China:Korean professor under catcalls

Professor Zheng Zaishu

On 31st, October, several Chinese portal websites released the news: the Korean professor Zheng Zaishu in Ehwa University suggested that, contrasted with the common sense, the Chinese mythology mainly originated from Korea. His theory was based on the fact that many gods mentioned in Chinese mythology Legends of Mountains and Seas could be found in Goguryeo frescos.

Below the text, the websites furthermore attached a list that numerated the controversies on culture between China and Korea from 2005 to now, including those on Dragon Boat Festival, the origin of printing (one of the 4 great inventions of China) and traditional Chinese medicine.

Soon, Chinese blogsphere began to protest against his theory. in, for example, more than 3000 replies put Professor Zheng Zaishu under critiques. More than half of the replies despised Korea as a country of self-contempt that tried to seek comfort in self-deception and steal culture from its neighbor China. Many netizens stroke back the professor’s idea by claiming that Koreans are actually descents of Chinese. The most widely cited comment, a metaphor concerning plastic surgery, straightforwardly disdains Korea. Because most of the catcalls had impolite remarks, a netizen from Korea (the location is shown on the website) urged Chinese netizens not to abuse, but was soon inundated under the 100 pages of discussions. In a survey by, 1960 people vote the option that Korea is a “small country with provincial people”, while 1244 people think “we Chinese had better rescue our culture rather than to dispute with others”.

(No netizens’ comments directly quoted to avoid further controversy)


  • Pei

    Both sides need improvements. Korean need to respect history and Chinese need to respect Korean and Japanese. Better education for both nations wouldn’t hurt either.

  • That’s about as daft as saying French culture originated mainly from England. The two countries had extensive contact in the past and surely had a fair influence on each other.

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  • 塘沽张三

    England and French may have some influence on each other, but I doubt there is ANY influence from Korea to China. Korean become rich, that is true. But money can not rewrite history (or can it?). In Chinese community, there are lots of jokes about Korea trying to rob Chinese culture heritage. Most of Chinese people will just shrug them off because they know sometimes size matters.

  • JJ

    This controversy is so phony that it’s not even funny.
    This controversy is cooked up by Chinese. Nobody in Korea believes Chinese medicine, Chinese writing, etc etc is Korean. Whoever that professor is, if he exists, represents himself with his opinion, and only his opinion. In a free society like Korea, anyone can express his opinion. It doesn’t mean that everybody agrees with him. I guess that kind of concept is difficult for PRC Chinese to understand considering that their entire education and media is controlled by their government.

    These accusations and attacks on Koreans are basically based on internet rumors, exaggerations, innuendos, and are manipulated by the Chinese press which is controlled by the Chinese government.

  • NYkimi

    Uh…seems like a few errors of reasoning. JJ claimed “…[t]his controversy is so phony, [and] is cooked up by Chinese…” The claim was directed against the proponent of the “controversy” rather than against the “controversy” itself. It drew the conclusion about the merit of your position from partial evidence about the character of opponents. What are some “phony claims” you tried to disapprove? In this case, your judgment was questionable because these uncompelling arguments were merely restatements of factually irrelevant evidence. Your claims were out of the scope.

  • JJ

    NYkimi, have you ever examined the claims that the Koreans are making all these wild claims? I mean, other than the Chinese media. A simple internet search (if you’re not in China so not being blocked) will tell you what I’m talking about.

    Here are the summary:

    1) Korea claim Hanzi as invented by Korean
    – no basis whatsoever. The Chinese media Sinquebo printed that a Korean professor at Seoul National University had claimed that Hanzi was Korean invented and that Korea was going to register it with UNESCO. The Korean news Yonhap media tried to find this ‘professor’, and found out he never existed. This was reported in Yonhap news.

    2) Korea claims Confucius was Korean.
    – no basis whatsoever. Most Koreans would laugh at this claim, no ideal where Chinese are getting this ideal. Absolutely not true that Korea is trying to register him at UNESCO.

    3) Korea claim the Dano with UNESCO. The Kangneung Dano Festival was indeed registered with UNESCO, but the Chinese media are twisting the Korean position. Korea is not registering the Dano holiday with UNESCO. What they’re registering is the festival activities at Kangneung, not the holiday itself. The Dano festival in Korea is also totally different from China’s anyways.
    Think of Christmas. The Korean city is not claiming Christmas, only the partying that goes around it which is unique to this region.

    4) Claims that Korea is registering Feng Shui with UNESCO.
    – Once again, lies. There is no attempt in Korea to register the Feng Shui with UNESCO, as reported in the Chosun Ilbo, Dec. 21.

    5) China’s 40% don’t like S.Korea – once again controlled by Chinese government’s Xinhua. Look at the way the questions were arranged. Choose which countries you hate the most, 3 choices:

    1)Korea 2)Japan 3)Indonesia

    Choose which countries you like the most, 3 choices only:
    1)Japan 2) Russia 3)Pakistan

    This is the PRC government paper making up this survey. You tell me if they’re not the ones behind anti Korean campaign.

    6) You don’t believe Korean media, then how about a Chinese reporter? Read dated Dec 22,2007, by Wie Dao Ching. The ones who are making up anti Korean feelings are the Chinese media itself (government controlled, so it’s the Chinese government). I wonder if that reporter would be fired or put in jail, or worse, shot?

  • Pei

    JJ, are you aware of your own contradiction? You are against Anti-Korean sentiment in China yet you demonstrate Anti-Chinese sentiment in Korea.

    You claimed Chinese media are controlled yet you site Korean media that are also controlled. Maybe not by the government directly but I doubt they are impartial in this matter.

  • JJ

    Pei, if you have a problem with what I quoted, including your own report, please tell us what evidence do the Chinese hold up to claim that Koreans are stealing Chinese history. That is other than Chinese media claims of “Koreans claim” charges. Because simply, I’ve never heard of these claims until I read the Chinese media. I think the shoe should be the other way around, with Chinese copying and stealing intellectual properties. That’s a real problem.

  • Pei

    JJ, what article? is like Yahoo. Quoting yahoo without link to the actual article is not much of a help.

    Your other sources are in Korean which I don’t understand so they are of no help to me and most people. If you could post an article from an establish third party news channel in a language that is widely understand, I will read it. A European, American or Japanese news channel is preferred.

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