Zheng He: Symbol of China's 'peaceful rise'

Historians in the News

...Zheng is enjoying a resurgence - and there appears to be more than historical curiosity behind his revival.

Zheng He - also known as Cheng Ho - is being hailed anew as a national hero; invoked by the Communist Party as a pioneer of China's "open-door" policies that have once again made China a world power.

"The rise of China has induced a lot of fear," says Geoff Wade of the Institute of South-east Asian Studies in Singapore.

"Zheng is being portrayed as a symbol of China's openness to the world, as an envoy of its peace and friendship - these two words keep cropping up in virtually every reference to Zheng He out of China," says Prof Wade....

Zheng He was an admiral in the time of "empire", when there were no boundaries, no frontier limits, says China expert Edward Friedman.

"The expeditions were real events - Zheng's achievements were extraordinary and a marvel of the time," says Prof Friedman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison....
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