[KS] northeast asia project-UNESCO heritage sites

Hyung Pai hyungpai at eastasian.ucsb.edu
Tue Apr 6 12:12:31 EDT 2004

Dear professors,

In response to Prof. Jung's email, I want to emphasize that nowhere in 
my posting did I say whether the Chinese govt. was in the right. My 
point was we should get beyond the emotional ethnic claims over remains 
that are situated in Chinese territorial jurisdiction. South Korean 
scholars instead should try and develop friendly research and joint 
cooperative atmosphere in studying such important archaeological sites 
so that maybe in the future we can conduct joint excavations. This is 
the ideal, but however remote scenario from my perspective. As for the 
reconstruction issue, the tombs have been reconstructed and preserved 
since the early colonial period when Sekino Tadashi and Torii Ryuzo 
conducted fieldwork beginning in 1905. I saw the original sketches and 
illustrations by Sekino (published  in the Chosen Koseki Zufu Series 
published by the Colonial Goverment Office), which are now housed as 
part of his archives at the Architecture Dept at Tokyo University. By 
1911, there are clear signs of looting holes, as well Japanese attempts 
to protect the tombs such as the building of wooden doors, padlocks, 
and of course the posting of guards (to prevent looting). Esp. the 
Kwanggaet'o wang stele was the object of intense scrutiny since the 
historians beginning with Shiratori Kurakichi agreed that its 
inscriptions and location proved Japan's superior military might in 
Manchuria in ancient times (Conveniently dove-tailing with Meiji 
Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War). Because of these 
hypothetical Japanese imperial claims to Koguryo's racial and cultural 
heritage, the Manchukuo spent funds saving these tombs when they were 
developing Jian because of the lobbying efforts of Mikami Tsugio.  As 
for Prof. Koidl's email, my summary of the criteria of ranking does not 
come from WHO official web-site, but is based on my impressions reading 
many articles written by CRM representatives who attend these 
conferences so they can promote their national remains to the WHO 
committee for more funding. Nowadays because of globalization and the 
competition for international tourists, universal value seems to be 

On Apr 6, 2004, at 2:14 AM, Werner Koidl wrote:

> Dear Prof. Pai and list members,
> You wrote: " ... that being on the (World Heritage) list ... is a 
> highly competetive process requiring ... most importantly, its 
> historical "representativity" as a national symbol." 
> Where could you find this statement ?
> Reading the: Criteria for inclusion of properties in the World 
> Heritage List on the whc.unesco.org/nwhc/pages/ I just could find 
> the OUTSTANDING UNIVERSAL VALUE as most important criterion for 
> the nomination and selection process of the WHC.
> I guess, the UNESCO-WHC cannot and does not support representative 
> national symbols, its general principle is "to provide for the 
> protection of those cultural and natural properties to be of 
> outstanding universal value". 
> If somebody (any private person, group or government)  is convinced of 
> e.g. Kwanggaeto's stele being of "outstanding universal value" and 
> that this stele should be included in the World Heritage List, then he 
> has to support the Chinese government, because:
> The nomination prodecure of the World Heritage Convention starts 
> with: "STATE PARTIES make a tentative list of cultural and natural 
> properties ON THEIR TERRITORY that they consider of OUTSTANDING 
> Thus only China (in the case of e.g. Kwanggaeto's  stele) as a State 
> Party member of the World Heritage Convention can apply for properties 
> on Chinese territory being included on the World Heitage List and then 
> being responsible for the preservation (not reconstruction!) of these 
> properties according to articles of the Convention.
> As you mentioned next to "Outstanding Universal Value", the 
> "authenticity" of the property is a very important 
> criterion, which excludes reconstructions, so the Chinese might be 
> clever enough not to reconstruct their properties, to avoid loosing 
> the authenticity of these properties.
> By the way, there was an article in the Sept. 2000 Newsletter of the 
> Korea Foundation (Vol. 8, No. 5), where Ariane Perrin as a member of  
> an ICOMOS survey team to North Korean Heritage sites (in August 2000) 
> and author of this article predicted difficulties for North Korean 
> properties to be included in the List because of some properties 
> showing heavy reconstruction (e.g. Tongmyong's tomb) and thus lack of 
> authenticity.
> Finally, I guess, the Italians did not protest, when Germany nominated 
> the "Roman" Porta Nigra in the northwestern German town of Trier to 
> the List or the Lebanese people and government did not protest, when 
> the "Site of Cartagho" built by the Phoenicians in nowadays Tunisia 
> was nominated to the World Heritage Last. Probably the Lebanese are 
> even a little bit proud of it. 
> Werner Koidl
> ----- Original Message ----- 
>  From: Hyung Pai
> To: Korean Studies Discussion List
> Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2004 7:10 PM
> Subject: [KS] northeast asia project-UNESCO heritage sites
> Dear Mr. Lee and members,
> I also want to emphasize the importance of taking into account the 
> impact of cultural tourism and the PRC's economic motivation for 
> pushing the registration of these Koguryo tombs on the prestigious 
> list of World Heritage Sites. In the last report (2001) that I have 
> from the UNESCO World Heritage Organization, there are more than 500 
> historical sites/natural monuments worldwide and over 150 countries 
> who are members. S. Korea joined in 1998 and now has six monuments 
> registered including Sokkuram, Pulguksa, Haeinsa woodblock prints, 
> Suwon Hwasong fortress, Chongmyo, and most recently, Hwasun dolmen 
> sites in Cholla-do. I have kept up with the various symposiums 
> sponsored by bureaucrats, historians, and archaeologists who spent 
> many years of intense lobbying to list these dolmen sites as a unique 
> 'Korean" prehistoric heritage from the Bronze Age citing the usual 
> nationalistic propaganda about their significance as the first remains 
> as evidence of social stratification, state formation, and ancestral 
> architectural achievements.
> So, for your forum, I recommend that you contact the Seoul Unesco 
> Office and esp, the assistant director Ho-Kwon who will be able to 
> direct you to the kinds of publications, activities, monitoring of 
> sites, and administrative funding the World heritage sites commission 
> offers. My impression reading through the minutes of international 
> symposiums they hold every five years as well as talking to ICOM 
> (International Council on Museums) and ICOMOS (International Council 
> on Monuments) members in South Korea that being on the list is a 
> highly competitive process requiring documentation to prove historical 
> authenticity, that the materials/technology used at the sites are 
> still original, the preservation state of the monument is worthy of 
> salvaging and most importantly, its historical "representativity" as a 
> national symbol.
> These are the prime reasons why, the PRC is so intent in assert ing 
> their authority so as to claim them as 'their national sites" since 
> they want to have a monopoly over the tombs preservation, 
> reconstruction (which goes on today at a breakneck speed) and future 
> development for tourism and commercial revenue. Mark Byington has also 
> pointed out to me the irony of this situation since South Korean 
> tourists and no doubt Japanese tourists (Who together have the most 
> dispensable income to throw around) will comprise the majority of 
> potential visitors who will spend the money and effort to go to these 
> sites situated outside the main tourists venues in Beijing and 
> Shanghai. It is unfortunate and in my opinion a glaring omission on 
> the part of the various organizers that most of the international 
> symposiums and hundreds of articles in Korean/Japanese newspapers 
> published in the last six months demonstrate again how the 
> "ethno-centric" bias on the part of Korean academics have influenced 
> their debates over the sites "ethnic/artistic origins" rather than the 
> more immediate concerns over condemning the destruction of these sites 
> in the rushed excavations and reconstruction projects without adequate 
> research planning or published excavation reports.
> I hope in your forum being held in Berkeley will have a more open 
> debates on the larger global issues facing cultural sites and 
> monuments rather than rehashing the same nationalistic tropes which 
> leads nowhere since this debate first surfaced amongst N. Korean 
> scholars and Chinese officials decades ago.
> On Mar 31, 2004, at 9:38 PM, ken.kaliher at us.army.mil wrote:
>    Anthony Faiola’s thorough January 22 report in the Washington Post 
> ("Kicking Up the Dust of History") suggested one possible reason for 
> China’s Koguryo claims which seems very far from “silly.”  Faiola 
> wrote:
>    “...More is at stake than bragging rights to the extraordinary 
> bronze and clay Buddhas and frescoed murals of a long-dead 
> civilization.  Koguryo encompassed a vast area from central Manchuria 
> to south of Seoul.  Korean academics and politicians accuse China of 
> attempting to lay claim to the kingdom out of fear that its 
> 870-mile-long border with North Korea will rupture with a flood of 
> refugees if the government in Pyongyang collapses. 
>    “The Chinese may be laying the groundwork to dispute the current 
> border with North Korea and, if they find it to be in their interest, 
> claim more territory, scholars say.  They also argue that China is 
> trying to head off any attempt by pockets of Korean speakers on the 
> Chinese side of the border from eventually becoming part of a unified 
> Korea.”
> Ken Kaliher
> Seoul
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> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Jim Palais <palais at u.washington.edu>
> Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 6:29 pm
> Subject: Re: [KS] northeast asia project
> > Peter Lee:
>  > It seems like the Chinese government is being overly
>  > nationalistic. I
>  > can't think of any other reason for making a silly claim for Chinese
> > jurisdiction of Koguryo.
> > Jim Palais
>  > ----- Original Message -----
>  > From: "Sangkee Peter Lee" <sangkee at uclink.berkeley.edu>
> > To: <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> > Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 3:43 PM
>  > Subject: [KS] northeast asia project
> >
>  >
>  > > To whom it may concern:
>  > >
>  > > My name is Peter Lee and I'm a 2nd year political science
>  > student at UC
>  > Berkeley. I'm part of a
> > > student organization called Committee for Korea Studies. 5-6
>  > students have
>  > been meeting about
>  > > everyday for 2 weeks to learn more about the Northeast Asia
>  > Project- the
>  > history of goguryo and
>  > > the reason why Chinese govt is pursuing this. We decided the
> > best way to
>  > > inform the students here at Berkeley is to hold a forum where 3-4
>  > professors or experts can
>  > > lecture and answer questions. Do you have any recommendations? 
> Those
>  > living in the US will be most
>  > > ideal, but if they live in Korea it will be okay also. Thank
> > you. I'll
>  > look forward to hearing
>  > > from
>  > > you soon.
>  > >
>  > > Peter
>  > >
>  > >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  Hyung Il Pai
> Associate Professor
> East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies,
> HSSB Building, University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106
> Fax: 805) 893-3011, Phone: 805) 893-2245
> Email: Hyungpai at eastasian.ucsb.edu
> Dept. Web-site -http://www.eastasian.ucsb.edu/
Hyung Il Pai
Associate Professor
East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies,
HSSB Building, University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106
Fax: 805) 893-3011, Phone: 805) 893-2245
Email: Hyungpai at eastasian.ucsb.edu
Dept. Web-site -http://www.eastasian.ucsb.edu/
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