The year 2005 is the 600th anniversary of the great Ming Dynasty adventurer Zheng He's first voyage. The government is establishing a team to organize a series of commemorative activities, headed by Minister of Communications Zhang Chunxian. Other team members include officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, State Oceanic Administration, Shanghai municipal government, China Institute of Navigation and Chinese Society of Oceanography.
Zheng He made seven voyages to the west between 1405 and 1433. His travels took him through Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to reach the Red Sea and Africa, surpassing nearly all other seafaring explorations of the age. Zheng’s adventures embody the nation's advanced navigation technology of the period, its longstanding desire for friendly communication and economic and cultural exchange with other countries, and the courage and intelligence of its people.
Activities will include a conference and exhibition in Beijing and a television special to be aired in June and July 2005. Shanghai will host the Zheng He Sailing & International Sea Exposition, and will join Fujian and Jiangsu provinces in holding various academic exchanges.
Already a variety of sailing and sea knowledge competitions, lectures and summer camps have been launched, and will continue through 2005.
In addition, local governments and non-governmental organizations are planning events to be held in Nanjing, Taicang, Kunming, Changle, and Qingdao cities.
Commemorative stamps and coins will be issued in the first half of 2005.
The Ministry of Communications has added special Zheng He anniversary celebration pages to its website at http://www.moc.gov.cn/zhenghe/default.htm.
(China.org.cn July 8, 2004)