Sorry, China, but Native Americans probably aren't Hunanese

China's Global Times - that reliable purveyor of the sublimely ridiculous, the terrifyingly nationalistic, and the just generally offensive -- struck again on Wednesday, with a quick nine-paragrapher that may just manage to combine all three offerings in one: "American Indians descend from Hunan, says expert."

The tabloid reports on the findings of Du Gangjian, dean of Hunan University Law School, who, on a recent trip to study Native American tribes in the United States (the article doesn't specify which ones), made the discovery that "American Indians have many rituals, habits and working tools that are very similar to the ones that exist among Hunan people."

The article goes on:

"The history textbooks in the world should be rewritten," he said.

According to most of the history textbooks, Columbus was the first person to discover the American continent.

Du's claims rest on the theory that famed Chinese Admiral Zheng He -- who accomplished many incredible things, there's no question! -- also made it all the way to the North American continent (a theory also put forth by British writer Gavin Menzies). This he almost certainly did not do.

As Twitter user @BrianGlucroft put it, in reference to the so-called "nine-dashed line" delineating China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, "Time to add some dashes to that line..."

David McNew/Getty Images; FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images


U.S. politicians reach bipartisan consensus: shwarma is delicious

When it comes to U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world, Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much -- be it arming the Syrian rebels or brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace. But the shwarma -- shaved, spit-roasted meat wrapped in doughy pita and smothered in toppings -- has managed to win the hearts of American politicians from both sides of the aisle.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stopped into a West Bank restaurant to grab one of the tasty sandwiches as part of a trip to the Middle East. The AP reports:

Kerry chomped one of the meat sandwiches after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. 

Asked what toppings he wanted, Kerry said, quote, "I want everything. I'm all in." 

After the first bite, Kerry declared, "Fantastic." 

For those who closely follow the intersection of shwarma and politics, Kerry's ecstatic reaction may have brought to mind an earlier instance of  shwarma consumption by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). On a 2012 trip to Libya, McCain rapturously tweeted:


Not convinced of the shwarma's unique power to straddle America's political divide? Just look to its more contentious cousin: falafel.

During his March trip to the Middle East, you may recall, President Obama whipped up a minor controversy when it was announced that he would be dining on the fried chickpea dish with Israeli President Shimon Peres. One Palestinian chef, angry that the dish was being presented as typical Israeli cuisine, told reporters, "We, a group of Palestinian chefs, are prepared to counter this flagrant Israeli attack on our culture by preparing the official dinner for presidents Obama and Abbas." He offered to make a dinner for the American and Palestinian leaders that would "reveal the fallacious claims of the occupation and its continuous attempts to rob our folklore, this time in the presence of the president of the biggest country in the world."

If only Obama had opted for shwarma.

State Department/Flickr