By LAO SHOUXING
XIAN (China Daily Show) – He may be as American as apple pie and as much a part of Christmas as the latest Call of Duty but according to one scholar, the real Santa Claus was actually Chinese.
Using information found in his attic, and backed-up by extensive research online, historian and sanitation worker Lin Kang has traced Santa’s history to 223 BC – and the Middle Kingdom.
Lord Shang Ke was an ancient figure, famous as the first man to codify China’s legal system in his Book of Law. Santa Claus is most likely a Roman bastardization of ‘Shang Ke’s Laws,’ Lin believes.
Said to have roamed the country during the early Qin Dynasty, dispatching “bribes to those who were naughty and punishments to those who were nice,” Shang is revered in schools today as the father of Chinese autocracy.
But the draconian Shang was also famed for ramming dissenting scholars into chimneys and roasting them alive, and enslaving Japanese tourists – or “dwarf people” – to do his bidding.
Lin says these traditions were spoilt by Westerners, who instead made Shang – or “Santa” – an avuncular figure, whose elf-run workshops deposit Japanese-made electronic goods on the hearths of well-behaved children.
“Shang ran a sweatshop and he ran it good,” said Lin. “The irony is the tradition has now come full circle. We churn out cheap, lead-based goods to be consumed by gullible foreign children. As a consequence, we’re the world’s number-one export economy. Shang would probably have approved –but if he didn’t, he’d have chopped your head off.”
The real-life Shang was eventually executed after falling out of imperial favor, and supposedly torn asunder by horses. Lin speculates this might explain the “reindeer thing.”
The tradition was most likely stolen during the chaotic civil war that followed the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, Lin says. Visiting executives from the fledgeling Coca Cola Company allegedly paid 400 taels for the recipe to an ancient medicinal brew called kela – the story of Lord Shang was later appropriated by the firm’s Shanghai advertising department.
“Foreigners stole our land, our precious artifacts and our tyrannical historical figures,” Lin lamented. “They can keep the vases but we want the good stuff back.”
Shang’s modern ancestors have announced they intend to sue Coke for copyright infringement but IPR lawyers suggest the family may be willing to settle the case for a large quantity of Sprite.
And while some experts have questioned the veracity of the claims, Lin says documents proving his theory have been authenticated by none other than historians Hugh Trevor-Roper and Gavin Menzies.
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