2.05.2007

Illegal Roman Immigrants May be Chinese Today

The migration of people is as old as humankind itself.

Human progress relies on the movement people and their ideas from place to place.

Indeed, migration and human progress are intricately linked--even if that fact is unknown to those with static lives and static minds.

Consider this fascinating bit of information coming from Liqian, a village in north-western China on the fringes of the Gobi desert, more than 200 miles from the nearest city. The DNA of 93 Liqians is being examined to determine whether or not they're a descendants of 145 Roman legionaries that wandered into China after being routed by the Parthians (descendants of modern today Iran) in 53BC.

Villager Cai Junnian in the photo with his green eyes and ruddy complexion has come to be known as Cai Luoma, or Cai the Roman.

At the entrance of the nearby town, Yongchang, shows a Roman legionary standing next to a Confucian scholar and a Muslim woman, as a symbol of racial harmony.

Is it possible that the Liqian people of Northwestern China have a greater appreciation for their multi-cultural and multi-racial heritage than we in the U.S. do for ours?
Photo Credit: Natalie Behring
Chart: Telegraph.co.uk