As soon as I heard about a new Chinese study extending the Great Wall from 5,000 to 8,850km, I knew it would mean more trouble for neighboring Korea.
This report is logically stamped by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, but make no mistake : here, "Cultural Heritage" points well beyond the Great Wall of China, towards the new territories claimed by Beijing and the chunks of history and culture that come with them.
As expected, the main news is not the length of the Wall but the "fact" that it goes much further into ancient Korea.
This "information" is not "collateral damage" but the very aim of the game.
The political agenda looks more obvious when you consider how the news are delivered :
=> "Diplomatically", the "new" section dating from the Ming Dynasty stops at today's borders with North Korea (around Hu mountains), and the lines circling around Pyongyang date from ancient times that are not too distant
=> The report announces further investigations over the next 18 months focusing on the Qin (221-206BC) and Han (206BC-9AD) Dynasties. In other words : at the root of Goguryeo civilisation, the actual target of this study for China.
=> Beijing is playing it "double stage". An "innocuous" first delivery to provide the "neutral and scientific" alibi (while testing the waters during a shaky period for NK), and a second serve to slam and literally drive home the key political message : in spite of all historic and scientific evidences, Goguryeo was not a Korean kingdom but a Chinese fiefdom, and we are not only rewriting founding moments of Korean History as parts of Chinese History, but also artificially relocating Goguryeo's political, cultural and geographic epicenter within China's (newly extended) ancient borders.
Goguryeo a Chinese phenomenon ?!? This outrageous claim has been at the core of Beijing's revisionist propaganda against Korean heritage for over thirty years, and particularily over the past few years* : modeled after the Southwest Project (for Tibet) and the Northwest Project (for the Uyghurs), the "Northeast Project of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences" was ignited in 2002 as the main vehicle of their pervasive strategy of sinicization of Korean civilisation.
Unlike Tibetan or Uyghur territories and population, Beijing doesn’t control Korea nowadays… except a portion of what used to be the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo. No problem when you excel at manipulating information and distorting history. Western countries realized only last year how far the regime could go in revisionism with the infamous "pedagogical" exhibition on Tibet (part of a series of unfortunate events covered with the fingerprints of the controversial State Administration of Cultural Heritage).
Traditionally, China considers Korea as some kind of familial spin-off. Now it wants Korea heritage to be fully recognized as Chinese. Because according to the script, beyond Goguryo, even gimchi becomes Chinese !
A cultural Anschluss or rather, pardon the sick pun, the ultimate "Hanschluss"...
Why would Chinese leaders act so crazily ? As far as I know, China's Korean minority is not claiming independence, and its armies are not exactly occupying North Korea and South Korea... But the Central Government cannot accept the idea of part of its empire being, even potentially, under any kind of foreign influence. Especially from a neighboring country and that's one of the reasons why Beijing has always been doing its best to postpone the Reunification of the Peninsula : a stronger and united Korea would threaten the Middle Kingdom's sacred unity and furthermore, it's monopoly on unification. The Chinese regime simply cannot allow Korea to reunite outside of China.
Their solution ? Turning Korea into a part of China, a Chinese province founded by China in ancient times on Chinese territory.
This imposture is not only a defensive move to put a lock on the Korean Chinese minorities : the North East project may also pave the way for a glorious and "legitimate reunification" of North Korea with its "motherland", should Pyongyang regime negociate, as a last resort, its survival against a passive and "friendly" Anschluss*.
This may sound extreme but as the Tibetan example shows, Chinese leaders are masters in underground asymmetric warfare over long periods of time. Think of it as a game of go where one player would place a hundred pieces at each round while the other would not be aware of the stakes... nor even of the existence of the game. And when someone refuses the diktat (ie the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso), he simply cannot outlive the system.
Remember : China invented strategy, and in the country of Sun Tzu rulers think decades or centuries, where others think months and years. In the country of Bae Yong-joon ? The unit of measure seems to be converging towards a Twit (I'm not mentioning this pathetic Michael Jackson wannabe because the full content of his brain can be displayed within 140 characters, but because the Northeast Project may have been precipitated by the success of the Korean Wave across Asia and especially in China). So Seoul was caught off guard when Beijing released its massive campaign claiming the Goguryeo Heritage.
Up to now I haven't seen any reaction from either the South or the North about the report on the Great Wall, so Beijing can candidly launch its second rocket and 18 months from now, one can expect a few bomb "revelations" (ie Goguryeo confirmed to be a Chinese fiefdom). There is already a Wikipedia stub about a certain "Great Wall of Goguryeo" related to the "History of China" !!! Why Goguryeo leaders would ever want to protect themselves from themselves is another question...
Let's be clear : I love China as much as Korea, Korea and Korean culture owe a lot to China, and at certain points in history, parts of Korean land may have been claimed by China in the past as they were by Japan much later... but denying Korean culture its authenticity is not only bold revisionism but a first step towards cultural genocide.
History belongs to those who write it, territory belongs to those who draw the map.
But China doesn't own Korea.
* see previous warnings : "China ready to bail out North Korea", "Korean hubs", "China's revisionism - No to the Chinese cultural Anschluss"
initially published on Seoul Village.
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