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)


  • JJ

    Pei, you won’t find too many, if any, European, American news channels reporting on the culture war between
    China and Korea, unless it’s about Chinese sudden historic incorporation of Goguryo into a Chinese state. As for Japanese, I wouldn’t call them third party source considering they have their interests and have often involved themselves to see China and Korea fighting. Even Korean media has been pretty much silent about these issues, except for occasional spurts – unlike China which has been gripped with anti-Korean mass fever. In a recent Korean poll, China was named the second most favorite country after the US. But that will probably change once the Korean public get a hold of the news of anti Korean wave in China over the most stupidest reasons. For example, Chinese were angered that Korea “changed the capital city of “Hancheng” to “Seoul”. To Koreans, Chinese who complain about this, sound ridiculous. Many Koreans are slowly waking up and finding out and are growing more anti China.

    But going back to the subject, just ask yourself, how many people do you think in Korea either care, or more importantly think Hanzi, Confucius, soy milk, Feng Shui, Hancheng, etc etc, are all Korean origins? The only issue that is legitimately close to Koreans are the Goguryo and the Mt. Baekdu/Changbai issues. All others are either manufactured nonsense or are immature retaliations by some Korean nationalists for the Chinese North East History Project which incorporates all of North East Asia which includes Korea into a Chinese state in historical context.

  • Rob

    Chinese gov’t making this up? That’s literally what you are stating since you’re saying that Xinhua is a news network controlled by the PRC gov’t and they are the ones who started this. The PRC gov’t doesn’t do such meaningless things; South Korea’s culture is meaningless to the Chinese gov’t. I might agree if you had said that it was a couple of Chinese netizens who were trying to poke some fun. The PRC gov’t has much more important issues at hand to deal with rather than worry about such “minor cultural issues”.
    To debate whether Double Fifth or Feng shui is of what origin is also meaningless. The Chinese people know that these had originated in China and that is what is known in the majority of the world– that’s what matters, not some “UNESCO Heritage Site” nametag. The Chinese gov’t isn’t interested in such small issues like this, it’s not going to stop the Chinese people from consulting feng shui or prevent their practice of traditional herbal medicine. The gov’t would rather be worried about the current issues with Pakistan.

    And don’t go on with some UNESCO rant. I work for UNICEF and I know people in UNESCO. The Heritage site nametag is just a title. And just a note, countries who are granted these “heritage sites” are given money annually by the UN– something that China is not lacking. Not to mention something they wouldn’t accept if given to them anyway.

  • JJ

    Are these ‘couple of Chinese poking fun’ too?

    『国际观察』 [国际关系]汉城、平壤:汉族祖辈生活的土地

    作者:明晨带你回家 提交日期:2007-12-14 22:17:00


  • JJ

    Rob, who’s debating Feng Shui or any of that nonsense? Because I don’t see ordinary Koreans debating that. Most Koreans don’t even have a clue what they’re being accused of by Chinese netizens like these:

    UNESCO? Who’s ranting about UNESCO? Again, Chinese side, accusing Koreans of vile attempts of registering stealing Chinese culture with UNESCO. Does anybody care in Korea? No.

  • Tedina

    It is funny to see so many Koreans believe in what this professor said, and when some one disagrees, these same group of people give crap like “it is his own opinion, and it is difficult for Chinese people to understand this concept.”


    Koreans are the most insecure people I ever know about. And I wouldn’t be surprised if any Korean claims that ancient Koreans once conquered the galaxy.

  • JJ

    So many Koreans believe in this professor?
    What drug are you smoking Tedina?

  • Tedina

    To JJ;

    I am not gonna provide proof to my statement, as it is tedious. Just do some a little search on Google, read the comments to similar posts, you would get this feeling.

    The reality is the sense of pride in ancient Korean culture has reached such a point that any new “discovery” would draw a hugh crow.

  • JJ

    Tedina, you can google “alien abductions” and you’re going to get a whole slew of self made experts. What does that prove? Chinese people have to get it through their heads, most Koreans don’t care where Hanzi comes from, whether Confucius was Chinese or Korean, nor where Feng Shui comes from. NOBODY CARES and none of that is taught in Korean text books, as falsely alleged by the Chinese media and their internet mobs. If you ask any Korean if he/she believes Confucius was Korean, they’ll look at you with a WTF look. Chinese people should grow up, and stop believing every rumor that’s written on the net. Because nobody really knows who they are that are spreading rumors.

  • JJ

    And one more thing. For all the things that Chinese people get upset about, this is just about as ludicrous as it comes. I’m referring to the alleged charges that Korea changed the name of its capital city from “Hancheng” to “Seoul”. People who have been frogs in the well don’t know that “Seoul” has been “Seoul” since 1945. What does it tell you when Chinese people get angry because Korea allegedly changed the Chinese name of Seoul just to put down the Chinese? Just plain ludicrous.

  • Tedina

    JJ. First of all, I think you need to calm down a bit, this is a place for discussion. It sounds like you are interrogating me.

    And just like how you accused Chinese people of not getting the concept of expressing personal opinions because they live in a Communist society, I think “MANY KOREANS BELIEVE IN WHAT THIS KOREAN PROFESSOR SAID” is the impression I got after seeing many posts and comments online, and I have the right to say it.

    Now, you are right that Internet is full of junks, we need some judgement to differentiate between true and false stuff.

    I do believe that most Koreans don’t care about where Hanzi came from. Ordinary people like me only care about how much money we could earn, they are not that political.

    And I think YOU are the one who has been falsely taught by your own government or news publication, assumine you are a Korean. Nowhere have I seen anyone saying those new “discoveries” by Korean scholars have been added to Korean textbooks. Would you mind pointing some out for me?

    As for your comment that Chinese people should grow up, I do think you should.

    Honestly, I don’t give a damn about Koreans changing their capital’s name. The word you used (angry) to described how Chinese people felt about it was just ludicrous. I could tell you, most Chinese people I know about don’t care at all. Well, I have to admit, they do feel abffled, and don’t understand why Koreans made such a big deal out of it. But hey who are we to judge?

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