[EDITORIALS]A Chinese critic speaks outChina’s renowned literary critic Zhu Dake has criticized recent efforts by Chinese historians in the past five years to weave China’s prehistoric era of Ha, Sang and Zhou into historical chronology. This is just one of the signs proving that China’s distortion of history has reached serious levels. Mr. Zhu said that the objective of this project was to prove that the Chinese played the central role in the creation of Chinese civilization, and criticized the efforts as comparable to historians’ blind devotion and loyalty to the emperor in the old times.
A leading Chinese intellectual has said publicly that they are intentional distortions motivated by hidden political goals. In China, where the party and the government speak in unison, it is not easy to talk straight to correct an error. Mr. Zhu, who is trying to save the historical truth at the risk of government persecution, is a courageous intellectual.
We do not believe that Mr. Zhu is the only conscientious intellectual in all of China. There must be other historians who are perplexed by the distortion of Goguryeo history by scholars participating in the state-sponsored “Northeast Asia project,” and who are tormented by academic conscience.
The Chinese government must listen to its own scholars when they exhort that it must not unreasonably rewrite history. History cannot be debased. Countless relics, remains and records give proof to past history. The same applies to Goguryeo history. China’s allegation that Goguryeo was part of China’s history is nothing but futile effort to cover the sky with a hand.
There are stark differences between historical sovereignty and territorial sovereignty. Just because China now occupies and rules the land that used to be the territory of Goguryeo does not mean that they can rule its history as well if they wish, and China knows this. If China does not correct the distortions it has made to Goguryeo’s history, it will increase the fury of the Korean people. China holds the key to ending the conflict on history disputes.
As bordering nations, China and Korea maintain deep relations in various fields. We must work towards restoring normal bilateral relations as soon as possible. History disputes are no good for either country. It is worth trying to work on a joint history book among related nations in the region. European nations worked on such a project after the end of World War II.