Monday, May 7, 2012

The Age of Exploration pioneered by Zheng He - "Kun Yu Wan Guo Quan Tu"

Translation of the broadcast script of Radio France Internationale
Translation of the broadcast script of Radio France Internationale
Trnslation of the broadcast script of Radio France Internationale 

(4/25/2012) original in Chinese (slightly modified for clarity by the author).

True history is often "hidden" in the most obvious places, but misled and blinded by authoritative dogmas taken for granted. Today, we want to read a review of a history book by Siu-Leung Lee, “1602 world map decrypted: Ming Dynasty mapping the world”.  A monograph on the study of world history, this book re-examines, from different angles, hundreds of years on history of the classical dogmas of the world's Age of Great Exploration, drawing a new conclusion.

The book “Kun Yu Wan Guo Quan Tu[1], decrypted: The Ming Dynasty mapping the world” challenges the three dogmas of world history: 1. The Ming Dynasty exploration led by admiral Zheng He did not venture beyond East Africa; 2. Columbus discovered America; 3. Matteo Ricci brought Western world geographical knowledge to China. These statements are all false. The 1602 world map presented by the Jesuit Matteo Ricci to Ming Shenzong (Emperor Wanli) is actually drawn by the Chinese people in Ming Dynasty during Zheng He’s era, some 160 years before Ricci’s time, implying that the Chinese surveyed and mapped the world before Columbus.

The 1602 world map, according to the common notion, is drawn by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, a missionary to China. It is said to be compiled from European world maps without the participation of Chinese. Ricci places China in the center to please the Chinese.

Siu-Leung Lee (LI Zhaoliang) , born in Hong Kong in 1943, obtained a bachelor degree in biology from the Chinese University Hong Kong, and a PhD degree in biochemistry from Purdue University. In 2006, he serendipitously acquired a Xuande gold medallion unearthed in America. Since then, he has been studying history by researching through electronic documents, maps, museum visits, and field studies. By comparing European history, Chinese history, and American history, Lee has discovered hundreds of Chinese cultural relics in the Americas, especially those characteristic of the Ming Dynasty. The 1602 world map drawn in Chinese also shows it is not the work by Ricci or European navigators and geographers, but by Ming Chinese in Zheng He’s era. Thus, the conclusion is that Ming Chinese people not only arrived in the Americas, they produced the first world map, leading to the Great Age of Exploration, as called by the West.

The final destination of Zheng He has been a mystery for 600 years. This book is focused on the 1602 world map, comparing to 600 other maps in the 14-19th century and primary information in the Age of Exploration. Analysis of place names, etymology, geography, and notes on the map shows that: the key information on the 1602 world map is incompatible with Ricci’s time and European cartography. Instead, it implies authorship by Chinese some 160 years before Ricci. Hence, the irrefutable but shocking conclusion is: Ming Chinese first arrived in the Americas and Australia, and mapped the continents (in 1430s), the information became the blueprint for the 1602 world map presented by Ricci. The Chinese are the ones who launched world exploration. The western maps of the 15th and 16th century, to some extent, are derived from the information left by Zheng He along the routes of his voyages. The author uses the principles of forensic science to question the three classical dogmas of world history, to restore the historical truth, and to fill in the gap of knowledge about the final destination of Zheng He's voyages, solving a six-hundred-year cold case of history of East-West communications.

In the preface of this book, the author points out that the book is not just about history and geography, nor to reverse the verdict of Zheng He.  It is an attempt to reveal the historical truth by the employment of modern scientific research and forensic investigation reasoning, establishing a new approach to study history. The process of solving this mystery also inspires a new direction for interaction in future cultural exchanges.

[1] For simplicity, this is called 1602 world map in this translation.


Presidential Proclamation:
May 2012 is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Visit to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 1, 2012
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Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have helped make America what it is today. Their histories recall bitter hardships and proud accomplishments -- from the laborers who connected our coasts one-and-a-half centuries ago, to the patriots who fought overseas while their families were interned at home, from those who endured the harsh conditions of Angel Island, to the innovators and entrepreneurs who are driving our Nation's economic growth in Silicon Valley and beyond. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month offers us an opportunity to celebrate the vast contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our Nation, reflect on the challenges still faced by AAPI communities, and recommit to making the American dream a reality for all.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders comprise many ethnicities and languages, and their myriad achievements embody the American experience. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have started businesses, including some of our Nation's most successful and dynamic enterprises. AAPI men and women are leaders in every aspect of American life -- in government and industry, science and medicine, the arts and our Armed Forces, education and sports.

Yet, while we celebrate these successes, we must remember that too often Asian American and Pacific Islanders face significant adversity. Many AAPI communities continue to fight prejudice and struggle to overcome disparities in education, employment, housing, and health care. My Administration remains committed to addressing these unique challenges. Through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we are working to expand opportunities for AAPI communities by improving access to Federal programs where Asian American and Pacific Islanders are currently underserved. To learn more about the Initiative, visit

As we also take this occasion to reflect on our past, we mark 70 years since the Executive Order that authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Last month, I announced my intent to posthumously award the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the country's highest civilian honor -- to Gordon Hirabayashi, who openly defied this forced relocation, and bravely took his challenge all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

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