Debunking “No such thing as pure Han Chinese”

Original Chongqing Evening Paper article: Daily article, dated Feb 8, 2010:
English blogosphere discusses, such as here: 

Chinese netizens discuss, research, and debunk the rumour and fake news: and and 

The Professor in Question responds to the Feb 2010 article: 

Hanwang’s explanation and debunking thread: 

Xie Xiaodong, PhD, Dept. of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University

Xie Xiaodong 謝小冬 (often miswritten as 謝小東), a professor of Lanzhou University Life Sciences Department, released a news article in August 2005 regarding the possibility of descendents of Roman Legions living in the area. This caused a flurry of public reaction and further pressed the then-building notion of emphasizing the non-existance of a Han majority, eventually inferred and rewritten by netizens and Chinese newspaper reporters alike to prove that “racially pure Han Chinese” do not exist. This caused outrage among the majority of (Han) Chinese netizens in not only China, but also around the world – in particular Taiwan and Malaysia – and decried it as foul play by subversion by “remnants of Manchu Qing” forces. 

As for the February 2010 article, netizens were quick to recognize that the new article, titled “Pure Han Chinese don’t exist [纯汉人不存在]” by Wang Rong (王蓉) of Chongqing Evening Paper (重慶晚報), is largely a copy and rephrasing of the 2006 fabrications titled “Decoding the Migration of the Chinese Race: DNA tests show pure Han Chinese no longer exist [中国人种迁徙解密 DNA检测纯种汉族人已不存在]”. Dr. Xie has publicized a response on Lanzhou University Bar on Baidu (not open to the public, all available sources are reposts), which is reposted in the original Simplified Chinese, and translated below: 

《重庆晚报》博闻周刊 2010年02月07日 第20版所刊登的“中国纯种汉族人如今无存 曾生活在中原地区”这条新闻纯属《上海晚报》记者李宁源两年前虚假报道的翻版,纯属抄剩饭,本人已经在剑桥大学呆了一年,从未有国内的记者采访过我,我也未曾在任何场合公布过所谓的“研究成果”,请问此消息是从哪里来的呢?图片是从哪里来的呢?请问相关单位和个人,你们的新闻道德何在?社会责任何在?
  看到网上的评论,大有树欲静而风不止之势,为了澄清真相,以正视听,我在这里可以负责地告诉大家,这篇报道纯属假新闻!连我的个人信息都是错误的。可见假新闻之甚! 当年李宁源记者来兰州的目的是采访我主持的骊阡人研究项目,在被明确告之该项目仍在进行中,暂无正式结果的情况下,于当天发表了《甘肃“罗马军团”是阿富汗雇佣兵—DNA正式鉴定完毕 确定为中亚与西亚地区混合血统》一文,竟以他人的名义发表了所谓该项目已经结束,得出结论这一轰动性的新闻!并在各大网站被转载!该新闻在次日新华社驻兰记者站向我求证的时候被我做了澄清。没想到正在此过程中,李宁源记者的又一篇更吸引公众眼球的爆炸性新闻出笼了——《中国人种迁徙解密 DNA检测纯种汉族人已不存在》! 《重庆晚报》博闻周刊的“中国纯种汉族人如今无存 曾生活在中原地区”正是来源于此。实际上,我们实验室在群体遗传学方向上只做过西北少数民族群体遗传学研究,在我们的研究领域里根本无此课题,也无此所谓科研成果和数据,我本人也从未发布过DNA检测纯种汉族人已不存在这样的耸人听闻的结果!这不是明目张胆地新闻造假,处心积虑地恶意炒做还能是什么呢?所以,真相就是大众受愚弄了,专家受冤枉了,而记者没事偷着乐了!

Chongqing Evening Paper Weekly Magazine 《重庆晚报》博闻周刊, on page 20 of its February 7, 2010 publication, the article “Pure Han Chinese no longer exist: Formerly lived in the Central Plains region “中国纯种汉族人如今无存 曾生活在中原地区”” is but a pirated version of Li Ningyuan’s article from the Shanghai Evening two years ago, and is but merely a collection of leftover rice. I have already been in residence in Cambridge [University] for over a year, and no journalist has interviewed me from inside China during this time. Neither have I announced any so-called “research results”. may I ask from where did this information come from? Where did the photo come from? May I ask the reporter and his department – where is your journalistic morality? Where is your social responsibility? 

After seeing the commentary online, it is evident that rumors are abound and unstoppable. For the sake of the truth and debunking perceptions, I can responsibly tell everyone that this is fake news! Even my personal information is wrong, so you can see the degree of its falseness! Back then Li Ningyuan interviewed me in Lanzhou for the research project on Liqian people, and it was made clear that the project was still under research, and while under the state of having no official consions yet, he published that day the article Gansu “Roman Legion” are mercenaries from Afghanistan – DNA tests are completed, confirmed as mixed blood from Central and Western Asia 《甘肃“罗马军团”是阿富汗雇佣兵—DNA正式鉴定完毕 确定为中亚与西亚地区混合血统》. How dare he used another person’s name to disclose that the project is completed, with produce news of such controversy, and furthermore was reposted on major web portals! I was asked by a reporter in Lanzhou working for Xinhua for clarification – but I never thought that during then, Li Ningyuan’s other even more attractive article was unveiled – “Decoding the Migration of the Chinese Race: DNA tests show pure Han Chinese no longer exist [中国人种迁徙解密 DNA检测纯种汉族人已不存在]”! Chongqing Evening News‘s variety weekly publication “Pure Han Chinese no longer exist: Formerly lived in the Central Plains region “中国纯种汉族人如今无存 曾生活在中原地区”” in fact originates from here. In actuality, our laboratory has only studied group genetics on ethnic minorities in Northwestern China, and our research scope never once had such a topic [of Han genetics], nor do we have results or data from this so-called research, and I personally have never released any sensationalized results such as DNA tests proving that pure Han Chinese no longer exist! Isn’t this a wide-eyed news fabrication, and a malevolent hype-up? Therefore, the truth is: The masses are fooled, the experts are framed, and the journalists are giggling  with glee from behind!

After the incident [in 2007], I have contacted in that afternoon assistant manager Zhao Yi 赵毅, requesting that they retract the article immediately, and provide a public explanation to the public and myself of the debacle. That newspaper company immediately agreed to retract its articles on its own website and, but refused to make a public explanation. Later on, Li Ningyuan has made a verbal apology to me via telephone. With a forgiving attitude, I thought that the case would be closed, but never have I thought that two years later, Chongqing Evening News would re-fry the news. The reasons behind it is beyond my comprehension.

The reporter has not abided by the basic principles of journalism or their code of ethics in reporting, and the news agency has not strictly guarded their standard, causing a serious distortion of truth, dealing to the victims great damage to personal and academic credit. It has misguided the public, interferes with daily research work, and damaged the image of the media. Furthermore, it has influenced the stability and harmony of the country, and the greater solidarity of the Chinese Ethnicity. I hope that our journalists from now on can follow the basic rules of conduct and code of ethics in their work, taking responsibility as journalists in creating a trustworthy and harmonious society. Those units and individuals who solely rely on fake news to attract public eyeballs and attention, in the end, will end up like the counterfeiters of all kinds, and get their judgement served by the justice of society!

Xie Xiaodong 謝小冬

In 2007, Xie and Lanzhou University has already posted an article on their website, Tianya and, denying the statements that Han Chinese do not exist, and is pure fabrication or supposition by the press. The original text [translated] is below: 

This news article constantly pops up in some of my results on my discussion Bar, and its first source is a report by a Shanghai Evening News reporter named Li Ningyuan 李宁源 on February 13 [2007]. As soon as wind got out ontot he web, my students and fellow teachers all wished that I go online and tell everone the truth, but I have not taken action for a long time. The reason is simple – my work is simply too busy. I am still working in the lab on the afternoon before Chinese New Year,  and only busier after school reopens. I have been sleeping 5 hours a day, and I seriously do not have any energy to fight with words online. But, upon hearing about this incident repeatedly on the discussion Bar, and the rumour situation seemingly to only grow further out of hand, for the sake of the truth and debunking perceptions, I have taken some time to give my two cents: I can responsibly tell everyone that this news report is a complete fabrication! Everyone’s excitement and seriousness is misled by a ridiculous piece of fake news! 

Li Ningyuan interviewed me on February 12 in Lanzhou primarily on my research topic on Liqian people, and I clearly told the reporter that the research is still ongoing, and while the official results are still in progress, he published Gansu “Roman Legion” are mercenaries from Afghanistan – DNA tests are completed, confirmed as mixed blood from Central and Western Asia 《甘肃“罗马军团”是阿富汗雇佣兵—DNA正式鉴定完毕 确定为中亚与西亚地区混合血统》. How dare he used another person’s name to claim that the research is already complete, and provide such a controversial piece of news, and was reposted on major websites! A journalist from Xinhua News Agency in Lanzhou called the next day to ask for a reconfirmation from me, and I have made a disambiguation statement then. I never thought that during this process, reporter Li Ninyuan has made an even more explosive news to attract public attention – “Decoding the Migration of the Chinese Race: DNA tests show pure Han Chinese no longer exist [中国人种迁徙解密 DNA检测纯种汉族人已不存在]”! (This is the source of the problem that everyone is talking about online). Everyone who knows our lab would know that our experiments are limited to research on genetics on Chinese Northwestern ethnic minorities, and have no topic [on Han genetics] in this field, nor any related so-called results or data. Neither have I personally distributed any sensationalized DNA results such as proving that pure Hans no longer exist! To let someone from historiography talk about my subject in genetics, and to let someone like me in genetics to talk about results in anthropology, this kind of supplanting and fabrication of two news articles to fool the masses, is just too underhanded, and too shameless! 

  Reposted from Tiexue Community [ 转自铁血社区 ]
After these two counterfeit news articles were released, the scope of its influence, the seriousness of its after-effects, and the potency of its damage, made me think at first if it was payback from certain “vendettas”. But, after some thinking, I personally have “debuted” rather late, my personality has been a modest one, and it is hard to think of any “enemies” with my head buried at work all day. I hear that journalists from smaller publications rely on the royalties from news reposting, so no wonder that no matter it was almost New Year’s, he came from Shanghai to Lanzhou, with full realization of the truthful context, to throw out two pieces of what can be called “heavyweight bombs” of a controversial “news”. What else could it be, other than a premeditated fabrication of counterfeit news, and malevolent hyping up? Therefore, the truth is: The masses have been fooled, the expert has been framed, and the journalist has laughing in the dark! 

After the incident, I contacted the assistant manager of that paper’s news department that afternoon, requesting that they retract the news script, and openly explain the situation to the public and myself. That news agency agreed to retract the article from their own website and, but refused to make a public explanation. Later on, Li Ningyuan made a verbal apology to me on the telephone. This incident is still in the midst of negotiation. Li Ningyuan has failed to abide by basic principles and morality of journalism, causing critical distortion and greatly damaging to me and the Genetics Institute at Lanzhou University. It has misguided the public towards the decisions in judging scientific research, and has interfered with daily research, while moreover damaging the media image. He must take responsibility for his actions! He must publicly apologize and explain the truth! He must be dealt with seriously! From the situation of fallacy-prone articles, this reporter may have just entered the workplace – but as a teacher, I hope that from here on, he must follow the basic principles and morality of journalism in his work. Trying to make a living from fake news would rank him among counterfeiters of every kind, and not only would cost him his work, but also attract the sentence of justice from society! 

Taking this opportunity, I would like to show my thanks to the classmates and teachers who care and support our Genetics department! The Genetics Research Institute and Doctorate Program has only been established last year, but since 2004, our laboratory has been open to the teachers of our entire province’s high schools, researchers, and undergraduates, and we hope to maintain contact with those who are enthusiastic in genetics and the Genome Project, and we welcome fresh blood to enter our team! 

Xie Xiaodong 谢小冬 [Transl: Article publicized on February 17, 2007; 30th of the 12th month, 4704] 


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