Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Diaoyu islands manuscript sells for US$2 million

A hand-written document believed to be of a missing part of a Chinese literary work which showed the Diaoyu Islands as being part of China, was auctioned for 13.25 million yuan (2 million U.S.dollars) in Beijing in December 2010.

The item was hand-written by Qian Meixi, a calligrapher in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is believed to be a copy of the fifth chapter of "The Six Chapters of a Floating Life" of Shen Fu, a writer and painter also from the Qing Dynasty.

However, the book's final two chapters, the writer's autobiographical narrative, were missing.

The document recorded Shen Fu's trip to the Diaoyu Islands and the Ryukyu Islands in 1808. It included a section saying the Diaoyu Islands were part of China. Japan, however, has said it had first discovered the islands in 1884.

The buyer, surnamed Wu, left immediately after the auction. "It was a very quick decision," he told Xinhua by telephone. "I believed this is a very valuable document and I just don't want it to fall into the hands of others, particularly foreigners."

Since the document concerns China's territorial sovereignty, the auction rejected bids from foreigners, as per legal requirements.

Peng Ling, a book vendor from Pingyao in the northern Shanxi province, originally bought the hand-written scripts at an antique market in Nanjing, capital of eastern Jiangsu province, in the autumn of 2005.

Peng said he rejected an offer made by a Japanese citizen to buy the scripts for 10 million yuan in December 2009.

"I'm a descendant of the Chinese nation. The Japanese can't take it away, even with 100 million yuan," he said. "The scripts must stay in China."

Japan and China have a longstanding dispute over the ownership of the Diaoyu islands (known as Senkaku islands in Japan).

Source: Xinhua

For more information on the East China Sea dispute, see the Menas Borders website, here.

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