Go to contents

Scholar Cites Evidence of Chinese History Manipulation

Posted December. 31, 2008 05:31,   


China has fabricated the name of a river engraved on the Mount Baekdu Border Stone Monument apparently to occupy the Gando area, a region in Manchuria that most likely refers to the Chinese provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang, a Korean professor said in a paper released today.

Park Seon-yeong, a professor of humanities and social sciences at Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea, made the argument in her article “Suspicion over China’s Historical Manipulation Surrounding the Tomun River” published in the academic magazine Research on China’s Modern History.

Many historians have alleged that China changed the name of the river to “Domun,” but this is the first time for a scholar to cite hard evidence to support the claim.

According to Park, Chinese history books said the river, which flowed from the summit of Mount Baekdu, was called Tomun until the early 1700s, when the stone monument was erected.

In the mid-1800s, China began to use both Tomun and Domun when a border dispute worsened between Korea’s Joseon Dynasty and China’s Qing Dynasty. China began exclusively using Domun River in the 1900s.

Suggesting a historical basis for her claim, Park said the Qing Dynasty described the river flowing from the summit of Mount Baekdu as Tomun River in its history books, including the Chronicle of Qing Emperor Kang Xi and Qingshigao (Draft History of the Qing Dynasty) published around 1712 when the stone monument was established.

The same books published in the 1880s changed the name of the river to Domun.

Moreover, the reference to the Changbai Mountains recorded in Shen Jing Tong Zhi (Cohesive History of Shengjing), another history book of the Qing Dynasty published in 1736, used the term Tomun River. Wenyuange Sikuquanshu (Complete Library in Four Branches of Literature), which contains Shen Jing Tong Zhi, said the name of the river was Domun. Wenyuange Sikuquanshu was first completed in 1787 but what remains unknown is if the river’s name was changed from Tomun to Domun when used with the Changbai Mountains.

Park said this evidence shows China manipulated historical records to claim Gando.

Park said the suspicion is supported by China’s extra efforts to change the name of the river from Tomun to Domun in the 1880s, when the Joseon and Qing dynasties had a dispute over the river’s location.

If the Tomun River is recognized as Domun River, China will receive official recognition as owning the Gando area, including the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, covering 42,700 square meters, an area larger than the Netherlands or Switzerland.

China also changed the name of Huimudung of Yanji Prefecture to Tumen in 1933 and raised the status of the village to a city in 1934. This was to argue that Korea’s Duman River is the same river with China’s Tumen River.