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
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
- U.K. Released Hundreds of Nazis After the Holocaust, Says Leading Historian
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- Historians Against the War gathering signatures for new resolution to AHA on alleged violations of academic freedom in Israel