"The Europeans 'Fabricated' Stories About Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Civilizations—All Based on Chinese History"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From the Taiwan News (Zin Kao):

"World Civilization Research Association" scholars are claiming that Western civilization originates from China and all European languages are merely Mandarin dialects, the Liberty Times reports….

The World Civilization Research Association group of scholars are professors from a number of Chinese academic institutions. Association member Zhu Xuanshi further … said Europeans "felt ashamed" due to the "fact" there was no history in Europe before the 15th century, compared to China. In an attempt to paper over this historical humiliation, the Europeans "fabricated" stories about ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations—all based on Chinese history…. "Do not let fake, Western-centered history hinder the great Sino-Renaissance," [World Civilization Research Association founder Du Gangjian] was quoted as saying.

Many Chinese citizens were unconvinced, however …. "Thanks, we can no longer laugh at the Koreans who claimed Confucius and Genghis Khan are Korean," one commenter sardonically lamented.

This reminds me, of course, that Russia is the homeland of the elephant. Thanks to Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log) for the pointer.

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  1. I never heard of the World Civilization Research Association of the Taiwan News website. The article may be a parody of extreme Chinese chauvinism rather than something intended to be serious.

    People do not appreciate the importance of Poe’s Law, which says that on the internet, it is almost impossible to differentiate between parody and true beliefs. That is partly because people’s tone does not come across in writing, but also because humor styles can be culturally specific. The post below about Leif Olson is an example of Poe’s Law at work.

    1. Eh, there are Chinese scholars who are convinced that the Mayans only had a civilization because Ming China visited them and taught them everything. That’s why there are surnames similar in both languages (romanized, otherwise they’re nothing alike).

      It’s bumpkis but claiming the West was the same is par for the course.

  2. And Brazil invented the airplane.

    1. That’s actually plausible and based on actual facts. The interpretation is not quite so compelling.

    2. Did Brazil also invent the airplane crash?

      1. No, that was Newton.

  3. Did this story originate on “The Onion”?

  4. So China wants to rewrite history. History is re-written all the time, as politics change.

    1. He who controls the present controls the past. And he who controls the past controls the future.

  5. So apparently, some of the fentanyl the Chinese are making for sale in the U.S. doesn’t get out of the country.

  6. Every society is susceptible to kangposting and I love it. Another way to read it in reverse; some Chinese are so insecure about the destruction of their cultural identity that they have to lie and claim everything they wish they had.

    1. awild,
      What is kangposting? Googling did not help.

  7. Assuming this isn’t parody/satire, I guess the 15th Century was chosen because Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453 which would be the end of the “Roman Empire.” This reframing of history would basically write Islam out of existence. No Umayyads, no Crusades, no Reconquista. Apparently Islam popped up out of nowhere in the 1400s and went gangbusters in North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    1. That would be consistent with historical (and present) Chinese government recognition of Islam. They don’t think it exists. From Yuan onwards, most religious practice was banned with no distinction between Jews and Muslims (or anyone who didn’t adhere to Chinese culture). It’s a very China-centric way of thinking. Everything is or isn’t Chinese and no further distinction is necessary.

      Non-Chinese are conquered people and slaves and their status hasn’t improved at all. It’s mostly worsened due to constant Islamic uprisings throughout history. They’re considered terrorists and treated as such. By relative measures, chipping Uighurs and ghettoizing them is an improvement for China. That’s just how regressive their society is.

  8. More evidence of the Middle Kingdom Complex.

  9. According some afrocentrist scholars, Greek culture was all stolen from the Egyptians (Africans). Greeks stole it all from the Great Library of Alexandria. That theory was proposed by George G.M. James. So, was Chinese culture stolen from Africa too?

    1. How are so many people so ignorant? We have artifacts of the Myceneans going back to the bronze age, when yes, Egypt was the largest empire in the world.

      Chinese supremacy didn’t start until the Bronze age collapse, which destroyed every western country other than Egypt (which still lost most of its holdings outside of the Nile). In fact, that collapse is why China was ahead of Europe, Africa, and the Near-East for several thousand years before they stagnated and allowed Europe to take the technological lead. That was also when the various Mediterranean civilizations separated and diverged.

      1. The author that invented that theory also claimed that Egyptians were all blacks – and therefore blacks were responsible for all of modern European culture and science.

        As you might guess, there was a specific agenda in that man’s ‘research’.

  10. I’m reminded of Fomenko’s New Chronology

  11. You have to admit that the props those sneaky Europeans and Egyptians have erected (the so-called “Roman” Colosseum, those obviously papier-mâché pyramids, et al) in order to pretend that they have any sort of ancient history and make suckers out of the tourists are pretty impressive.

    1. They even built the pyramids in the desert so they wouldn’t get rained on and expose the hoax.

  12. It would be interesting to hear their story about the Antikethera mechanism.

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