are some nice Buddhist shrines at the site too, though from a much later time and some Sino-Japanese war artefacts too, since it was used as a training site for Chinese soldiers at that time.

Not sure how long it'll be staying peaceful for as it looked like they were starting to build one of those identikit new "old towns" that China loves so much to hawk tat but as the existing one is dead and empty, as is HeChaun's, I doubt it'll change the atmosphere too much.


Senkaku/Diaoyu: Islands of Conflict

The historical roots of the dispute between China and Japan over control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands reveal a great deal about the two countries’ current global standing, says Joyman Lee.

On September 7th, 2010 a Chinese fishing craft collided with two Japanese coastguard patrol boats near the oil-rich, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu, meaning ‘fishing platform’, in China. Following the collision, coastguards boarded the trawler and arrested its crew and captain Zhan Qixiong who, as subsequent video footage revealed, had rammed his boat into the coastguard vessels. Following the incident, anti-Japanese protests were held in Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenyang. Chinese tour groups visiting Japan were recalled, four expatriate employees of Fujita, the Japanese car component manufacturers, were arrested in the northern Chinese province of Hebei and, more critically, a decision was made to suspend the export of rare earths to Japan. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao turned down requests to meet with his Japanese counterpart, Naoto Kan, and on November 1st Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian president, in a provocative move, visited the disputed southern Kuril Islands, which the Soviet Union annexed from Japan in 1945.

These events marked a low point in foreign relations for Japan, already mired in controversy over its plan to relocate the Futenma military base used for decades by US forces in Okinawa. Japan seemed to be under siege from all sides, while a rising China appeared increasingly powerful and assertive, capable of undermining Japan’s vital interests and infringing her territorial sovereignty.

It is important to look at the current dispute between China and Japan in the light of the history of Chinese foreign policy. Chang Chi-hsiung of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica has argued that the pre-modern Chinese world order was based on status and stability (mingfen zhixu). Legitimacy rested not on physical control but on the recognition and enactment of the proper roles and duties appropriate to one’s status. Under the logic of this system, emperors extended their power beyond China’s borders not by force, but by their ‘benevolence’ or ‘virtuous’ rule, which Confucian thinkers believed would lead foreign states to acknowledge the emperor’s moral suzerainty. Thus, outside China proper, it was possible to rule even where there was no mechanism of physical governance in place. Practical benefits accompanied acceptance of China’s nominal status at the head of this universal structure: tributary trade with China was not only extremely profitable but also provided many goods that could not be easily accessed elsewhere. On the other hand, gifts and titles from the Chinese emperor allowed rulers to strengthen their own position vis-à-vis their subjects. Although Japan stayed out of the system during its Tokugawa period (1603-1868) the vast majority of states in east, inner and south-east Asia, including the Ryukyus (modern-day Okinawa), accepted a tributary relationship with China.

This Sinocentric international order was much weakened during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). Defeat by Britain in the Opium Wars (1839-42) and the resultant Treaty of Nanjing (1842), as well as the Treaty of Wangxia with the United States in 1854, allowed western powers to impose European-derived international law on their relations with east Asia. The British institutionalised legally a system of treaty ports and control of Chinese maritime customs, which combined to reduce China to semi-colonial status (see ‘China’s Age of Fragility’ by Robert Bickers, History Today March 2011). Although some revisionist historians argue that the Qing responded swiftly and that by 1862 scholars at the government-run language school Tongwen Guan were reading key texts such as Henry Wheaton’s Elements of International Law (1836) there was considerable confusion as to how the Qing should apply this understanding to relations with China’s neighbours. Meanwhile during its Meiji period (1868-1912) Japan launched an aggressive programme of modernisation and industrialisation, which included adoption of the western lexicon into its diplomatic language. In 1876 Japan forced China’s closest ally Korea into signing the Kanghwa Treaty, copying the methods employed by US Admiral Perry to open up Japan to overseas trade 22 years previously. Conflict over Chinese and Japanese relations with Korea came to a head at a meeting at Tianjin in 1885 in which China rebuffed Japanese demands for the Japan-Korea relationship to be recognised under western international law. Rather than pleading ignorance of western norms as Korean negotiators had done, the Chinese viceroy Li Hongzhang told the Japanese statesman Ito Hirobumi that there was a ‘striking difference’ between Korea’s tributary relations with China and the mere treaty obligations that she had towards Japan.

In her study Japan’s Colonisation of Korea: Discourse and Power (2005) Alexis Dudden argues that Japan was able to undermine China’s central position in Asia during the late 19th century by using the language and force of western international law to replace Chinese legal terms hitherto widely accepted in east Asia, introducing a new Sino-Japanese lexicon translated from English. At Tianjin Ito refused to communicate with Li Hongzhang either in Chinese or Japanese but instead spoke in English, catching the Chinese viceroy by surprise. The conflict between the Chinese and Japanese visions for east Asia would be decided on the battlefield. Despite basic naval parity Japan took advantage of a series of disastrous political and strategic errors by Li to defeat China decisively in 1894-95, establishing control over both the Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands and Korea in addition to seizing Taiwan. At a later meeting in 1905 the Chinese viceroy Yuan Shikai complained that there was a Chinese word in the text that he had not seen before, only to be humoured by the Japanese representative, who replied that the word kogi was translated from ‘protest’ in English. Japan, not China, was to be the new source of the modern vocabulary in kanji (Chinese characters) both legally and in other fields, from botany to economics.

How does this relate to the present dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands? Since 1970 the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Japan have all put forward bold sovereignty claims over the islands, which are equidistant from Taiwan and the southwestern tip of the Ryukyus. According to Chinese sources the first mention of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands is in a 15th-century document now held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Early sources tended to mention only the islands’ location on the voyage to the Ryukyus from China, but by the 17th century Chinese sources clearly named the maritime boundary between the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and the Ryukyus as the Heishuigou (‘Black Water Trench’), an area of high turbulence which we now know marks the edge of the continental shelf. In 1720 Xu Baoguang, the deputy Chinese ambassador sent to confer the royal title upon the Ryukyuan king, collaborated with the local literati to compile the travelogue Zhongshan Chuanxin lu (Record of the Mission to Chusan), which demarcated the westernmost border of the Ryukyuan kingdom at Kume-jima south of the Heishuigou Trench. Deputy ambassador Zhou Huang likewise identified Heishuigou as the boundary in 1756 and later the envoy Li Dingyuan noted the practice of sacrificing a live goat or pig when convoys crossed the trench. In the late 19th century the reformer Wang Tao, who had had experience of travelling in Europe, responded to the Japanese annexation of the Ryukyus by referring to Japanese sources which listed the Ryukyus as a separate country in 1670. He argued that even though the islands were vassals of both China and the Japanese state of Satsuma, the former relationship was more formal the conquest of an inner tributary (Ryukyus) by an outer tributary (Japan) of China was a cause for outrage.

In contrast Japan’s argument largely ignored the historical position put forward in Chinese accounts. Claiming that the uninhabited islands were not occupied by any power, or terra nullius, Japan annexed the islands in 1895 shortly after its victory in the Sino-Japanese War. Japan claimed that the islands were ‘discovered’ in 1884 by Fukuoka merchant Koga Tatsushiro, who then applied to lease the land from the Japanese state. At the time, however, the interior ministry noted that it was still unclear as to whether the islands belonged to Japan, especially as there was detailed knowledge of the islands in Chinese and Ryukyuan writings, making Koga’s claims of ‘discovery’ difficult to substantiate. Nonetheless a Cabinet decision in 1895 ruled that the islands should become part of Japan, which provided the basis for their inclusion in Japan’s territories under the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952 that concluded the Second World War in Asia, but at which neither China nor Taiwan were present.

From the Chinese perspective there is little substance to Japan’s claims that the islands were not ‘occupied’, given that a fine distinction exists between ‘uninhabited’ and ‘unoccupied’. Sources suggest that there are graves of Taiwanese fishermen on the island. Although US occupation authorities in Okinawa administered the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands from 1945 until 1972 and used them as a training base, the US government did not see the transfer to Japan of the right of administration over the islands as equivalent to the transfer of sovereignty, which it insisted was a matter to be resolved by the relevant parties. Realising that such an ambiguity existed, the Okinawa Legislative Assembly, still under US control at the time, passed a resolution in August 1970 which declared the islands to be part of Japan and its claims were backed up by the then foreign minister Aichi Kiichi in the National Diet. In the meantime Taiwan issued an official protest, followed before the end of the year by similar complaints voiced by official Chinese media.

The dispute over the islands is a time bomb, given the enormity of the stakes involved. Despite Japanese claims that Chinese and Taiwanese interests in the islands are guided primarily by the possibility of major oil deposits, there has been little constructive dialogue between the countries involved in the question of the recent disputes over ownership of the islands. This remains at the very centre of broader tension between China and Japan, with the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 a focal point. Japan’s intransigent position on atrocities committed during the Second World War helps to fuel Chinese popular sentiment against it and makes the country an easy scapegoat for domestic discontent. Yet these days it is also easy to forget that China was the underdog for much of the 20th century even today China is less articulate on the global scene than Japan.

The Chinese stance over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands is comparable with the situation in the 1930s when Nationalist China refused to accept or acknowledge Japan’s control over Manchuria (Manchukuo in Japanese) despite widespread concern that militarily China would not be able to withstand Japanese aggression. By refusing to recognise Japanese control over the lost territories China sought to destabilise the foreign presence there even though the Chinese Nationalist government then based in Nanjing was unable to exert physical control. At the same time the government’s defiance of Japan helped to consolidate its claim to be China’s sole and legitimate rulers. China’s insistence on its sovereignty over Manchuria during the 1930s and over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands now is overwhelmingly more important in driving its foreign policy than the stress on physical control that is common to the West. The tussle between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan is another such example. Despite Taiwan’s physical separation from the mainland, it would be unthinkable for any Beijing government to consider it culturally or politically separate. Any attempt by Taiwan to declare formal independence is likely to end in armed conflict.

The situation viewed from Tokyo today sees a more assertive China flexing its muscles and imposing an arbitrary or at least un-western and unfamiliar logic on the world, infringing Japan’s control over territories that so far as it is concerned were acquired legally in the 19th century under the prevailing norms of the time.

However the dispute between China and Japan cannot be understood without grasping the complexities of nation state formation in Asia in the late 19th century. Despite the economic rise of East Asia since the Second World War border disputes remain an enduring legacy of the late 19th century when sharp differences of power existed between countries that understood the ways of the West, such as Russia and Japan, and those, such as China, which were less swift to respond. The fact that Japan had temporarily triumphed over the islands did not necessarily mean that an alternative worldview based on a different vision of legitimacy was completely wiped out. Tensions have subsided, probably briefly, in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan’s north-east coast in March. Yet Japan has ongoing border disputes not only with China but also with Russia and Korea. While these were marginal issues during the peak of its postwar economic expansion, since the 1990s gradual shifts in the balance of power in the region have highlighted Japan’s vulnerabilities in acute ways. As the discrepancy between the territorial status quo and the political and economic balance of power becomes more glaring in East Asia, the potential for conflict will only increase.


The End of the Southern Song

Kublai Khan officially declared the creation of the Yuan dynasty in 1271. In 1275, a Song force of 130,000 troops under Chancellor Jia Sidao was defeated by Kublai’s newly appointed commander-in-chief, General Bayan. By 1276, most of the Song territory had been captured by Yuan forces. In the Battle of Yamen on the Pearl River Delta in 1279, the Yuan army, led by General Zhang Hongfan, finally crushed the Song resistance. The last remaining ruler, the 8-year-old emperor Emperor Huaizong of Song, committed suicide, as did Prime Minister Lu Xiufu and 800 members of the royal clan. On Kublai’s orders carried out by his commander Bayan, the rest of the former imperial family of Song were unharmed the deposed Emperor Gong was demoted, given the title “Duke of Ying,” but was eventually exiled to Tibet, where he took up a monastic life. The former emperor would eventually be forced to commit suicide under the orders of Kublai’s great-great grandson Gegeen Khan, who feared that Emperor Gong would stage a coup to restore his reign. Other members of the Song imperial family continued to live in the Yuan dynasty, including Zhao Mengfu and Zhao Yong.


Watch the video: China Angry: China Deploys Powerful Fleets to Japans sea after Provoke Taiwan and the Diaoyu Island