China Claims Genghis Khan Fueled Renaissance

Reuters, July 21, 2006

Beijing—Genghis Khan—notorious as the ruthless, bloodthirsty creator of an empire that spanned Asia and Europe—also laid the foundations for the Renaissance, China’s Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

“Genghis Khan introduced papermaking and printing technologies to Europe and pioneered cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe,” it quoted Zhu Yaoting, a specialist on Mongolian history at Beijing Union University, as saying.

“He brought cultural progress that helped liberate the Europeans from the bondage of theology—in this sense, his expeditions served as a catalyst for the Renaissance,” he said.

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History is divided on when the Renaissance started and some historians believe there were a number of Renaissance periods in Europe starting from the 12th century. The Italian Renaissance in the 15th century is perhaps the most famous, during which the arts and sciences, particularly mathematics and astronomy, flourished.

China has also in the past made numerous other unusual historical claims, including the contention the Chinese invented football and golf.

And some Chinese academics say China “discovered” America decades before Christopher Columbus.

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