Via Savage Minds, who have reproduced the article from the Dominion. Gavin Menzies (author of a book called 1421: The Year China Discovered The World–which I have not read) claims all sorts of interesting selective stuff about Chinese exploration of the Pacific (transcript of a speech, here) and most mindbogglingly, that the Maori were not actually Polynesians but result of "Melanesian slaves raping Chinese prostitutes".
Reading the speech linked above it seems clear to me that Menzies is relying heavily on selective-to-the-point-of-distorted interpretations of genetic work. Yes, East Asian lineages appear in Polynesian and South American populations. But this is because they share common East Asian ancestors a good, oh, 6000 years ago, in the case of the Polynesians, and likely twice that for South Americans. Not because they're descended from a Chinese/Japanese "fleet" from 600 years ago.
More from the speech above:
M. Hertzberg and Colleagues found an Asian specific delection of mitochondrial DNA in Polynesians – notably, Niueans, Tongans, Samoans and Maoris. Shinji Harihara and colleagues produce startling pie charts – it appears the Niueans, Tongans, Samoans and Fijians had ancestors from the Shizoka province of Japan. To this day Niueans share close linguistic similarities with Mainland Chinese.
I'd expect this in a second-year anthropological genetics paper (which I would subsequently give a C). The whole point about the 9bp deletion is that it tracks (roughly) the Austronesian expansion, of which all those Polynesian populations were the end result. I can't even begin to stop laughing at "startling pie charts" and hope one day to get a review which praises MY startling pie charts. And Niueans sharing close linguistic similarities with Mainland Chinese (uh, what are we calling Mainland Chinese?)… okay. I would like to see the statistical comparison there that demonstrates more cognates between Niuean and Mandarin than Niuean and Tikopian, or Niuean and Mekeo, or Niuean and freakin' MALAGASY, and then I might listen.
Yup. Might be waiting some time for that.
Back to the Dominion report:
Menzies said his book had been well-received around the world but had drawn hostile criticism in New Zealand — because academics were government servants out to protect their pensions.
"People just don't believe them any more. I think they live in boxes and their whole way of teaching history is fundamentally flawed, from the bottom up."
Well, it is always a big clue when the academic pension is regarded as the carrot by which scores of anthropologists/historians/biologists conspire to fraudulently rewrite history, and a lone voice carries the truth, right?
I am quite tempted to read this book as a bit of rage is sometimes quite healthy, but like Oppenheimer's Eden in the East, I fear it might sit nicely alongside a bit of Graham Hancock.
edited to add: A quick tour of 1421exposed and links therein reveals right-thinking folk have gone ahead and thoroughly demolished this rubbish. Well done, learned peeps.
Have a more interesting link instead, (beautiful) photos of the Columbian Nukak.