The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Chris Chung

PhD Program

Fields of Study Thematic Fields:

Empires, Colonialisms and Indigeneity

Areas of Interest:

  • Late imperial and modern Chinese notions of nationalism, empire and sovereignty
  • South and East China Seas islands disputes


Major Field: 

China, 1796-Present

Minor Fields: 

Modern Japan, Colonialisms


Li Chen

Description of Dissertation:

My dissertation will examine late imperial and modern Chinese conceptions of territorial sovereignty in frontier lands, especially as they relate to the disputed South and East China Sea islands, and how these ideas have changed over time.


Chung, Chris. “Drawing the U-Shaped Line: China’s Claim in the South China Sea, 1946-1974.” Modern China 42:1 (2016): 38-72.

This journal article examines the creation, early usage, and meaning of China’s U-Shaped Line territorial claim in the South China Sea islands dispute. It analyzes relevant Republican Chinese archival files, many of which remain virtually unused by scholars who examine the dispute. It is developed from my Master’s thesis, “Since Time Immemorial”: China’s historical claim in the South China Sea, completed at the University of Calgary in November 2013. My current article provides new interpretations of primary sources, corrects mistakes in my Master’s thesis and covers recent developments in the South China Sea dispute that have occurred since 2013.


  • MA, History, University of Calgary, 2013
  • BA, History, University of Calgary, 2011