Talk:Zheng He

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Year of Death?[edit]

Assuming he died on the last voyage, which ended in 1433, it is safe to assume he died in 1433, not 1435 as in the introduction. (talk) 21:52, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

We need a reference that states 1433 is the year of Zheng's death. Editors cannot make their own inferences. I cannot find any reference that puts his death at 1433. Jojalozzo 02:30, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Dreyer (2006) discusses the year of Zheng He's death in his book - the following is a summary of Dreyer's analysis. There is no direct record of Zheng He's death. Zheng He disappears from the historical record after 1433. He probably died in 1433, during or shortly after his last voyage. Xu Yuhu argues that he died in 1435, using indirect evidence. Zheng He served as commandant of Nanjing and as eunuch Grand Director of Ceremonial. Both of these posts received new appointments in 1435. Xu Yuhu believes this is because these posts became vacant when Zheng He died. Dreyer argues that Zheng He was probably already dead by 1435, a more likely reason for the new appointments was that the new emperor, Zhu Qizhen, came to power in that year. Cowrider (talk) 03:17, 31 March 2012 (UTC)



Who did the intro and first paragraph? It is not in standard form where the original name of the person should be presented as well as his original name in Chinese is presented. Something like "he also spoke Arabic and Chinese" is in the wrong place and absolutely does not belong in the intro. Angry bee (talk) 17:55, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Actually, per MOS-ZH, we shouldn't be including a mess of Chinese and Arabic into the first sentence if there is an infobox sidebar presenting the same information. One would assume that he spoke Chinese, but his fluency in Arabic is a valid point. — LlywelynII 13:59, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


Islam and Southeast Asia[edit]

A pleasant surprise to see no big section on the fairy stories of Gavin Menzies, but the section 'Islam and Southeast Asia' has numerous baseless or sourceless assertions. I removed some, if they are restored to the article, please give a reason.Borgmcklorg (talk) 07:17, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

The main part under 'Malacca' is confused, although citing a very recent Chinese source, the introductory sentence contradicted this.Borgmcklorg (talk) 07:46, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Some people have been reverting it to the old version, which is designed to deliver a false concocted narrative (won't spell it out, it is easy to see) based mainly on a sequence of baseless and irrelevant points. I took a lot of care to fix what I could in that section while not cutting anything I wasn't sure of. The article still has many problems, but the changes have improved it. Anyone reverting the article to the previous form again without a response here to give the reasons is not acting in good faith.Borgmcklorg (talk) 10:44, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
There is also no direct connection between specifically Zheng He (as opposed to other treasure-fleet admirals) and the Peranakan. Also no direct or necessary connection between the real Peranakan and Islam.Borgmcklorg (talk) 11:09, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
People keep reverting it to a version that has easily demonstrable problems of fact and derivation, aside from the pseudo-narrative it was meant to create. With no attempt to argue any of it here, it is really bad faith Borgmcklorg (talk) 10:13, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Well unfortunately this article (like many other article touching religious subjects) is prone to POV edits by true believers. If there's content that's not properly sourced and/or added by editors unwilling to provide a justification, feel free to remove it.--Kmhkmh (talk) 11:23, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The article is protected. If there are a few users (or ISPs) responsible for the majority of the vandalism (er... theoretically helpful but sadly undersourced points), surely we can do something about that. The SE Asia section is just awful. — LlywelynII 12:38, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
For those interested in improving this part of the article, some sources below. — LlywelynII 16:43, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Was Zheng He Muslim at all?[edit]

Yes, he's ethnically Hui, but that just means his ancestors were Muslim. Yes, there are traditions in SE Asia that lay claim to him, but they're not exactly unbiased reliable sources.

Thing is, the article right now states in the opening line and without a source that he is Muslim; states that his Hui family in Yunnan was Muslim (again without a source); and then goes on to record that our only certain sources on the guy are the numerous inscriptions and temples he paid for and erected to a Taoist water goddess... which, frankly, is a slightly un-Muslim thing to do, even in China. — LlywelynII 14:31, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Muslim troops invading Yunnan for the Ming[edit]

Someone asked about this earlier as well. It's back and still unsourced. I'll bring over some of the ones from Ming conquest of Yunnan. — LlywelynII 14:55, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Minor Point: Zheng He's 里 was not half a kilometer[edit]

There's an informal metric li in use in the PRC of 500m, just like the catty (斤, jin) became 500g, but the distance mentioned by Zheng He is the traditional li (see Li (unit)) which varied continuously but was something closer to 300m or 350m at the time.

Not that you should take figures like 10k or 100k in Chinese records as in any way exact in the first place, but the current conversions of even the wild estimates are off by a factor of 2. Since the li article doesn't mention a Ming-era distance, I'm just going to replace all conversions with links; if someone can fix that, restore the conversions but with real numbers. — LlywelynII 04:46, 12 October 2012 (UTC)


"Received the name Zheng He" for what?[edit]

Currently, the article includes the sentence

For his valor in this war, the eunuch received the name "Zheng He" from his master

with no clarification of its meaning or its relation to the war. has no meaning and therefore can't really be a military decoration, unless what is implied is that he pacified — i.e., brought "harmony" () — the area of the former State of Zheng. Is that what was meant? or was he adopted into the Zheng family for some reason? or was there essentially no meaning behind it other than finding something less plebeian than "San Bao"? — LlywelynII 06:43, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

According to Levathes, "Zheng" was in honor of the battle of Zhenglunba (near Beijing) where Zheng He (then, Ma He) participated: look here. -- Vmenkov (talk) 16:00, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Nifty. Thanks. — LlywelynII 06:49, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Was he a hajji?[edit]

Subsidiary point: Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin is nowhere near common enough in English to deserve going in the lede with "Zheng He" and "Cheng Ho". (A) is this an Arabic form of his name known throughout the Middle East or an alternate form of his name in Arabic archives? (B) was he a hajji like his father and grandfather? When did he complete the pilgrimage? The article doesn't indicate he did. — LlywelynII 02:05, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Archive [4] (without an actual cite) says Chinese sources mention him as 哈只, "especially when conducting diplomacy with Muslims". Given that treaties from the trip don't seem to have been recorded, I'm unsure where that idea comes from, though. We need an actual source for it, even if he didn't complete the hajj and it is undeserved. — LlywelynII 12:29, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
This source, at least, pointedly says he was too busy and never made the hajj himself. — LlywelynII 19:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
In the The Malay Annals of Semarang and Cirebon, Mahmud (Cheng Ho) is called Hajj, suggesting that he had made the pilgrimage to Mecca; this is groundless. When Cheng Ho’s achievements in spreading Islam in Java are being evaluated, no subjective denial or exaggeration is allowed. Research on this should be based on convincing facts and strict reasoning, not only because historical studies emphasize facts and reality, but also because Islamic issues are sensitive topics in a country like Indonesia where the majority of the population is Muslim.[1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by BnaiBrithChai (talkcontribs) 10:33, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Sources for article expansion[edit]

— LlywelynII 07:32, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Trade mission to Japan in 1404[edit]

In Archive [1], I found this:

The Chinese wikipedia states that he led 100,000 man to Japan at 1404, and signed the Kango trade treaty with Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Skyfiler (talk • contribs) 18:38, 17 January 2006

There's a link to the Japanese wiki article on the treaty. Is anyone here's Chinese and/or Japanese and/or Google Translate parsing good enough to check on this and find if they have any reliable sources on that claim? It's worth including, if we can back it up. — LlywelynII 12:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I looked at the ref section in the article and it uses a book with ISBN 978-4-642-01449-6. A google search comes up with nothing, but someone else should check too. - M0rphzone (talk) 08:00, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Sorry I don't understand what ref your are talking about. Does it relate to the trade mission? What is it called? Jojalozzo 19:07, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Purpose of Expeditions?[edit]

We could use more sources regarding the bit of the History of Ming scholars consider to suggest that finding the Jianwen Emperor was a priority. Archive [1] has a long Chinese passage (sadly unsourced) where they suggest the principal mission early on was outflanking Tamerlane... finding their own Prester John, almost. — LlywelynII 12:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Edward L. Dreyer makes this point as well. You really ought to get his 2007 book (it is a popular biography, but more scholarly than Levathes') if you want to seriously work on expanding this article. -- Vmenkov (talk) 15:05, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


It's always a mess once you get more than a few archives (who would ever bother to look through them?), so combined 1 & 2 and sorted the topics so easier to find earlier discussions.

Just looking at the dates or the # of sections, I could see an argument for combining 4 & 5 as well, but the arguments on America run pretty long. Then again, if everything is mostly on the same page, it's easier to search. — LlywelynII 13:59, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


This section is very confused. It describes his capture, says he was castrated 4 years later by the "Ming authorities", then backs up and talks about his entering the service of a prince after his capture. Who had him castrated, and why? (talk) 02:07, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Globalizing South China  By Carolyn Cartier[edit]

Rajmaan (talk) 03:57, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Zheng He and Southeast Asia[edit]

Rajmaan (talk) 03:30, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Zheng He the Muslim[edit]

The evidence shows that Zheng He was a Muslim. Culturally he seems very tolerant and accepting of different religions and customs, which was common of Muslims throughout the middle-ages. Lets not forget that it was the Ottoman Turks who saved the Jews from persecution from the Catholics in Spain. It seems like some of the very biased editors here want to hide that Zheng He was a Muslim. Being tolerant of other faiths does not make you a Universalist. Wahabis/Salafis of modern times, do not represent the historical practices of Muslims from the past. In reality Wahabism is a relatively new phenomenon that was promoted by Western colonial powers during the 19th and 20th centuries. The evidence shows that Zheng He was a Muslim, who was brought up learning about Islam and Zheng He remained a tolerant and accepting Muslim throughout his life. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

One of the sources you added just said he was raised a Muslim, the other fails WP:RS - a school teacher's personal website. In addition, you deleted source data disputing this. If there is a dispute, we need to show that dispute - see WP:NPOV. Our article should reflect what the sources say - but the sources must meet our criteria. I don't care what religion he was. Dougweller (talk) 12:22, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't see the relevance of most of that comment... Anyway, you coincidentally didn't remove my Muslim bits while mass-deleting my other bits, mister Pot. Information should be reliably cited and reflect the source rather than this synthesis of yours (whether by wording, placement, et cetera). ---Cold Season (talk) 05:32, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

The Phrase eclectic and all-embracing is unwarranted[edit]

The Liujiagang and Changle inscriptions do not in any way suggest that Zheng He was eclectic and all-embracing, nor does it suggest that Tianfei worship was a dominant faith which he adhered to. These views seem to stem from biases stemming from a handful of superficial analysts, which are totally unwarranted. There is no authentic source which displays that Zheng He apostatized from Islam, nor is there a source which clearly shows without a doubt that he was eclectic. Making such arrogant statements clearly displays a bias.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I've reverted your edits but left in a qualification about that. Saying that visits to Muslim shrines" suggest that he was likely a Muslim." is clearly original research. Your entire effort on this article seems to be arguing that he was a Muslim all his life. Dougweller (talk) 21:50, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

I think it is important remove or change the following statement: "The Liujiagang and Changle inscriptions suggest that Zheng He's devotion to Tianfei (the patron goddess of sailors and seafarers) was the dominant faith to which he adhered, reflecting the goddess' central role to the treasure fleet." The Liujiagang and Changle inscriptions suggest that may be the dominant faith of the FLEET, but not personally of Zheng He's. Zheng He's fleet was diverse and therefore making such a radical claim on the personal individual of Zheng He is not sound or warranted. I think it is important to note that his visit to Islamic Shrines of holy Muslim men is a great indicator of his connection with the Islamic religion. I do not see why that is not stated as a reason to suggest that Islam was the dominant faith by which Zheng He adhered? With the information provided here in the article, it is rather difficult to make a definitive claim on his personal religious beliefs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:44, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Because our articles are written not using our opinions or some form of logic but by using what sources meeting our criteria at WP:RS say. The article carefully makes no definitive claims, it says "may have become eclectic" and that is sourced. Thanks though for coming here to discuss. Dougweller (talk) 16:42, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
That's the info that I saw and that's the info that reflects the used sources. Your reasons for removal or changing the meaning is inappropriate, the latter is even beyond bold. Also, I can easily cite that he paid respect to whatever culture or beliefs without personal conclusion on the man himself, whether by text placement or more-direct means. However, I've given you the courtesy to not outright remove (or move to a more-proper section) the uncited info and synthesis (i.e. stating that he made relations between China with Islamic countries) at this time while waiting for improvement. By all means, add what you wish about the beliefs of the topic if it's reliably cited. I haven't actively searched for it in that scope, just stumbled onto it while working on the article on the voyages. --Cold Season (talk) 00:31, 31 January 2014 (UTC)


Coimbatore is miles from the sea. From the Malabar coast, Zheng He would have had to cross the Palghat gap through the domains of the powerful Zamorin and from the Coromandel coast, it is too far. And Coimbatore was not famous at that time, so I really do not believe that he visited that region. Should he had made an inland trip, it is more likely that Zheng He had visited Madurai, which was the capital of the Pandyas. Please check and correct this error. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

The text doesn't state that as fact, it rather states the Chinese name Ganbali followed by "possibly Coimbatore". I think that should be sufficient to show doubt. --Cold Season (talk) 17:17, 9 December 2013 (UTC)