Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China Hijacking Korean History-Kwanggaet’o The Great

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 24, 2013

China claims to have done everything and been everything. It is the deep seeded insecurity underpinning these beliefs that make China a menace and intolerable.

Their rabid proclamations of greatness belie their inner knowledge that China sucks.

They have boatloads of people and nothing to show for it. What good is 5000 years of history if all it got you was a big old fence?


JIAN, China: Centuries ago, Kwanggaet’o the Great ruled over a mighty empire stretching from south of Seoul deep into Manchuria in China’s northeast. Today, his Koguryo dynasty is now at the centre of a historical tug-of-war.

Kwanggaet’o is revered as a Korean national hero on both sides of the divided peninsula, while Chinese attempts to claim Koguryo as its own have provoked fury among its neighbours.

One of Koguryo’s capitals, now the modern Chinese city of Jian, stands on the Yalu river on the frontier between China and Kim Jong-un’s North Korea.

It hosts a treasure trove of historical sites and cultural relics, including royal mausoleums designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites and decorated with murals depicting traditional wrestling and tiger-hunting.

A towering stone stele more than six metres tall illustrates the dispute, with Kwanggaet’o’s name carved into the granite — in the classical Chinese characters used for writing in northeast Asia at the time.

“Koguryo is in fact part of Korean history, not Chinese history,” said Hwang Seon-goo, a South Korean visitor.

“We think that China insists on having its own way.”

Soon afterwards, Zhang Ming, who identified himself as a Chinese tourist, expressed keen interest in knowing what the South Korean visitor had said.

In response, he pointed to the language of the inscription as evidence of Chinese influence, asking “how it could be Korean” if it was written in Chinese.

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