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China emperors ruled via false prophecies: Xinhua
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 13, 2013


China's ancient rulers misled their people by fabricating results of divination rituals used to help decide policy and shape public opinion, state media quoted researchers as saying Monday.

Emperors during the Shang dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC) relied heavily on prophecy and divination, using techniques such as burning turtle shells or cattle bones and basing predictions on the pattern of cracks, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"We have learned from our experiments that the appearance of certain crack patterns is basically controllable," it cited Hou Yanfeng, a specialist at an archaeology laboratory in Henan province, as saying.

"During the Shang Dynasty, the emperor was the leader of the diviners. Thus, it is possible that he controlled public opinion via oracle bone divination," he added.

A senior archaeologist told Xinhua that 185 replica fragments of oracle bones and shells were analysed in their research, which has been recognised internationally.

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