The map featuring the U-shaped line attached in the article "China's Demographic History and Future Challenges" by Xizhe Peng published in the Science journal
A group of overseas Vietnamese scholars have strongly protested an article published by an American science journal that features maps falsely portraying most of the East Sea as belonging to China.
The July 29, 2011 issue of Science an international weekly science journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) carried the article "China's Demographic History and Future Challenges" by Xizhe Peng.
The article included a number of depictions of the so-called "U-shaped line" or "nine-dotted line" or "nine-dash line" maps that incorrectly show most of the East Sea (also know as the South China Sea) as belonging to China.
Dr. Duong Danh Huy, an East Sea researcher based in the UK, told Thanh Nien he will, on behalf of overseas Vietnamese scholars, send a letter to the Science, asking the journal to publish a correction note on the matter and stop publishing maps portraying the U-shaped line.
Huy said the territorial claim that these maps represent is rejected by Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
In 2009, China included the U-shaped line map in two note verbales to the United Nations' Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to assert its territorial claim.
The governments of Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines responded with their own note verbales to the CLCS to indicate their rejection of China's claim and of the U-shaped line map.
Vietnam's note verbale said that China's claim over the islands and adjacent waters in the East Sea as manifested in the map has no legal, historical or factual basis, therefore is null and void.
Indonesia's note verbale said that the U-shaped line map clearly lacks international legal basis and is tantamount to contravening the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The Philippines' note verbale said that the claim would have no basis under international law, specifically the UNCLOS.
According to Huy, the Science should not publish the claim of one party in a territorial dispute at the expense of the other parties.
"Science should not be used by scientists as an outlet for publishing their countries' territorial claims.
"Science should avoid being perceived by its readers as approving or favoring one party's claims at the expense of the other parties."
It is not the first time Chinese academics have included the
U-shaped line maps in an article published by an international science journal.
On April 19, 2011, the Italy-based Waste Management journal published an article by four Chinese scientists (Jun Tai, Weiqian Zhang, Yue Che and Di Feng) entitled "Municipal solid waste source-separated collection in China: A comparative analysis."
The article used an illustration which depicts the U-shaped line that China uses to claim its sovereignty over the East Sea.
According to Dr Huy, although the articles have no legal value in solving the East Sea disputes, they may be wrongly perceived by international readers, especially in scientific circles.
He implied this was a deliberate ploy by China to try and legitimize claims that have no legal basis.
"China will benefit if more and more people believe in the U-shaped line maps," he said.