Photo credit: Alan Chan
Seeing Red in China points out why the Chinese government should be wary in the language it uses to frame the debate over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. He sums up Chinese claims to the Islands like so:
Military aggression should not be rewarded with new territorial claims.
Treaties signed under duress should not be acknowledged.
Historical claims should be the major determining factor in ownership, giving special priority to “first come, first serve”.
Claims made by other gov’ts on land that is already being administered by another power are “illegal”.
Compare and contrast what Beijing is pushing as a legal basis for sovereignty with the situation in Tibet:
[The] Chinese military forced Tibetans to sign an unequal treaty, giving the Chinese rule over a land that prior to China’s claim had been settled first by an independent people. Even by the Chinese account, Tibet had an independent gov’t as recently as 1959, where as the last time China administered the Diaoyu islands was 1895.