06-07-2012 17:21
[ed] Another history distortion

China going too far in Great Wall extension

China has officially declared that the Great Wall is much longer than previously thought, raising fears that the world¡¯s second-largest economy may be plotting to include Goguryeo and Balhae as part of their history.

Xinhua, China¡¯s state-run news agency, reported Tuesday that the wall was 21,196.18 kilometers based on the results of the latest archaeological survey conducted by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH). A preliminary study released in 2009 estimated the wall to be 8,850 kilometers.

Xinhua said the Great Wall spans China¡¯s 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang, adding that a total of 43,721 heritage sites were identified nationwide during the survey.

Drawing our attention is that China extended the world¡¯s largest man-made structure to Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces, much further east than Hushan in Dandong defined as the wall¡¯s eastern end in its 2009 study.

Given that the Great Wall originally extended only 6,350 kilometers before China began its survey in 2006, it may be going too far, disregarding apparent historical facts.

First of all, it is unreasonable to integrate walls built in different periods and locations into the Great Wall. Mountain walls in the eastern end of Hushan included in the Great Wall in 2009 had long been recognized as those of Goguryeo, one of the three ancient kingdoms of Korea, and China had previously taken this for granted. China¡¯s latest claim that it discovered remains of the Great Wall in Heilongjiang and Jilin Provinces also lacks authenticity because they are regarded as Goguryeo walls in general.

It¡¯s not difficult to reason why China is overreaching following its misguided Northeast Project that wrapped up in 2006 but allegedly has since been progressing clandestinely. More than anything else, China is trying to firmly establish its national identity on the assumption that any pre-modern people or states that occupied any part of what is now China should be part of the greater Chinese state for national unity.

Specifically, Beijing may be trying to strengthen its claim over its current territory and prepare for possible land disputes with a unified Korea through the Northeast Project and more recently, the extension of the Great Wall.

We know China¡¯s fear that should the two Koreas reunite, the ethnic Koreans in Manchuria may secede from China, igniting a string of ethnic tensions in the world¡¯s most populous country. We also know that China may be establishing historical justifications for a possible takeover of North Korea in the event of the Stalinist country¡¯s eventual collapse.

Given China¡¯s recent historical maneuvering, we don¡¯t¡¯ rule out the possibility that China will continue its history distortion with political intentions. In this case, however, China will have to risk hurting relations with South Korea.