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Historian slapped in the face for pro-Manchu views

The Beijing News
October 7, 2008

Yan Chongnian (阎崇年), a scholar specializing in Qing history and Manchu culture, was attacked on October 5 when he was in Wuxi to promote his new book, The Kangxi Emperor. The prolific author was smacked twice in the face, allegedly because the attacker disagreed with his historical views.

Yan is the director of the Manchu studies department at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences and is a guest host on the CCTV-10 TV show Lecture Room. That program, which focuses on Chinese history and traditional culture, has made him a celebrity, as it has for other academics including Yu Dan, arguably the most popular exponent of Confucius ever.

After first being disclosed in a post on the Tianya BBS written by someone who claimed to have witnessed the incident, the news made the front page of The Beijing News today:

In the afternoon of October 5, Yan Chongnian arrived at the Wuxi Xinhua bookstore to meet with readers and present a talk to history enthusiasts....after the talk, Yan began to sign books. A tall young man charged towards him and slapped in his face twice before he was held down....another man in glasses tried to break away from the crowd and continued to swear at Yan: "Traitor", "You deserve it."

The newspaper also quoted the attacker's brother, who said that the attacker "disagreed with Yan's historical views but had no chance to debate him. He just couldn't control his impulses under the circumstances." Yan himself couldn't be reached by the newspaper for comments.

"Traitorous" words attributed to Yan can be found on the Internet, but it is not clear whether he actually said them, or in what context. Here are a few of those statements:

  • Wu Sangui, the general who has usually taken the blame for the collapse of Ming Dynasty (the last Han Chinese Dynasty) by virtue of his surrender to the Manchu invaders, should be reevaluated for avoiding mass bloodshed that may have resulted had he not surrendered;
  • Censorship and crackdown on dissenting views by the Qing ensured social stability despite certain limitation;
  • The Manchu invasion promoted the integration of different ethnic groups, and the human loss it caused was inevitable.
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There are currently 9 Comments for Historian slapped in the face for pro-Manchu views.

Comments on Historian slapped in the face for pro-Manchu views

Yikes, I guess studying Manchu is not for the faint of heart.

The Chinese should learn to respect the Qing more, they created the largest Chinese empire.

Like Korean and southeast Asians should learn to respect Japanese, because they were part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere? Give me a break


The Chinese should learn to respect the Qing more, they created the largest Chinese empire.

What is there to respect about Qing Empire?

History of Qing is just a cautionary tale of massive failure.

I think respecting elders and racial equality are fundamental values, they serve as a foundation for any kind of debate, and different views is never an excuse for violence.
This old man does have some absurd perceptions about history but he too has every right to say, the offending young guy also has rights to debate but only in a PEACEFUL fashion, he could use blog, forum or newspaper so he can't accuse Yan for "no chance to debate".
I also blame CCTV for this mess, the fact that they only allow pro-hardline standpoints to 百家讲坛 contributed to this incident, and its also what made the program and the station as a whole so distasteful, if you didn't know, one lecturer who questioned 康乾盛世 in 百家讲坛 was immediately dismissed.

I agree with Peteryang's comments about respecting one's elders, maintaining a civil debate, and putting at least some blame on CCTV.

I read 阎崇年's book 正说清朝十二帝, and while I think the book has certain flaws in terms of historiography (ie. nationalist/imperialist sentiments, a double standard when talking about imperialism (Western-detrimental and humiliating, Chinese- mainly unquestioned), an approach that overly values the dynastic cycle) , still, I think the book is at least well written, entertaining, and attempts to debunk a lot of myths that people get from soap operas. My impression is that Yan would be the type of person who would be willing to engage in lively debate. There's certainly no justification in hitting him.

It's kinda like David Irving going to Israel, trying to sell his Great Book named "Hitler's War". LOL

Many young Han Chinese ppl, especially those in the southern and eastern provinces just hate the barbarian looking of Qing dynasty men with "pigtails", which is often portrayed as character of chinese throughout their 4000 or 5000 years history in early hollywood films, and in fact a lot of western media are still doing it today. They feel being humiliated. They have this kind of theory that somehow China could have had its own industrial revolution and developed capitialism just like europe if those Manchu barbarians were not standing in the way.




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