A less Admirable Admiral A Beijing exhibition celebrating a Chinese hero relies too heavily on simplistic propaganda
Popular appreciation for Zheng is hardly spontaneous, however. The exhibition, now at the National Museum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, is part of an effort to establish the 15th-century navigator as China’s newest national hero.
”Through this visit I have discovered that Chinese people are really something! I’m proud! So proud!” wrote a recent visitor in the comments book, a well thumbed tome on a small table by the exhibition shop. “Zheng He established for us a bridge of friendship between China and other countries,” wrote another. “I truly thank and admire him.”
In part, such praise reflects Zheng’s achievements. From 1405 to 1433 he led fleets, each of up to 240 ships and 28,000 men, on seven voyages of diplomacy, commerce, politics and discovery to south- east Asia, the Indian Ocean and Africa.
comments powered by Disqus
- Priests race to save manuscripts from jihadists in Iraq
- Where Mud Is Archaeological Gold, Russian History Grew on Trees
- Conflict Uncovers a Ukrainian Identity Crisis Over Deep Russian Roots
- Heirs Claim Bank Made Off with Nazi-Looted Art
- Add the University of Virginia to the list of universities actively confronting their association with slavery
- Stanley Kutler’s book on Nixon Watergate abuses has been turned into a show on the web
- China bans books by pro-Hong Kong historian who retired from Princeton
- Fordham Historian Lambasts ‘Shabby Treatment’ In Row Over Israel Boycott, Vows to Continue Fighting Anti-Semitism
- George Mason's digital history program is 20 years old -- and celebrating
- Watergate researchers can now see the materials — including tapes — Len Colodny used in writing "Silent Coup"