- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

BEIJING China has begun a campaign to stop Westerners from referring to the world's tallest peak as Mount Everest and instead start using its Chinese official name, Mount Qomolangma.
The China Daily newspaper on Monday accused British "colonialists" of "ignorance and arrogance" in persisting with references to Mount Everest.
"British colonialists raped the sacred mountain of the Tibetans by giving it a false name," said the report. "Until today, the world is still persistently humiliating Mount Qomolangma with English-language hegemonism."
The mountain became known as Everest in 1865 in honor of Sir George Everest, the surveyor-general of India who mapped the peak in 1852. But China says the mountain was first mapped in 1717 by Qing dynasty officials. It uses the claim to support its occupation of Tibet.
The name-change campaign is riddled with incongruities. It is targeted to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the day in 1953 that Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing Norgay scaled the 29,035-foot peak.
"It is time for the Western world to respect us Tibetans by recognizing the highest peak on Earth by its Tibetan name, Qomolangma," said a spokesman for the China Tibetology Center.
Most Tibetans not associated with Chinese officials render their name for the mountain as Chomolungma, meaning mother of the world.
Complicating the matter further, the mountain is known by Nepalese, who also share its territory, as Sagarmatha, or the goddess of the sky.
Beijing's obsession with controlling the English-language spelling of Chinese names goes back to the first days of the People's Republic.
Determined to abolish the "colonialist" Wade-Giles system of rendering Chinese characters, Mao Tse-tung's commissars came up with their own Pinyin system and China has pressed new names like Beijing, instead of Peking, and Guangzhou, instead of Canton, on the world.


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