Man honored for donating maps affirming Vietnam's sea sovereignty

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Tran Thang (R-2) carries a map taken from his collection of over 130 that affirm Vietnam's sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos in the East Sea.

The central city of Da Nang honored an overseas Vietnamese on June 19 for his contribution to Vietnam's collection of documents that affirm its sovereignty over disputed islands in the East Sea.

Tran Thang, 43, donated all 137 of his maps and three atlases to the Da Nang Institute for Social and Economic Research and Development.

The maps show that the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos belong to Vietnam, not China. Hoang Sa, located off the coast of Da Nang, has been occupied by China since 1974.

Thang also possesses ten files of pictures of maps, some of which were actually printed by the Chinese government.

Thang, who moved to the US with his family in the late 1990s, began collecting the maps in mid-2012 after noticing that many Vietnamese newspapers were publishing evidence of the country's sovereignty over the East Sea islands.

The maps Thang donated were published between 1626 and 1980 in places as disparate as England, Germany, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.

The collection is estimated to be worth US$13,000.

"When I started collecting maps, I didn't think I would find so many," Thang told local news media.

Thang's collection is currently being showcased at the Da Nang Museum.


Dang Cong Ngu, chairman of the People Committee of Hoang Sa District, who has praised Thang's patriotism, said the exhibit has received a warm reception from local and international visitors alike.

The Ministry of Information and Communications plans to eventually display the collection in ten provinces and cities, he said.

Thang had earlier been honored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contributions to preserving and developing Vietnamese culture. 

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