Hidden character stone
Hidden character stone (藏字石 / 救星石) is a stone located in a scenic spot area in Zhangbu village (掌布乡), Pingtang County, Qiannan Buyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou, People's Republic of China. The stone displays patterns on its surface that have been interpreted as Simplified Chinese characters and Traditional Chinese characters, and have been read as "Communist Party of China" (中國共產党), or alternatively as "Communist Party of China perish" (中國共產党亡).
Hidden character stone is a main attraction along with (玉水金盆) that is part of the Qiannan Pingtang National Geological park (黔南平塘地质公园). The park has an area of about 201.6 square kilometers. The stone is in a narrow gap between two cliffs, wide enough to fit just two people.
In June 2002, the Duyun international photography exposition (都匀国际摄影博览会) recommended an area in Zhangbu as a photo spot. The stone was discovered during cleanup after the expo. The area has been isolated, untouched by humans for a long time. The person cleaning the area was staff member Wang Guo-fu (王国富), who discovered the characters written on the stone.
From December 5–8, 2003 a Chinese scientific inspection group was formed to investigate the stone with about 15 scientists. Some of the notables include Li Ting-dong (李廷栋) from Chinese academy of Sciences, Liu Bao-jun (刘宝君) from Chinese academy of Sciences and Li Feng-lin (李凤麟) from China University of Geosciences. The stone was analyzed to be about 270 million years old from the Permian period. There are no traces of the characters being made by humans. Other researchers included Li Feng-lin (李鳳麟) and Gu Jing-yi (賈精一).
Li Ting-dong further commented about the stone's contribution to science, and that there is nothing like it. Liu Bao-jun further support additional research to be done and was interested in the natural formation of the characters on the stone. Each character on the stone is about one square shaku, which is about 1 square foot.
5 character version
The 5 character version suggests the characters on the stone said "Communist Party of China" (中国共产党). This is the version publicly accepted in the PRC. Also when referring to this version, the stone has been called (救星石), literally "save star stone". This name comes from people who are passionate in supporting and admire the communist party. The story of how the stone was discovered usually follows this version. Zhang Dahua (张大华) of Zhangbu village once publicly gave an explanation of how the name "save star stone" was created.
6 character version
The 6 character version suggests the characters on the stone said "Communist Party of China perish" (中国共产党亡). There has been criticism that the 6th and last word "perish" (亡) has been purposely neglected to turn a "Perish communist stone" (亡共石) into a "save star stone". This is not a version accepted in the PRC, hence when mainland media reports it, it has to hide the perish character. Often when pictures are shown with the stone having 6 characters, the description still refers to it by the 5 character version. In Chinese text the character "perish" (亡) is often used in association with the perish of a state like "Chu perish" (楚亡), "Wei perish" (魏亡).
Traditional and Simplified chinese
The characters on the stone are a mix of Traditional Chinese characters and Simplified Chinese characters. The first and third character (中, 共) has no difference. The second character "country" (國) and fourth character "produce" (產) is in the traditional form. The fifth character, "party" (党) is in the simplified form. The sixth character "perish" (亡) has no difference. Some have analyzed all the odd characters as simplified, while the even characters are traditional.
- On the stone: 中國共產党亡
- Traditional Chinese: 中國共產黨亡
- Simplified Chinese: 中国共产党亡
Some early analysis
There were some early speculations that the characters were put there by the People's Liberation Army, but according to the path of the Long March, they never went to Pingtang. The characters also read left to right, which was not practiced at the time. The inclusion of a Simplified character before the CPC did any simplifications also ruled them out. There were also some skeptics who suspected the village was creating a fraud to build their tourism industry at the time.
The hidden character stone has appeared as a topic on a number of shows such as CCTV's "Approaching science" (走近科学) and Hong Kong ATV show "China's mystery files" (中國神祕檔案). Both refer to the 5 character version.
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- "新民晚報－貴州平塘 玉水金盆處處景". Life.chinatimes.com. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- "贵州藏字石（神州搜奇）(组图)-搜狐新闻". News.sohu.com. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
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- "看中國 - 《新看點》：懸疑！從貴州藏字石到太湖冤魂、安陽靈異案(圖)". Dongtaiwang.com. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
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- ATV China's mystery files (中國神祕檔案) episode on save star stone
- ""救星石" 两亿七千万年的神秘天书-搜狐新闻". News.sohu.com. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- 作者：华风. ""亡共石"变"救星石"趣谈 (图)". Renminbao.com. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
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- "惊看平塘"藏字石"(图)_新闻中心_新浪网". News.sina.com.cn. 2005-03-10. Retrieved 2011-06-27.