During an outdoor press conference featuring brightly colored banners and elegant displays, Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Luo Jian Guo, made the announcement to an amazed audience. “The Chinese people were the first civilization to look into the skies with intelligence and comprehend the Moon. Anyone with an acceptable education can understand the correctness of this statement. Therefore, it is only fitting and right that the Moon be held in the just and caring arms of it’s rightful owner, the People’s Republic of China,” he said. “We have filed our claim with the International Court of Justice as accepted by International Law, and we expect that the rights of the Chinese people and our traditional land will be respected.”
A quick check revealed that China may indeed have a claim based upon astronomy. According to the website, PlanetQuest.org, they write the following, “China has a history of astronomical observation and record keeping that goes back more than 4000 years. Numerous objects and events were observed, noted, and interpreted by Chinese astronomers centuries before they first appeared in European records. In fact, China has a longer unbroken history of astronomical study than any civilization that has ever existed.” More is available from the article, here.
“It’s entirely possible that they made the first maps of the Moon’s features and cataloged it’s movements,” said Liu. Early Chinese astronomic maps might further strengthen China’s position. In other claims, China has used maps to back it’s territorial aspirations. In it’s dispute with the Philippines, both sides of the argument presented maps showing the Scarborough Shoals as proof that the uninhabited islands belong to them. China feels it has the stronger claim because it’s map was drawn as early as 1279 during the Yuan Dynasty, while the Philippines’ maps were published in 1734.
We were unable to talk more with Ms. Liu regarding China’s claim on the Moon. Chinese officials claimed our phones.
As the press conference concluded Mr. Luo thanked everyone and wished us well. Before he could leave the podium, another American reporter quipped, “Why stop with the Moon? Why not claim the stars as well?” Mr. Luo turned back and addressed the off-hand query saying, “All in good time.”
Though we enjoyed our stay in Beijing, our flight back to San Francisco was arduous. The flight is many hours long and difficult under even the best of conditions, but in our case we were unable to change into fresh clothes for the flight. China had claimed our baggage.