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Tibet always within territory of "historical China": scholar

(China Tibet Online)

09:18, May 02, 2013

The statement of China's sovereignty over Tibet should be interpreted by the concept of "historical China", according to Huo Wei, director of China Tibetology Research Institute.

According to Huo, the concept of "historical China" refers to the Chinese territory formed prior to the Opium War broke out in 1840. There have always been people of different ethnic groups living in this country, and the regimes established by all of the ethnic groups should be included in the Chinese territory.

Yet many western scholars argued that the Tubo Kingdom (7th-9th Century, A.D.) was "not included in the Chinese territory". They claim that "only the regime of the Tang Dynasty (618—907, A.D.) was China, while that of the Tubo Kingdom was not China".

However, the right answer is that the Tubo Kingdom was set up within the domain of the "historical China". And if the kingdom established on the Central Plains - the Tang Dynasty belongs to China, the Tubo Kingdom is certainly within the domain of "historical China," said Huo Wei.

Besides, the western scholars used to hold that "only the regime built by the Han ethnic group was China, while other regimes set up by non-Hans were not deemed as China." That is to say, they equate China only with the regimes established by the Hans. "This is misleading," said Huo Wei. "And it is a big theoretical mistake."

If the Yuan, the Qing, and the Liao and Jin Dynasty (ruled by ethnic minorities)" were not included within the Chinese history", China would have virtually been dismembered, Huo pinpointed.

In addition, in the era when the Song(ruled by the Han),Liao and Jin Dynasty coexisted from the 10th to 13th Century, if the Song Dynasty was within China's domain, weren't the Liao and Jin?

In Huo Wei's point of view, this claim cannot be justified. The concept of the Han's regime and the area under its rule must be distinguished from that of "historical China".

This is a very important concept, according to Huo. Only on this basis can we set up dialogues with the western scholars.

Specifically, if the Tang Dynasty ruled by the ethnic Han was within the domain of "Historical China", the Tubo Kingdom co-existed with the Tang was also a part of it. And therefore, other regimes of the non-Han ethnic groups, big or small, all belong to "Historical China".

China is always a multi-ethnic nation. All of the ethnic groups have contributed to the development of the country in the course of history. In this sense, the complete territory took shape before 1840 was created by different nationalities bonded closely with each other.

Of course, it is not right to say that the Tubo Kingdom is part of the Tang Dynasty because the Tubo and Tang established its own regime within its own boundary. However, both are included within the territory of "historical China." Though they were two separate kingdoms, it would not prevent us from discussing about the concept of "historical China," Huo We stressed.
Therefore, the claim that "it was not until the Yuan Dynasty that Tibet became a part of China" was not correct, said Huo Wei. "The correct statement should be that Tibet has always been a part of China since the ancient times."  

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