In Defense of the Chinese U-shaped Line: Applying the Chinese Ideogram, 國, for the Explication

  • Peter Kien-hong YUEmail author


Many non-“Chinese” do not have adequate understanding of Chinese history, and most of them cannot read nor write Chinese characters. As such, they would tend to think that human behavior is universal, that is, what they had done in the West will be repeated by the Chinese. For example, Graham T. Allison, Jr., writing in June 2013, reminded us that, in 11 of 15 cases since the year 1500 in which a rising power rivaled a ruling power, the outcome was war. That may well be one of the leading reasons that they cannot appreciate the Chinese U-shaped or nine-dotted line, which was presented in an official map by the Republic of China (ROC) Government for the first time in December 1947. (Another source mentioned February 1948. See, accessed on February 10, 2013. For the genesis of the (broken) U-shaped line, see my article, “The Chinese (Broken) U-shaped Line in the South China Sea: Points, Lines, and Zone,” Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia (JCSA), Vol. 25, No. 3 (December 2003), p. 407). This certainly presents a big problem, which must be solved or resolved.

This study applies the Chinese ideogram, 國, qua theory and model or a series of models, depending on the context, to explicate the four basic components, inputs, or sub-strokes, which make up the ideogram.

This ideogram can be creatively superimposed on China, the entire country. It can also be applied to everything that is inside the U-shaped line and, for that matter, (exceptional) internal waters, (exceptional) territorial waters, (exceptional) contiguous zone, (exceptional) exclusive economic zone (EEZ), (extended) (exceptional) continental shelf, and other sea areas, respectively.

Relevant information, data, and analysis are then slotted in each component qua model. Readers perhaps can appreciate the profundity of Chinese characters and realize that the theory does heavily shape and affect the Chinese behavior, since ancient times.

If the non-“Chinese” realize that the theory can also explicate their behavior in zonal arrangements like EEZ, they should not be alarmed by the existence of the U-shaped line.

The burden remains on the non-“Chinese” shoulder to prove that, since the late 1940s, the line is like a porcupine, bristling with a coat of sharp spines, curtailing or even hurting their national interests.


U-shaped line Nine-dotted line South China Sea Chinese ideogram Theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Quemoy UniversityJinmen CountyChina

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