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China should stop distorting history

Posted April. 28, 2013 03:30,   


A museum in Jian, Jilin Province, China displaying relics of Korea’s ancient kingdom Goguryeo is full of content distorting the history of the kingdom. The museum is the first Goguryeo museum built in Jian, which was the capital of Goguryeo. The opening of the museum drew South Korean historians’ attention as to how much of the results of China’s five-year Northeast Asia Project, which includes Goguryeo’s history into Chinese history, is reflected.

The Dong-A Ilbo has found that the museum was built in the Northeast Asia Project’s frame, which describes Goguryeo as a local state of China. At the lobby, the museum states that Emperor Wu of Han installed a prefecture of Goguryeo and put it under his jurisdiction. An exhibition room stresses that China and Goguryeo were one country.

When the Northeast Asian Project caused frictions with South Korea, China agreed in August 2004 that it would resolve history issues “in a fair manner” and China’s central and local governments would take necessary measures. During the Seoul-Beijing summit in 2006, the then Chinese President Hu Jintao also agreed to take “discreet measures.” What is displayed at the Jian museum is a direct breach of the bilateral agreements and reveals China’s intention to teach Chinese distorted history through the museum.

Whenever there were bilateral tensions over the history of Goguryeo, China mentioned the principle of separating history from reality and academic research from politics. In 2010, however, China’s state-run CCTV aired a program that described Balhae, which succeeded to Goguryeo, as a part of Chinese history. China even mobilized media to distort history. It is China that is making history a real and political issue.

Since its founding, communist China upholds the ideology of a unified multiethnic country. Under the ideology, China has been stressing that all ethnic groups living within current Chinese territory have been living in the same country. The Northeast Asia Project is part of such ideology, apparently aimed at strengthening internal solidarity and unity. China should stop encroaching upon another country’s history to defend its own national interest. China strongly denounced Japan for whitewashing wartime atrocities. It is a shame that China, once a hegemony in Asia, is applying double standards in history issues. The South Korean government should strongly and persistently demand that China correct the Northeast Asian Project.