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Historical revisionism does not go unnoticed in China

Heated debates have sprung up throughout China's online community surrounding a new historical drama on China Central Television (CCTV) which, many charge, leaves out some important facts and revises others.

The 37-episode program, which debuted on March 27, focuses on the life of 17th-century Chinese general Shi Lang—officially considered a national hero honored for reuniting China and Taiwan, but whose defection to the mainland's Manchu-led Qing dynasty in 1646 leaves many viewing him as a traitor who sold out his country and directly responsible for bringing an end to the remnants of the Ming dynasty in Taiwan.

While the majority of such discussions have been concentrated on bulletin boards, the debate has carried over to blogs as well.

The Fat New Viewpoint blogger sets the tone in the introduction to his post Speaking to the widely broadcasted falsehood and harm in the Shi Lang affair:

看殃视的《屎朗大酱菌》,不由的感叹,人原来可以这样无耻。历史要为某党所用的时候,竟然能被如此篡改。剧中人物,甚至连当时两岸的普通群众,一个个俨然象受过党教育的;而反面角色,说话又活脱脱陈水扁的口气。不过,这一出,无意间竟让许多人把党和满清政权等同起来了,而台湾却真正成为中华民族的正朔了。一个网友说得精彩:某党又扣了个屎盆在自己头上,不知道哪个傻逼要在会上做检讨了,就想当年《走向共和》一样。

I couldn't help but groan when watching Great General Shi Lang and seeing how shameless some people can get. History, it seems, must be changed like this for The Party whenever The Party needs to use it. Each and every one of the the characters, those from both sides of the strait, seem like they've all received party education; even the villain speaks exactly like Chen Shuibian. Although, as soon as it debuted, the program unintentionally led many people to equate the Chinese Communist Party with the Manchu Qing regime, and Taiwan as the Chinese nation's legitimate center. One netfriend said it splendidly: The Party has once again smashed the shit bucket on its own forehead. Who knows which [idiot] reviewed this in a meeting, it's just like [2003]'s Moving Toward the Republic (another TV drama which was quickly banned).

At Danyan's Hexun blog a lengthy discussion follows his post “I really want to shut CCTV's mouth.” First a look at Danyan's thoughts:

播施琅的故事是什么意图不难理解,本来就是让大家理解的,但是有个问题就在于:这个人,不合适作为高大全人物摆放在高处。

The purpose of broadcasting Shi lang's story is not hard to see: that is, to let people understand. But there's just one problem: this person is not suited to be shown as an important figure and exalted.

首先,站在汉民族角度,施琅是不折不扣的满清鹰犬,说他是汉奸一点也不为过。

To begin with, from the perspective of the Han people, Shi Lang was nothing but a Manchu Qing lackey. To say he was a traitor doesn't even come close.

比如康熙六年他上〈边患宜靖疏〉,其中写到:”堂堂天朝,万国宾服,岂容此余灰以滋蔓患日。”

For example, Shi Lang, in his essay ‘The Imperative of Solving the Border Problems‘—written to Kang Xi in his sixth year as emperor—wrote, “we are such a glorious heaven-sent dynasty, deserving of the obeisance of thousands of other nations, how can we allow this pile of smouldering ashes to flame up and cause us to worry?”

谁是余灰啊?是谁的余灰呢?谁是天朝啊,是谁的天朝呢?

Who's a pile of smouldering ashes? Whose pile of smouldering ashes? Who's a heaven-sent dynasty? Whose heaven-sent dynasty?

1651年7月这个家伙就叛投满清了,那时候南明还在,郑成功还在,台湾还在荷兰的手里,满清还远没有征服整个中国。

In July, 1651, this guy rolled over to the Manchu Qing side. At that time the Southern Ming dynasty was still in power, Zheng Chenggong was still there, Taiwan was still in the hands of the Dutch, and the Manchu Qing dynasty was still far from conquering the whole of China.

清朝文献里,说这位施琅先生是因为看不惯郑成功的军队到处强抢民女而与之发生矛盾的,后来郑成功又为了亲兵事件杀害了施琅父兄,总之,在那个汉族阵营里,充满了丑恶,大清啊,我来了——师琅同志毅然决然地弃明投清了。

Literature from the Qing dynasty says conflicts arose from this Sir Shi Lang's unwillingness to see Zheng Chenggong's army going around seizing female villagers, and that Zheng retaliated to the loss of his most closely-trusted general by slaying Shi Lang's father and brother. Anyhow, from within that Han camp so full of ugliness and evil, with a “Great Qing, here I come,” comrade Shi Lang thus resolutely and determinedly gave up the Ming dynasty for the Qing.

这条恶狗紧跟着就参加了对南中国的大举征伐,六年后就升任同安总兵,再过一年又升任福建 水师提督,他的刀下,应该没少流同族人的鲜血吧?!

This cur quickly took his place in leading a large-scale military strike against southern China and six years later was appointed general for Tong An [district in Fujian province's capitol of Xiamen], and a year later to navy prefect for Fujian. Surely the lifeblood of more than a few of his kin has flowed beneath his sword?!

施琅对于武力攻伐,有一种狂热。

Shi Lang, it seems, is quite the fanatic when it comes to military attacks.

满清内部对于攻灭郑氏甚至都没有统一思想,康熙也还一直持有谈判的意思,惟独这位施琅,一心兴兵,康熙三年升官到靖海将军后如同打了鸡血,5个月的时间里两度起兵,都因气候原因无功而返。

There was never a consensus within the Qing dynasty to attack and wipe out the Zheng family. Kang Xi himself hoped all along to negotiate. Shi Lang alone persisted in sending troops out, and following Kang Xi's naming of him ‘General Who Maintains Peace on the Seas’ Shi Lang continued his reckless attacks on Taiwan. Twice within five months time he dispatched troops, who because of the climate all gave up and returned.

康熙七年,满清怀疑这些汉奸通敌,下令裁撤福建水师,所有战船一律焚毁,这些降将一律归旗或者发到各省屯田。

In Kang Xi's seventh year, the Manchu Qing dynasty began to reconsider collaboration with the traitors and issued an order to disband Fujian's naval forces, burn down all warships, and for all the capitulated generals to return to their homes or else be sent to develop the provinces.

And a recent response from Danyan reader Snow Mountain Hunter:

1、此电视剧的观点与目前大陆绝大多数百姓的观点是一致的。认为:统一台湾,不是靠象当年清廷谈判一样、靠嘴皮能获得的。当年的历史就是一面镜子

1. This television program's point of view is absolutely consistent with the majority of people on the mainland. Consider: the reunification of Taiwan cannot be negotiated or won through lip service as seen with the Qing government at the time. That era's history is a one-sided mirror.

枪杆子才能出政权。即使台湾的部分老百姓想统一,但政权毕竟掌握在少数统治阶级手里。你看看上次台湾总统选举就知道了。很多百姓不认同,怀疑陈水扁两颗子弹作弊而游行示威,结果怎么样,陈水扁他们派出大批警察,用警棍、高压水龙头、催泪弹、殴打……来对付老百姓!那些可怜的老百姓最终还不是屈服了?陈水扁至今还不是风光?海外的华人也曾吆喝好久,但是对陈水扁、李登辉、吕秀莲之流的台湾的统治阶级毫毛未损。

Political power can only be won with weapons. Even if some of Taiwan's people hope for reunification, political power there is still held by a minority ruling class. Just take a look at Taiwan's last presidential election and you can see. A lot of people don't agree—even suspect that Chen Shuibian's two bullets were fake, and even took took the street to protest. Then what did we see? Chen Shuibian and them sent out hordes of police who used batons, high-pressure water hoses, tear gas, assault…against the common people! In the end, didn't those pitiful people have no choice but to give up? Even until now, isn't Chen Shuibian such a sight? Overseas Chinese also cried out for a long time, but not even a scratch on the heads of Chen Shuibian, Li Denghui and Lu Xiulian.

对付台湾这股统治力量,大陆必须要有施琅当年的决一死战的勇气和决心,才能完成国家的统一。当年施琅的时代是这样,今天,也必将被历史再一次证明!

As for the ruling powers in Taiwan, the mainland must have Shi Lang's do-or-die bravery and resolve, if national reunification is ever to be achieved. That's just how Shi Lang was then and today we must also prove history right one more time!

大陆今天的武力准备,就是以枪杆子为后盾,作为以后谈判的筹码。不打、和平统一最好;如打,则一战平定,就和当年解放海南岛一样。现在大家看看海南岛,有没有象台湾如今这么难缠。

The mainland's military strength is ready today, with our weapons serving as both backup and as the future's bargaining chip. Ideally, reunification could be achieved peacefully, without having to resort to war, but if it does come to that it'll be pacification or nothing, just like when Hainan island was liberated. Now when you look at Hainan island, does it look anything like the big headache that Taiwan is today?

国家统一是大义,但并不是每个人都顾大义的。这时候,必须要有武力做后盾。

National reunification is a great cause, but not everybody cares about greatness. At this time, there must be military strength as backing.

2、《施琅大将军》这个电视剧无论它的负面作用如何,光靠嘴巴说不管用,要看事实。君不见在很多地方的抽样调查,具有正面回应的、反映好的占80%以上,这不仅代表着大多数人的心声和意见,也说明拍的好,总比花费数千万的电视剧《春光灿烂猪八戒》之类乱七八糟的要好的多!就象选举一样,你不赞成也好,赞成也罢,最终要接受现实

2. No matter what sort of negative effects this television drama Great General Shi Lang might have, if you're just going to run off at the mouth and not do anything about it, you might as well look at the facts. What you haven't seen are the spotchecks in many places that provide genuine responses, in which positive feedback accounts for over 80%. This not only represents the voices and opinions of the majority of people but also goes to show just how well the program was filmed, much better than artsy-fartsy shows like The Spring Cheers up Piggy [a character in the Chinese novel Journey to the West] whose costs were in the tens of millions! It's just like voting; whether you consent or not, in the end you still have to accept reality.

3、《施琅大将军》再怎么着,它毕竟是一部电视剧,不是历史教科书,——即使是历史教科书也是随着时代的不同而有所变化。我们老百姓看着玩玩,消遣一下,顺便了解一下大致的历史评书,也未必就是大逆不道。你非要上纲上线,我看你比共产党更不民主!

3. After all, Great General Shi Lang is just a television show, not a history textbook—but even history books change with the times. If us common folk have fun and take it easy while watching, but at the same time learn a little bit about historical accounts, it is not exactly treason and heresy. With the way you want to politicize all of this, you come off appearing to me less democratic even than the communist party!

有本事你自己拍一部更精彩的?!别在那里一味骂人。上星期我还在埋怨最近没有什么好的电视剧看呢,好不容易有了个消遣娱乐的,有些人又在哪里乱叫……

If you're so smart why don't you film something better? Don't just sit there shooting off at the mouth. Just last week I complained that there's been nothing good on television lately, how difficult it is to find anything entertaining, and even there people have started bickering again……

3 comments

  • K. Wu

    “Then what did we see? Chen Shuibian and them sent out hordes of police who used batons, high-pressure water hoses, tear gas, assault…against the common people! In the end, didn’t those pitiful people have no choice but to give up?”

    I wish this is true. But President Chen did not do this and KMT is still creating troubles in Taiwan.

  • […] Also take the recently controversial TV series “Shiliang the General” for example. Even the stupids can know that this series is specially prepared for the political situation in Taiwan Strait. Some people post on BBS to vote on the “most disgusting lines” in this series, and the champion goes to this one: “One girl who would be killed by the Qing soldier soon said “”compare with the days of living with separation from the mainland China, I would rather die“. […]

  • Katrina

    This post was included in the Asian History Carnival #4

    http://www.katrinagulliver.com/2006/05/asian-history-carnival-4.html

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