Exclusive: Patrice Lewis sees parallel in alleged purging of Chinese explorers’ 15th century exploits
Last summer I read an engrossing book entitled “1421: The Year China Discovered America” by Gavin Menzies, a retired British submarine lieutenant commander turned amateur archeologist. The book documented his efforts to demonstrate how a Chinese fleet of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of ships set sail in 1421 and circumnavigated the world, touching base everywhere from the Americas (North and South), Australia, Africa, Greenland, Europe, and all points between. The purpose of the expeditions, according to Menzies, was to chart the waters of the globe, impress and intimidate foreign rulers, and bring the entire world into China’s “tribute system.”
The book was riveting. While COVID lockdowns and subsequent unemployment soared around America, I was lost in the voyages of these Chinese explorers. While cities burned around the nation, causing billions of dollars in damages and killing dozens of people, I was absorbed by the evidence of the expeditions found in California and the Caribbean. While BLM and Antifa toppled statues, defaced monuments and demanded history be rewritten, I was captivated by the evidence presented of the Chinese discovery of Australia and even Antarctica. While Portland, Seattle and other blue cities were torn apart by constant violence and anarchy, I was immersed in the phenomenal accomplishments of those Imperial Chinese fleets.
Some sources dismiss Menzies as a “pseudo-historian” because he doesn’t have academic credentials after his name (for the record, I’m not nearly as impressed by academic credentials as I used to be), but I found the book compelling and fascinating nonetheless. Whether or not Menzies’ conclusions are accurate is not the focus of this column. Instead, ponder this question: If the premise of the book is true – if evidence points to China being world explorers long before Europeans – why doesn’t history reflect this? Why aren’t the accomplishments of Imperial China known throughout the world?
The proposed answer, according to Menzies, is because during the years the voyagers were at sea and out of touch with their mother country, Imperial China’s tumultuous and controversial régime changed, and its leaders (who commissioned the fleet) were deposed. The new incoming régime was rigidly insular. All foreign goods, services and trade were forcibly suppressed and – here’s the critical part – expunged from the records. As with many cultural revolutions, the leaders wanted their reign to be “Year Zero” for history. The accomplishments of the previous rulers were not just unwelcome, they were downright dangerous to acknowledge.
Therefore, when the greatly diminished Chinese fleets finally limped home, these mariners found themselves irrelevant and their discoveries and adventures dismissed. “Not only was the priceless legacy of the greatest maritime expeditions of all time gone forever, foreign lands were to be banished from the minds of the Chinese people,” wrote Menzies. “The legacy of [the expedition leaders] and their great treasure fleets would be all but obliterated. What oceans they had sailed, what lands they had seen, what discoveries they had made, what settlement they had created were no longer of interest to the Chinese hierarchy. … The logs and records were destroyed, and the memory of them expunged so completely over the succeeding decades that they might never have existed.” [Emphasis added.]
When I read that last line, I was stunned. Absolutely floored. Why would any nation erase such a glorious legacy of world exploration? Why would they take second place behind European explorers in terms of historical accuracy and bragging rights?
As American anarchists (encouraged by Democratic leaders) burned and rioted and toppled statues and rewrote history during the last year, I pondered that question. Then it hit me. Oh wait …
America is doing the same thing.
America, too, has experienced a régime change in which the Five Evils (Big Tech, Hollywood, public education, mainstream media, politicians) are engaging in a long-term scrubbing of history, both past and modern. In a remarkably short period of time, our history – the good, the bad and the ugly – is being expunged from the records, leaving behind a sterilized and factually false account. Our founding documents are being dismissed as racist, and the intellectual giants who shaped the groundwork for a nation of freedom are being rebranded as white supremacists whose legacy is not just unimportant, but downright dangerous to acknowledge. America’s origins are being rewritten to fit the narrative of the extreme left agenda.
How long before the logs and records of our history are destroyed, and the memory of them expunged so completely over the succeeding decades that they might never have existed? Even now there are whole generations of children who have grown up completely ignorant of major world events, everything from the Holocaust to the democide (death by government) of hundreds of millions of people over the last 120 years due to socialism and communism. They are equally ignorant of American history except what reflects the extreme leftist narrative.
“As with most cultural revolutions that wish to start things over at ‘Year Zero,'” wrote historian and columnist Victor Davis Hanson last August, “the violence is aimed at America’s past in order to change its present and future. The targets are not just the old majority culture but also classical statues and buildings, hallowed institutions, religious icons, the renowned names of streets and plazas, and almost every representation of tradition and authority. … The point of the mob is to wipe out what it cannot create. It topples what it can neither match nor even comprehend. It would erode the very system that ensures it singular freedom, leisure, and historic affluence. The brand of the anarchist is not logic but envy-driven power: to take it, to keep it, and to use it against purported enemies – which would otherwise be impossible in times of calm or through the ballot box.” [Emphasis added.]
Even now, the left is trying to scrub President Trump from history. We’re watching it happen in real time.
We are witnessing a purge unprecedented in America, but widely repeated through world history during tyrannical régimes. Dissenting voices are silenced, religious expression is suppressed, statues are toppled, history is rewritten, and – most importantly – the education of children is strictly regulated. As Hitler so accurately observed, “When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already. … What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”
And it’s all happening in less time than you think.