"New Proofs from The Experts: Native Americans are the Descendants of
Shang Dynasty Chinese"

Henan Province Commercial News, China

September 3, 2009

A poem of the Chinese Shang Dynasty states: “Shandu's reign included overseas accomplishments.” According to the explanation from Moruo Guo, Shandu was the eleventh emperor of the Shang. He greatly extended the boundary of his empire. His explorers reached the ocean to the north east of China – Bohai Sea, and connected with people overseas. This reveals that the technology of sea navigation at that time was advanced. Also, 7000 seashells were found in the tomb of Queen Yehow, one of the Shang queens. 

So, Native Americans are the descendants of Shang dynasty Chinese? Is this an impossible myth? 

Recently, Henan province historians have provided some new clues.  Even if it is not yet concluded in the academic arena whether Native Americans are descendants of Shang Chinese, new evidence may help to unveil this myth in a few years.

(Cartoon translated by Chuhan Wong)

The argument: 

Recently Kai Gao, doctor of history/geography, Fu Dan University and professor of the history,  Zhengzhou University, while at a conference of the Kueykutzu branch of the Pre-Chin Era History Association, was asked: “Are native Americans the descendants of Shang Dynasty Chinese?”  He expressed that he supported this theory. He also provided some new evidence. 

Through research, foreign scholars discovered that stone anchors found along the seashore of the Pacific Ocean in North America are similar to stone anchors of Shang and Zhou Dynasty in shape and quality. In Maya ruins sacrificial altars and jade carvings also have cultural similarities to the ones from Shang/Zhou Dynasty. 

Gao explained this theory: 

  1. According to ethnology, the skin and hair color of American Indians match Asian ethnic groups.
  2. When the Shang Dynasty fell, many were enslaved. This provided motive for others to escape and relocate.
  3. A Shang Dynasty poem states: “Shandu's reign included overseas accomplishments.”

Ocean currents made overseas ventures by the Shang people possible.  Gao stated that there are large, circular, warm currents moving clockwise in the north Pacific Ocean and the seas in that vicinity. This warm ocean current starts just north of the equator in the Pacific and goes through the northern part of Luzon Islands and east of Taiwan. From there it flows into the Taiwan Strait, meets at Zhoushan islands and reaches the East Sea. At the southern part of Chuchow in Japan, there is one north bound branch which forms the Tsushima current.  This current goes through the Tsugaru Strait to return to the Pacific Ocean. This north bound large, warm ocean current is also called the Japan Current. 

When the boats of Shang travelers sailed to approximately 35 – 42 degrees latitude, they rode the “west wind belt.” At this point, boats, even without sails, can travel speedily through the ocean to the west coast of North America.

Gao stated that the scale of this northern Pacific Ocean current is massive.  The average width is 150 kilometers, water flows at 3 to 10 kilometer per hour. This is very favorable for boats following the ocean flow. 

In addition, this warm current averages 20 degrees Celsius in the winter and 27 degrees Celsius in the summer and it is 6 – 7 degrees warmer than nearby ocean areas. The abundant fish source in  this warm current belt guaranteed the travelers' food supply. 

Therefore, after the last emperor Chou of Shang fell, mastery of this navigation technology afforded overseas escape for those who otherwise soon would have been enslaved by the new ruler. This escape offered an alternative to their fate.  Gao concluded “Once the theory of Shang Dynasty Chinese escaping eastward and landing in North America is accepted, one can then easily explain the cultural, artistic objects and fossils found in America and answer the ethnological questions of origin of American Indians.” 

In much earlier years, the Chinese master, Guowei Wang, also supported this theory. 

There have been numerous studies conducted before on Shang Dynasty Chinese migration eastward to America.  The earliest assumption was made in 19th century by a translator from London  [cannot decipher the name].  In America’s First Civilization published in 1968, Michael Coe wrote that the  Olmec civilization possibly came from Yin-Shang Chinese. 

Chinese master Zhenyu Luo and Guowei Wang espoused the possibility of the flight of Shang Chinese to America. Muruo Guo also supported this theory. In recent years a professor from University of Central Oklahoma, H. Mike Hsu, further explained this theory in Origin of the Olmec Civilization as also had Chinese scholar, Da Wang and his associates. 

On November 28th, 1993, a news article published on New People’s Daily titled “American Indians' Ancestors Traced Back to China” introduced the study results from American professor, Douglas Wallace. Wallace thought part of current American Indians' DNA the same as Asians’. 

In February, 1992, an article published in China Voice News by Dayou Wang, Baochung Song, and Shuang Wang indicated that the American Indians currently residing in North America are indeed descendants from Shang Dynasty Chinese who crossed the ocean 3000 years ago. 

The article announced that archaeologist at the Olmec cultural ruins of south central Mexico found 16 statues and 6 celts in an excavation there. The LaVenta sacrificial altar was buried several meters deep. The artistic writings on the celts were carved the same way as Shang Chinese hieroglyph.  This article suggested that the writing on one of the celts is rows of names of Shang Dynasty ancestors.  It also concluded that today's American Indians and Maya who live on the massive land of America are indeed the escapees of Shang Dynasty who crossed the Pacific Ocean 3000 years ago. 

Questioning the reliability of gene analysis

Why are American Indians' composures much different than Asians' if they indeed came from mainland China during the Shang Dynasty? 

Some scholarly studies show that ethnological adaptability causes the differences.  Assuming that American Indians came from mainland China, their composures would change over time because of a different living environment. 

Shi Xiu Liao, Chief of Genetics Research, Medical Department, People’s University in Henan said that there are similarities between different ethnic groups as well as distinctions. For now, genetics testing can only make partial conclusion about whether two ethnic groups are actually from the same origin.  This is because there are three aspects to consider when using genetics testing:

  1. Do the samples represent the whole?
  2. Are quantities of samples adequate? And where do the samples come from?
  3. What part of the cell is adopted for use when collecting samples?

Liao expressed that external environmental change can cause gene mutation.  Cultural and geographical factors all play a role in influencing genetic mutation. For example: people who live on a plateau with a high altitude can tolerate a lower oxygen level than people who live on a plain. In summary, genes change in a direction that is favorable to their survival.  This change only shows over numerous generations. 

The writing of hieroglyphs on celts in Mexico is not Chinese. 

The theory that Shang Chinese crossed the ocean and landed in America has been hotly debated in recent years among the experts in archaeology and ethnology. Among the scholars who oppose this are Nai Xia, and Rongqu Luo. 

With rigorous textual research Luo accrued much information. He contended that sailing was an impossible presumption. Luo wrote that the ancient American civilization and its artifacts were created independently by hardworking Indians who originated and developed from that land over a long period of time. He thought they were definitely not adopted from another culture.  Although some artifacts and objects which accidentally matched those in Asian civilization can be found in ancient American civilization, there are many more objects that are distinct. These American objects carry very unique qualities that are no where to be found in old Chinese culture. 

In addition, in 1953, American archaeologist found 16 statues and 6 celts at the sacrificial center of Olmec ruins in Mexico. Dayou Wang thought it was Shang Dynasty hieroglyph writing. He translated into a list of names of Chinese ancestors; such as: Tse You, Shaw Hao, Di Tse, Jian Di, Duo Yeh, Chi, Shandu, Wang Hai, Shang Chia etc. 

Tse Chiou had doubts about these writing and their translation and presented his arguments on the New Wave website. Chiou said that “According to Dayou Wang,” the hieroglyph writing on La Venta celts is actually a combination of three different kinds of old Chinese hieroglyph writings, namely Ta-Wen-Ko culture hieroglyph, Shang hieroglyph, and Three-Generation-Gee-King hieroglyph writing.  He believed it very questionable that the owners of the LaVenta celts were truly Shang Chinese. 

Why are there just as many differences as similarities when comparing writings on La Venta celts  and those of Shang Chinese? The similarities occur only in simpler words. It is more difficult to match  complicated character designs. Some of the more elaborate ones do not even look alike. For example, one of the ancestor's names was only partially the same. It is shaped like a bird.  However, the LaVenta bird shape, which is supposedly the same word, is curved very differently than the Shang hieroglyph bird shape is. He argued that the former is an exact bird shape and the latter is an abstract representation. In short, the Shang hieroglyphs are more sophisticated. 

On the surface, these same time frame and writing similarities provide support to the theory that Shang Chinese escaped overseas and landed in America. However, what caused such a big change of Shang Chinese's hieroglyph writing within just a few decades? Some of change is even regression (simpler characters), instead of progression (more sophisticated).   If La Venta celts were made for honoring ancestors, the writing would have had to be done in a delicate and holy manner. Shang Chinese were very superstitious. Special, highly educated scholars served the royals. They would have continued educating future generations and passing down traditional Shang hieroglyph writing. 

In Yin-Shang's book, there was no mention from Pangung through the next 200 years of ceremonies or memorials honoring ancestors. One would wonder why would after 200 years of no ancestor worship, that Yin-Shang Chinese would restart these religious practices in America?

Translated By Iris (I-Chi) Britton

Rebuttal by Charlotte Harris Rees to counterpoints in the above Chinese article

I am excited about this article because it shows that some Chinese scholars recognize their ancient connections with Native Americans. 

However, I feel that the counter arguments in the article are weak. 

  1. Sailing to America is not an “impossible feat” and has been demonstrated in recent years by several independent groups in very small craft. See explanation of this and the points below in my book Secret Maps of the Ancient World.
  1. It has long been established through DNA that the natives of the Americas came from Asia and did not “originate and develop” separately. One would presume that not every artifact in America would match Asian ones.
  2. The counterpoint argues that Olmec writing is at best simplified Shang and therefore a digression. Is this in effect arguing that China’s recent simplification of their writing is a digression?  It takes much imagination and work to simplify and condense. That people in a new land slightly change their writing is seen over the world.
  3. U.S. News and World Report  November 4, 1996 stated that Han Ping Chen, China’s leading authority on Shang Chinese, viewed the Olmec celts from La Venta and identified Shang Chinese characters on them and pointed them out in his well worn Shang dictionaries. How can any lesser authority dispute him?
  4. Perhaps there was no mention of ancestor worship for the 200 years prior to the end of the Shang because it was so common. Historians tend to write about the uncommon. Besides, ancestor worship continued in China for thousands of years after that so why not with the Chinese who went to the Americas?
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