Shown above is a map of Encyclopedia Britannica. It accepts the claim of China that the Great Wall stretched into Korea. Captured photo from Britannica website

Ever-extending range of the Great Wall questioned

This is the final of the three-part series about highlighting wrong information about South Korea on foreign websites or books. Korea News Plus works together with Voluntary Agency Network for Korea (VANK) for the series. _ ED.


Midway through 2012, China announced that the Great Wall was, in fact, some 2.5 times longer than previously thought, thus covering an area longer than 20,000 kilometers, which is more than half the circumference of the earth.

There were disputes about whether the motives of the hard-to-believe figure’s announcement were purely archaeological. In particular, Koreans found it very difficult to accept as the newly defined Wall stretches to the country’s border.

Many Koreans think that it’s China’s historical maneuvering.

The problem is that some books and websites accept China’s 2012 announcement to come up with maps reflecting the figure of 20,000 kilometers _ some four times the span of the U.S. coast to coast.

Encyclopedia Britannica is one of them. On its online edition, the encyclopedia shows a map where the Great Wall is running through the border between Korea and China.

In particular, the map shows the territory of the ancient Han Empire of China included almost all areas of the Korean peninsula.

“When the Great Wall was registered as UNESCO World Heritage in the late 1980s, its length was dubbed as around 6,000 kilometers,” VANK founder Park Gi-tae said.

“The Chinese government extended the length to almost 9,000 kilometers in 2009 and to 21,000 kilometers in 2012, stretching into Korea. Next time, it may say that the Wall was built around the globe.”

Short for Voluntary Agency Network for Korea, VANK is a non-governmental outfit designed to promote a positive image of Korea by requesting foreign internet sites or agencies to correct wrong data about the country.

“The hitch is that more and more maps and websites accept the unilateral claim of the Chinese government. We should not stay silent about this,” Park said.

He said that such sites wikivoyage.org and nationsonline.org are showing such problematic maps.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.