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Tales of China that dazzled a king

By Zhao Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-11 07:15


Proper burial

Choe died in 1504 aged 51, executed on the order of Yeonsangun, a tyrannical and somewhat tragic king who was avenging the death of his own birth mother that had happened two decades ago.

Yeonsangun was deposed two years later by his half brother, and the new king posthumously rehabilitated Choe, who was given a proper burial in his hometown.

"Throughout my research, I could feel the pride Choe is able to arouse in his compatriots who know about his story, even today," Ni says. "Believe it or not, university professors, students and amateur historians come to China from South Korea to trace his footsteps."

During his early days in China, Choe met a member of the local gentry in Jiantiao, one of the many checkpoints he passed. The man befriended Choe and wrote him a farewell poem on the Korean's departure. The piece was later included in the local history archive, becoming the only piece of archival material from the Chinese side that testifies to Choe's time in China.

Choe made his own reciprocal gesture: in his memoir, he recorded the dialogue between the two in detail.

"For a very brief moment in history, the lives of the two men intersected," Ni says. "Later they went on their own separate paths, having no idea what happened to each other. Now they are having a posthumous reunion."

Tales of China that dazzled a king

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