Cao Cao’s tomb excavated in Anyang, Henan Province


Zhengzhou Evening News
December 28, 2009

The tomb of Cao Cao, one of the three competing warlords for control of China after the downfall of the mighty Han empire, was excavated recently in Anyang, Henan Province.

Cao’s life was popularized in The Legend of Three Kingdoms, a novelized history which has been revered as one of the four Chinese literature classics. Thanks to the book’s excellent albeit biased depiction, Cao’s fame is perpetuated as a Machiavellian villain, a usurper who took a weak emperor hostage, a sneaky, paranoid ruler whose ruthlessness knew no bounds.

Nevertheless there has been no shortage of revisionists who would otherwise praise Cao as a man among the greatest.

Among them, arguably the most famous one, is Chairman Mao, who praised Cao as “a real man” and “on the side of justice”. The similarities between them is unmistakable: both rose to power from the lower classes, both reached considerable acclaim for their poetry aside from their political careers, and both men’s legacies are very controversial.

According to the Zhengzhou Evening News, a newspaper based in Zhengzhou, capital city of Henan Province: in addition to the artifacts recovered from the site, archeologists also discovered human bones which are believed to belong to three persons. Among them, one is believed to be a male who was in his sixties, which is consistent with the historical chronicle of Cao’s death at 66. This assumption is also confirmed by multiple inscriptions found in the grave with Cao’s temple name The Invincible King of Wei (魏武王).

Wang Liqun, a historian who attended yesterday’s media conference held in Beijing about the excavation, said that he was hopeful that by examining the recovered skull, the scientists would pinpoint the cause of Cao’s headache which supposedly propelled him to kill his doctors and eventually led to his own death.

Another story highlighted by many today’s newspapers is premier Wen Jiabao’s interview with Xinhua. In his talk, Wen expressed his concern over the high home price and alleged that the government would take measures to “uphold (real estate) market order, curb land hoarding and speculation”; “stabilize the price through taxation, interest rates differentiation, and land policy.”

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