China asserts sovereignty over Tibet, South China Sea in new school textbooks

(Photo courtesy: REUTERS)
(Photo courtesy: REUTERS)

(, Sep01, 2017) – China has issued a set of new textbooks for elementary and middle schools starting next month designed to make its children aware of ‘national sovereignty’, depicting as belonging to it since ancient times all the territories which it has either occupied by armed invasion or lays claim to, including Tibet and the South China Sea, under the current communist party rule, reported the Aug 30, citing the state and party mouthpiece the People’s Daily.

It said the new textbooks cover three main subjects including Chinese language and history, along with moral and legal education.

The textbooks show students “facts and materials” that are claimed to prove China’s legitimate sovereignty over Tibet, Taiwan and the islands in the South China Sea. They also include texts on the country’s revolutionary heroes and traditions and the Chinese people’s wish to defend ‘national territories’.

China lays claim to Tibet on the basis of the latter’s seventh century emperor Songtsen Gampo’s marriage to a Chinese Tang Dynasty princess and through its false depiction of the territory’s history during the centuries when it fell under the dominion of Mongol and Manchu rulers.

Also, China claims all territory in the South China Sea and has built artificial islands to strengthen its assertion. In doing so China has brushed aside the claims of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan over different parts of the sea. The Philippines, in fact, won an international arbitration ruling in its favour recently.

However, the issue is far from settled and situation in the South China Sea area remains particularly tense.

In Jan 2017, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should not be allowed to access the islands it had built in the region. The Chinese state media responded by saying the United States would need to ‘wage war’ to stop them from accessing the islands.


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