Vietnamese studies in China is a contentious field that is dominated by three frameworks: the central-regional relationship, the tributary relationship, and the diffusion thesis. It emerged in the late nineteenth century in response to French scholars’ questioning of the extent and duration of Chinese influence on Vietnam. It then became highly politicized between the 1970s and 1980s due to the issues of both the ethnic origins of the bronze drum and the nature of Sino-Vietnamese relations. In the twenty-first century, even though China began to address the issue of Sinocentrism, its claim to the South China Sea has been a source of great tension among the scholars in the two communist countries.

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