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Chinese ancestors came from Red Sea area?
Updated: 2004-10-13 14:21

Amateur historian Su San has created an enormous controversy with claims of Chinese ancestors were from the Red Sea area and human civilization began in the Middle East and North Africa.

These two stunning conclusions have been put forward in two recently published books, and critics and readers have wasted no time in their attack.

"They call my books nonsense," says 40-year-old Su, a Henan Province native. "They just can't bear to think there's a Western ancestor for Chinese."

With a bachelor's degree on English literature and a master's degree on economics, Su previously worked for a foreign company and was also an English teacher.

Two years ago, she quit her managerial job to study history, but not at university, just on the Internet. She published book reviews and essays on cultural study Websites.

In her first book, "A Conjecture on Sanxingdui Civilization," she boldly concludes that the Sanxingdui ruins came from Red Sea civilization. Since excavation in 1929 in Sichuan Province, the Sanxingdui ruins has been the topic of hot debate because of antiques discovered there are exotic and unusual.

In her second book, "Toward the East," she traced the origin of Chinese civilization through the Old Testament of the Bible.

"The Bible is a serious record of a royal family, who colonized around the Earth with their wealth and wisdom," she says. "I believe Chinese ancestors were Semites, Israelis and from other Middle Eastern nations. The Chinese people's respect for chastity and the elderly originates from primitive Judaism."

She even found interesting relations between the earliest Chinese dynasties and the Bible.

According to her study, Hagar, wife of Abraham, established the Xia Dynasty (c. 21st century-16th century BC). His grandson Esau's offsprings built the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century-11th century BC ), and the name of the Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-221 BC) originated from the word "Jew."

Su emphasizes she has more freedom than traditional Chinese archeologists and historians whom she claims work in a rigid style.

"I have a free mind and hate restrain," Su says. "I have no background in education on archeology or ancient cultural study. This allows me to think outside the traditional stereotype and discover the real origins of Chinese."

Su grew up in a small mountainous village near Luoyang of Henan Province, the ancient capital of the Zhou Dynasty.

"When I left my home to study English in a university in big city, life was such a big contrast," says Su. "I had many interests but my favorite was history. At university I often lay on the lawn to appreciate the night sky, which helped me built up my view of the world."

Her first book only took two months to complete.

"I studied the Websites of museums, institutes and online libraries. It's efficient and quick," she says.

But few experts agree with her claims.

"Until now most Sanxingdui antiques belonged to Chinese local civilization and mainstream experts believe Sanxingdui is still a Chinese civilization with only small foreign influences," says He Yun'ao, director of Cultural and Natural Relics Research Institute at Nanjing University.

He explains that most jade and pottery antiques discovered in Sanxingdui bear strong Chinese characters. But some bronze antiques are different from traditional Chinese civilizations from along the Yellow River.

"This probably shows the variety of Chinese civilizations, which are not only from along the Yellow River," He says. "In Sanxingdui, there's a road to India. But since there's no records for the area, archeology cannot answer the question. Gene analysis can tell the truth but until now no human remains have been unearthed there."

Professor Jiang Xiaoyuan, dean of the Human Studies Institute at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, says Su's study can be hard to swallow.

"Her opinions are radical and far from traditional research, which probably will be accepted after 100 years," says Jiang. "I agree with parts of her research about Sanxingdui."

But most Chinese historians are not even close to considering her research.

"She hasn't got a historical education but obviously she has done a lot of library work," comments Jiang. "Her books are far better than amateur nonsense. I suggest she send her articles to professional magazines such as 'Historical Study,' which will draw attention. I guess most experts won't even glance at her books."

Su's study may not be traditional but she says it is informed evidence-based research and a new way of thinking.

Just like the old Chinese saying, "throw out bricks to draw jades." "I wish my books were bricks, attracting experts' attention and finally discover genuine jade," she says.

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