Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Had to take the subway to Jianguoman to take care of some business, so I stopped by Tiananmen on the way back and went to the National Museum. They have been having a display of Zheng He, the fifteenth century Chinese explorer and navigator. Zheng He was a Muslim from Yunnan Province, who was made a eunuch after he was captured by the Ming Army. The Chinese, of course, take pride in the fact that his explorations took place in the century before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But two other issues are raised by Zheng He's accomplishments. First is the question of how China became such a closed country after having reached out, through Zheng He's explorations, to so many countries. The second question, though is somewhat more poignant for today's geopolitical situation. This is the question of China as a growing naval force. China is a very large country, which is growing into an economic giant, with a strong disposition to build up it's military.