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April 28, 2005

Zheng He’s First Voyage Is Subject of Symposium To Be Held on May 16

Event Marks 600th Anniversary of Zheng He’s 1405 Voyage

The Asian Division in the Library of Congress will commemorate the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s first voyage with a symposium on "The Significance of Admiral Zheng He’s Voyages, 1405-1433" from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 16, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, which is offered in cooperation with the U. S. Zheng He’s Voyages Celebration Council, the Greater Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Chinese American Librarians Association and the Asian Division Friends Society, is free and open to the public. Registration is required, (contact Jeffrey Wang, (202) 707-2932, jwan@loc.gov. Zheng He was a Chinese explorer and major figure in the history of navigation. Carrying out the orders of Zhu Di, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, He undertook a series of expeditions between 1405 and 1433. With a fleet of 200 ships and a crew of 28,000 men, these historic voyages are considered to be the largest maritime expeditions in world history. The purpose of He’s voyages was to spread peace and good will; colonization was never the objective.

The symposium will feature Zheng He scholars and experts who will discuss the latest discoveries about various aspects of Zheng He’s expeditions. Judy S. Lu, head of Collections Services in the Library’s Asian Division, will moderate the morning session. Speakers include Jin Wu, Distinguished Professor of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering and director of the Research Institute for Public Affairs, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; John Wills, professor of Chinese history and the history of the early modern world at the University of Southern California; Gavin Menzies, retired British Royal Navy Captain and the author of "1421: The Year China Discovered America;" and anthropology professor Gunnar Thompson.

John R. Hébert, chief of the Library’s Geography and Map Division, will moderate the afternoon session. Speakers include mathematics professor Robert Cribbs; Lam Yee Din, control engineering expert and mathematics scholar; DNA expert Tony Frudakis; Robin Lind, an expert on Zheng He’s trading routes; Tai Peng Wang, a journalist and an expert on maps; Ming Sun Poon, expert researcher with the Chinese and Mongolian Area Team in the Library’s Asian Division; and Mi Chu Wiens, coordinator of the Chinese and Mongolian Area Team in the Library’s Asian Division.

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PR 05-105
04/28/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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