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Ship sails in voyager's seaward footsteps
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-27 05:30

GUANGZHOU: The replica of an age-old wooden Chinese junk set sail from Guangzhou yesterday to commemorate a famous 600th anniversary.

The original 31-metre-long "Green Eyebrow" was one of Zheng He's fleet - the navigator and diplomat who set sail on the Indian Ocean in 1405, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

For nearly 30 years, Zheng led his fleet to 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa seven times, helping extend China's maritime and commercial influence overseas.

Now the replica junk will follow in his seaward footsteps, having started its debut voyage in Qingdao, a coastal city in East China's Shandong Province, on March 24.

The capital city of Guangdong Province was the eighth port of call on a voyage which includes 11 Chinese port cities.

After Guangzhou, the junk will head for Hong Kong, Macao and Sanya in Hainan Province.

It will then sail to 17 countries and regions in Asia and Africa after 40 days across Chinese port cities.

Sources with the organizing committee of activities marking the anniversary said nationwide nautical knowledge contests and academic exchanges would be held after the junk's voyage.

"This campaign is a celebration of not only the achievements of Zheng He's voyage to the Indian Ocean but also of China's colourful maritime history and its shipshape marine economy," said Xu Guanchao, director of the organizing committee.

(China Daily 05/27/2005 page3)

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