Blind rage

We all know about the near-uncontrollable hatred today’s young Chinese harbor against Japan, but I didn’t quite grasp the scale until I read this intriguing article.

The explosive growth of the web in China, where the number of users is growing by more than 25% a year, is often cited by advocates of political reform as a source of hope for greater openness in the world’s last big communist state.

But there is increasing evidence that the opposite may be true. Sites advocating democracy, religious freedom or union rights are closed down by the authorities and their operators often arrested. But there are countless sites like Mr Song’s devoted to one of the few political passions permitted by the government: hatred for Japan.

Every day on the “My View of Japan” bulletin board, Mr Song and his contributors post reports of perceived slights by their neighbours, who are referred to at least once as “shitty little Japanese”. Many predict that military conflict is inevitable, and some wish it would come sooner rather than later. “I’m 30 and a fire burns in my heart,” writes one contributor. “Only war can extinguish these flames.”

While hate-mongering is a feature of extremist internet chatrooms around the world, in China such inflammatory comments appear to represent anything but a small minority. In the past two years, small anti-Japanese protests have mushroomed into nationwide campaigns through the internet and mobile phone text messages.

The article focuses on one prosperous young man in Beijing who seems to have it all, and yet is a burning pillar of rage and fury, obsessed with Japan’s refusal to acknowledge and take responsibility for its monstrous crimes against the Chinese people in World War II. I can understand the anger, but I have to admit I can’t understand the obsession, where one’s entire life is focused on and consumed by the events of 65 years ago. Read the article to see just how all-consuming this hatred can be.

Thanks to the reader who alerted me to this.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 246 Comments

Richard,

China and Japan, if you realised, have not been the best of friends in modern history. As to your question of why the Chinese were so obssessed with Japan’s refusal to admit to the historical mistakes. Thats pretty clear and simple to understand.
First, Japan refused time and again that the Nanking Massacre had occured at all. Hey dude, we are talking about the lives of tens and thousands of civilians being slaughtered here. The Chinese are not baying for the blood of Japanese, what they want is a simple official apology and brave courage to admit historical tragedy, its that so difficult to say a simple sorry and admit what has been done? Yet Tokyo chose to manufacture its own version of facts, whitewashing its brutal deeds and militarism, with textbooks saying that “Japan attacked Southeast Asia to free its people from European rule”, “Korea requested to be colonised by Tokyo”. So tell me whose fault this is? Can you blame those relatives, grandchildren of those who died as well as “comfort women” ie Asian women forced to be Japanese Army sex slaves, for not letting things go? How can they put it to a rest when the guilty party refused to acknowledge facts and say a simple official sorry? Imagine telling the Jews that the Holocaust never occured and its a “fabricated” story, i am sure Israel and the Jewish people would not only be obssessed with anger, but the Mossad would probably hunt you down.

Living in Singapore, one of the places which experienced Japanese aggression before, i was shocked that young Japanese students who came to visit Singapore has never know that Japan did invade and commit crimes against humanity in Singapore and the region during WWII. Many were shocked and brought to tears when they visited a memorial for the war dead in Singapore. Can you imagine the extend of history whitewashing in Japan? You cannot dismiss it just because it happened 65years ago? Not likely until the guilty party admits it like a man and say sorry. The onus is on Japan, not China nor Korea nor Philippines that the anger to be appeased and put to rest. I don’t think you would forgive Hitler so easily even though his human slaughtering business happened 65 years ago? Worse still, you did not get an apology but a denial from the aggressive party.

December 30, 2004 @ 9:37 am | Comment

I know full well what the Japanese did to the Chinese. I’ve read The Rape of Nanking and many others books and articles, seen the pictures and read the first-hand descriptions. That still doesn’t explain why this guy and many, many others are devoting their entire lives to obsessing about a crime that’s 65 years old. I can understand speaking out about it, making it an issue. But making it your entire life? That’s definitely odd, as the article makes very clear, and is perhaps more tied to the present government-encouraged xenophobia than it is to anything Japan did 65 years ago.

We all saw the ugliness this kind of blind hatred brings when it erupted at the university in Xi’an not so long ago. This kind of uncontrolled emotion is dangerous, unhealthy and way off the charts in terms of over-reaction.

December 30, 2004 @ 9:57 am | Comment

SP, I don’t think it’s that simple. Angry Chinese Blogger discussed the apology issue here and pointed to this article at the China Foreign Ministry webpage. The Foreign Ministry says the following:

“In 1995, Japanese prime minister issued a speech on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war, and expressed the willingness to admit the facts in history that Japan invaded and established colonial rule on its close Asian neighbors, deeply regretted it and apologized. Afterwards, successive Japanese cabinets all explicitly stated that it is the official stand of the Japanese government. Prime Minister Koizumi issued a speech at Lugouqiao Museum on the Anti-Japanese War in October last year, admitting aggression, regretting the war, and extending condolences and an apology.”

But the Foreign Ministry finds the apology unacceptable because Koizumi still continued to visit the Yasukuni Shrine. There was also an apology issued in 1972 during the normalization of relations, according to ACB. The problem is not that there has been no apology; there have been apologies, but the Chinese government finds them insincere, primarily because of the Yasukuni Shrine.

The Yasukuni Shrine, however, is not simply the Shrine of war criminals, as the Chinese and, to a lesser extent, the South Korean governments say. According to this Wikipedia entry, it is a shrine for “2,466,495 Japanese and former colonial soldiers (Korean and Taiwanese) killed in war.” To say that the Japanese should not give any honors to all 2.4 million soldiers who died in the war is completely unrealistic; true, the shrine includes 1,000 POWs executed for war crimes and 13 Class A war criminals, including Tojo, but this is a tiny minority of the men buried there. The shrine also existed and had been visited by officials prior to WW2, according to Wikipedia. So a comparable analogy would be saying no one should conduct memorial ceremonies at Arlington Cemetary in the U.S. simply because some of the guys buried there were really evil, a solution that would obviously not fly in the U.S., or frankly any country with a similiar site.

A rational solution would be to put pressure on Japan to change the shrine’s museum, which does not, to many, properly address the Nanjing Massacre and to discuss, calmly, removing people like Tojo from the “Martyrs of Showa” part of the shrine. China, however, either in terms of government or public sentiment, does not address the issue in this way. They address it by simply condemning visits to the shrine itself, not seeking some sort of compromise recognizing that the Japanese public would never sit still for a complete rejection of the shrine. Is the Japanese government (and voting population) being unfair? Yes, they should probably, in my opinion, make some changes to the shrine. But when the Chinese government simply says that visiting the shrine is an evil act, when to any rational person it’s clear the shrine is not going away, it is not helping. Similiarly, the Chinese general public does not garner international support when they do things like attack the bus of the Japanese soccer team in Beijing. And the Chinese government does nothing to temper these sentiments; they encourage them.

December 30, 2004 @ 10:17 am | Comment

Richard:

I do not deny that the anger has something to with communist China’s nationalistic agenda. However, perhaps if the Japanese have handled history with courage and responsibility, as well as remorse humbly, it would have been less of a propagnada tool that it could be. Continual denial, refusal to apologise are definitely not helping it. Worse still all we witnessed was the frequent visits to the infamous Yasukuni Shrine by Koizumi which houses the tablets of Japanese “A” class war criminals. Can you imagine the reaction of Europeans if Germany’s leaders visit Hitler’s grave (if he ever had one) frequently? Willy Brandt, then German Chancellor, apologised solemnly for the Holocaust and the Holocaust victims were remebered annually in Germany, nobody is obssessed with Berlin for its WWII mistakes. Japan on the other, stubbornly refuses to face history with courage and remorse. I think you seem to disproportionately lighten Japan’s role in this whole drama of anti-Japanese sentiments. In my opinion, Japan has to shoulder much of whats goin on now by dealing with history in a deceitful, cowardly way.

December 30, 2004 @ 10:19 am | Comment

Dave, thanks for the great comment. I hope SP reads it very carefully.

SP, you and I agree on a key point — Japan’s attitude to its war crimes sucks. But that doesn’t alter the fact that there comes a point at which the obsession goes overboard, resulting in violence and a mob mentality. Those things are extremely unhealthy and unproductive. Go ahead and hate Japan for its sins — that’s justified. Keeping it as the fuel of your existence after well more than half a century — that’s bizarre.

December 30, 2004 @ 10:35 am | Comment

Japan invaded Korea and massacred 1/3 of the Korean population in the 16th century. The nose and ears of Koreans were cut off dead or alive. You don’t read this in the Japanese or American textbooks.
How long have Koreans been HATING the Japanese? Over 400 years, am I right, ACB?

December 30, 2004 @ 11:12 am | Comment

sp says what Japan is doing is like “Germany’s leaders visit Hitler’s grave (if he ever had one) frequently?” The analogy is totally unjust. What I see is like Germen make a statue for Hitler, put it in a plaza, Germany Prime Minister makes bows to it in holidays. Maybe it’s not even close to Japan’s case, because they don’t put it in a plaza, they put it in a shrine! Do not tell me this is their custom. It only makes me realize more how sick they are!

I happily found we all agree that we could “go ahead and hate Japan for its sins” as long as the hatred doesn’t hurt ourselves.

December 30, 2004 @ 11:44 am | Comment

Japanese need to come to their senses, apologize and ask for forgiveness for their atrocities committed during World War 2. We will forgive but we will never forget what they did.

December 30, 2004 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

JR, go back and read Dave’s comment. Anyway, if you have to hate them, that’s fine and it’s understandable. But, as I’ve been trying to say, don’t let the hatred consume you so that it destroys your own humanity. When you do that, the Japanese win and you lose (they still don’t apologize, and your life becomes a fireball of rage, which isn’t what life’s meant to be).

December 30, 2004 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

Outofin, I don’t agree with your analogy because of the description I posted of the Yasukuni Shrine before – it is a shrine to millions of Japanese soldiers from WW2 and before. This would be like having Hitler buried along with millions of anonymous infantry men from WW1 and other conflicts. A similiar situation happened in 1985 when Ronald Reagan visited the Bitburg cemetery in Germany where 49 members of the SS are buried. Naturally there was an uproar over Reagan visiting the SS – but they were only a portion of those buried there. Interestingly enough, so did an Auschwitz survivor:

“Moniek Cukier, a Polish-born German Jew who works as a meat cutter for the U.S. Army in Kaiserslautern, also attended. A survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Cukier said he came because “the war is over. We’ve got to forget sometime.”"

Outofin and JR, you both make what I find rather sickening generalizations of Japanese people when you say “how sick they are” and “we will never forget what they did”, because you both use the all-encompassing word “they”. Basically you’re not willing to distinguish between common soldiers who did not rape anyone or cut off any ears but simply served their country like a decent soldier of any nation and the leaders and soldiers who perpetrated atrocities. Even worse, you’re not interested in distinguishing between a young Japanese person today who bears no responsibility for the acts of their ancestors and those who actually did such things in the past. By using “they”, you’re basically saying all Japanese people are “sick” and evil.

You know what I call that? Racism.

December 30, 2004 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

Richard and Dave,
I am a proud liberal. I wanted to say I don’t hate anyone but I have to admit I hate Bush, Karl Rove, inc as evil-doers to murder so many innocent people in Iraq. For me, I don’t hate Japanese as a race or an ethnic group. I hate the way Japan NEVER apologized for what they did to the Chinese people during the World War 2.

To set the record straight against the spins of ACB, Japan NEVER formally apologized to the Chinese people for their war crimes during the WW2. Google it, they did apologize to South Korea only recently.

December 30, 2004 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

Wow, racism is really really too much for me. A racist hates people for WHO THEY ARE. I hate people for WHAT THEY DO. Please note the difference. You know what? I don’t even hate WHAT THEY DID. The war is over. But, I just can not take the things they’re doing today. I don’t hate all Japanese. I apology if I gave me the impression. Please replace every “Janapnese” or “they” I said with “some Janpanese”, which was what I really meant.

December 30, 2004 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

Uh, JR, look at the quote from and link to the Chinese Foreign Ministry again. It says, from the Chinese government itself, that in 1995 they “apologized” and in 2001 Koizumi “extended condolences and an apology”. Now unless the English-Chinese dictionary at the Chinese Foreign Ministry has some sort of misprint in the entry labeled “apology”, I believe that is what we call… an apology.

My point was that the apologies, both of them, were not accepted because of the Yakusuni Shrine, and that I believe the Japanese should take steps to deal with the Yakusuni issue. But any realpolitik solution requires China and Korea to recognize that the shrine will not be closed down.

The other thing is that Chinese people screaming in the streets and attacking the buses of soccer players, making webpages dedicated to villifying Japan, and hypocritically screaming the Japanese invaded again when they go to a brothel (wow, never seen a Chinese guy here do that!) – all these things basically make the rest of the world ignore the Chinese. It hurts the cause when people behave that irrationally, it doesn’t help. And when a Chinese friend met the 20 year old Japanese girl studying at my university, asked me if she’s Japanese and looked disgusted when I said “yes”, I nearly punched him in the face because that’s exactly the problem. The rest of the world’s never going to give the Chinese an ear when we have to deal with that kind of garbage. When you say “they” need to apologize for the “their” atrocities, you remind me of that friend: my 20 year old Japanese friend didn’t hurt anybody, and shouldn’t apologize for anything. The government? Fine. But I don’t see anyone in China blaming me personally for the 1999 bombing of the embassy in Belgrade simply because I’m an American, and that’s the way it should be for anybody.

December 30, 2004 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

Dave,

There are some facts missing in your post. The war criminals were not in the shrine at first, they were moved to there in 1970′s. So the powerful in Japan want the war criminals to be worshipped and stay put in national psychy.

Also, let me tell you my personal experience, so you can see Japan from a Chinese grew up in mainland. I was born in early 70′s in mainland. All through grades school up to high school, I was always taught by the Party the “forever peace between Japan and China”. BTW, no other foreign country was entitled for the “Forever Peace” but Japan. But I never thought about the Japanese much these days.

About my family. My Dad/uncle lived under Japanese occupation, they hate Japanese. My grandpa fought Japanese for the Nationalist army (KMT), I never met him, he died in Taiwan. My great grandpa was killed by Japanese in his 60′s at home.

My Dad never mentions Japan usually. There are only twice I can remember, when I was in elementary school, we were cleaning some Chinese bean, there was bugs in the beans, he suddenly said, there were never begs in those been when I was young, the Japanese spread those bugs when they invaded China, Japanese are very evil.

On anther occation, my Dad told me about Japanese gave school kids candies during occupation, after the Japanese left, his teacher slapped the hands of the kids took Japanese candy. The moral of the story was the teacher was a patrotic man.

Then I learned the death of my great grandpa from my Uncle, later confirmed by my Dad. When the Japanese came to our viliage, everyone fled, but great grandpa was too sick to walk, so he was left behind. By the time them came back, grandpa was dead, he was beaten and thrown in the front yard.

It’s about 3-4 times in all my life I heard them talking about the Japanese. Every time they mentioned Japan they said they hate the Japanese.

Personally, I learned more by reading history. I see Japan very unfavorablly. Japan has always had sininster intentions to China since 1500′s. They learned so much of China, not only they reject that but became so cruel toward Chinese. The atrocities the Japanese committed just blew me away, Nanjing, biowarfare/chemical 731, on and on.

The Nazi’s would only gas the Jews in mass and took their weath or had Jews work to death, which is horrible. But Japanese were torturing and make Chinese suffer as much as they can, only for pure entertainment. It would be a mercy for those Chinese to be killed like the Jews. If this is not pure evil then what is?

Such war criminals are worshipped and honored by Japanese PM and his cabinet every year under protest of China and Korea, what you want me to say, Dave? Peace be with the Japanese?

Had I had such ansester (God forbidden!), I would kneel to the victims, and say sorry sorry sorry, I would have absolutely nothing to do with my ansester. I would appreciate people not mention anything remotely close to them. Least myself to worship them under the loud protest.

It continously amazes me what Japanese have done not only during the war but till this very day.

All I want to say is, Chinese people are not vengenful. It is the Japanese that have gone way beyond the wildest imagination of civilized men to this very day. I don’t think Chinese should be comsumed by Japanese irregularity, but be vigulent.

December 30, 2004 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

I really appreciate your comment and understand completely the rage many Chinese feel. However, you have to explain to me what you mean when you say:

It is the Japanese that have gone way beyond the wildest imagination of civilized men to this very day.

What are they doing to this very day that is so terrible?

Also, many Jews were killed “for entertainment” by the Nazis, and I can give you many examples. The Chinese don’t hold a monopoly on suffering.

December 30, 2004 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

BL, thanks for the bit about moving the war criminals. Got any more details about it? I’d like to know more.

Like Richard, I’m aware of the horrific things the Japanese army did. And if they were my ancestors, a shrine would not be my first idea. But again, my point is most of the dead at the shrine are not war criminals but common soldiers. And there is the difference between what the Japanese government does and the Japanese people. Richard’s post is precisely about attitudes in China towards the Chinese people, as is my concern over JR and Outofin’s use of the word “they”. You tread the same ground in your general discussion of the Japanese without distinguishing between the leaders and the people. I actually taught an adult class here once where the students told me they hate all Japanese people. I asked how they’d feel about a 5 year old Japanese girl – is she evil? No, they said – but she will be. That was chilling, as was my Chinese friend looking at my Japanese friend like she deserved to die.

Also, the Nazis did experimentation on the Jews and other groups, similiar to Unit 731, under the supervision of people like Dr. Sigmund Rascher. When you classify the Japanese as having “gone way beyond the wildest imagination of civilized men” you indulge in both stereotyping and hyperbole, as if no one could ever come close to the evil of the Japanese because they are somehow fundamentally different from other human beings in their capacity for evil. The real and most frightening lesson learned from people like Hitler, Tojo and the like is that they were simply human beings, and the capacity to do any of those things exists in all of us. And I certainly believe that when I see some of the hatred towards Japanese people in China, like how my students felt about that five year old girl.

December 30, 2004 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

Dave,

“CHINESE PEOPLE screaming in the streets and attacking the buses of soccer players, making webpages dedicated to villifying Japan…The rest of the world’s never going to give THE CHINESE an ear when we have to deal with that kind of garbage.”

Aren’t you yourself guilty of being a hypocrite for depicting ALL Chinese are responsible for these actions.

“when a Chinese friend met the 20 year old Japanese girl studying at my university, asked me if she’s Japanese and looked disgusted when I said ‘yes’, I nearly punched him in the face because that’s exactly the problem.”

And NO I don’t feel the urge to punch you in your face, even though you put words in my mouth by accusing me of claiming ALL Japanese are guilty of war crimes.

Dave, unless you haven’t noticed, I just played the same trick you did to me.
=)

December 30, 2004 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Dave,
“my point is most of the dead at the shrine are not war criminals but common soldiers.”
A lot of these so called “common soldiers” also raped and murdered a lot Chinese women and children.
Did they commit war crimes or not?

“I certainly believe that when I see some of the hatred towards Japanese people in China, like how my students felt about that five year old girl.”
As a teacher, did you stand up and try to correct their way of thinking. It may be difficult but you can make a difference as a teacher in China.

December 30, 2004 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

Dave,

Here is the link about moving war criminal to shrine.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2321.html

The PM represents Japan not only himself. So collectively Japan as a nation condones the worship of war criminals, so the nation of Japan I don’t view favorablly.

I would have some preconception about a Japanese individual, because as a nation Japan favors worshipping war criminals. It would be his/her responsiblility to clear himself from such perception that he supports worshipping war criminal.

It’s not hatred. I never said I hate Japanese, or I want to kill anyone of them. But I assmue they have moral defects as evident in their collective behavior. Of cause I would give a Japanese individual planty of opportunity to clear himself. Kids don’t understand politics are not included in my discussion, since they are not responsible for the behavior of Japanese PM, but adults are.

I do disagree with you about human capacity of evil. I know I am capable of doing evil. But never I ever imagin myself (God forbidden) to torture anyone to death for pure entertainment sake, I would kill myself if I do such things. There has to bottom line differentiate humans from animal. The atrocities of ultra butality in China was wide spread among common Japanese soldiers in WWII, not the dozens war criminals who henious crime again China, it was the common Japanese soldiers. And it was only committed against Chinese but also Koreans, not only in 1940′s but since 1895. Nothing like this happened wide spread in Nazi’s or other Axis power, we are not talking about killing or rape.

It’s the sickness sense of glory and enjoyment in those pictures taken by the crimials themselves. The Japanese were like an army of Jeffery Dama’s. That’s why I think there is something cultural about the Japanese.

Call me racist or whatever, but I make my conclusion based on facts. And I do worry if the Janese don’t make a clear cut from their past, which I hardly see happening, another generation of Japanese will come along just like the one in 1940′s.

I would question the Japanese or even you, the definition of honor. Where is honor for someone finds joy in torturing others to death? There is nothing but altimate shame.

Like I said there would be nothing but disgust had I had such ansesters (God forbidden), I would do anything I could to distance myself from them. My family would never allow someone comitted henious crimes be buried with my ansesters if (God forbidden). That would be the ultmat shame and disgrace to me, my family and the rest my ansesters. We will simply disown him as most Chinese family would do.

So do you see my problem with the Japanese? They are an irregularity in my personal opinion.

December 30, 2004 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

Richard, the question at the end was addressed both to you and Dave. I would like to hear your opinion on that.

JR, are you originally from mainland? Could you testify to what I said about “Forever Peace between China and Japan”?

December 30, 2004 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

First off JR, but English grammar doesn’t work that way. Saying Chinese people have carried out specific acts doesn’t suggest all Chinese people did it, but that the people behind those acts were Chinese. That’s not the same as saying all Japanese have some attribute, like being sick or short. And yes, I’ve tried to change my students minds about some of these things.

BL, I disagree with you. First, the president represents the government and the voters who supported him. But there’s a big difference between that and every individual representing the government, which is what you’re saying. You say it’s the responsibility of a Japanese individual to clear themselves – so they’re guilty unless they say they’re personally sorry? When are Japanese people suppose to say this, between saying hello and telling you their name?

When you say it’s cultural and that you basically view all Japanese people with this suspicion upon meeting, yes, I would call it racism or something like it. And again, the Nazis did commit similiarly heinous things and so have other groups. Sorry, but the suffering of the Chinese is not unique or without comparison.

And what do you mean by the word “irregularity”? You mean they’re not human?

December 30, 2004 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

“blind hatred”? ridiculous term!

the cause of the anti-japan sentiment in china is simple and clear:
japan did horrible things to chinese and it refuses to admit its crimes today.

pls open your eyes and look at those pics:
http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/archive/2004/12/23/6365.aspx

the government did nothing wrong, actually only in recent years, chinese people started to see the whole picture from various sources, and the only thing government did is let people know the truth. the government did sth it should do and must do.

a few weeks ago, the japanese government refused to appoligized to a former sex slave from china and refused to pay a cent to her, at the same time the japanese government pay a regular retirement pension to those who raped tens of thousands of sex slaves.

i didn’t see any comments blaming former rapists but only these funny articles blaming grandchildren of vicitims for their hatred towards rapists!

you are just as horrible as japanese.

December 30, 2004 @ 7:17 pm | Comment

Having studied history, I must say that I agree that Japan has apologized for the past. There was a successful apology given to South Korea around 1995(?) which was followed by a visit from Jiang to Japan. An oral apology was made, but during the finalization of the written apology, the two sides broke into squabbles.
The simple fact of the matter is that no matter what Japan says or does, the Chinese simply will not accept it. China is more interested in continuing to talk about the war than actually getting an apology and developing normal relations.
Furthermore, China considers itself to be Japan’s ‘teacher.’ This is a theme that runs through all types of discourses about Sino-Japanese relations. China’s suffering at the hands of its ‘student’ Japan are particularly embarassing. But think about what kind of an apology a ‘student’ has to give for beating its ‘teacher.’ It has to be deep, unending, profuse apologies. Down on your knees, standing in the corner with a dunce cap. I think that this hierarchical relationship, seen from the Chinese perspective, is something that is often ignored in analyzing Sino-Japanese relations.
Whatever Japan does, China will not just accept it and stop bringing up WW2.

December 30, 2004 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

what does an apology mean?

if japanese PM goes to worship those war criminals every year, if japanese government refused to say sorry to a former sex slave, if a visiting japanese professor told my dad face-to-face that japan did nothing wrong during WWII, if japanese textbooks say that japanese army “entered” china during WWII …. do you think japan apologized?

as a chinese, i don’t think so.

December 30, 2004 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

just think about why we didn’t hear such a thing as “anti-japan sentiment” during 1960s or 1970s but with more freedom and openness of the society, then we started to have “anti-japan sentiment” here in china?

less freedom and less openness = no anti-japan sentiment

more freedom and more openness = anti-japan sentiment

why?

December 30, 2004 @ 7:40 pm | Comment

Dave,

Firstly, I totally disagree that a president only represent the voters supported him. So tell me who represents the voters that haven’t voted for the sitting president? Are you telling me the voters supported a failed candidate are not represented in the executive branch?

The Japanese PM is voted in by the majority of the Japanese. So for a random Japanese individual, there is more that 50% chance he supports worshipping of war criminals, and do view him in such light. Yet as a tolerant individual, I do give him planty of opportunities for clearing himself. If I only walk by such a Japanese, yes I have to view him as more than likely he supports worshipping war criminals, based on collective behavior of the Japanese nation as a fact. I see nothing wrong with that.

Secondly, something about the Japanese culture. I feel I spent quite bit energy to use myself as an example to show how could it become acceptable behavior to you for the Japanese to honor such “war dead”, who rejoyce in extract maximum pain in killing innocent civilians, in the National Shrine. It’s mind buggling to me.

Now let me use you as an example (sorry for the offense, but I don’t see how else it could come across to you). You say it would not be your first choice to put one of your ansesters, hybothetically who rejoyced in committing henious crimes against innocent civilians in the National Shrine and worship him annually.

This is simply sickening. Please show me another nation, which worships an army of dead Jeffery Dama’s in the National Shrine as deities/gods. This is what I am referring to as irregularity. This is not something a modern civilization does, since these “war dead” only bring ultimate shame and disgrace to their posterities, let alone to be worshipped in a nationalized shrine as gods.

If this is not irregularity, I don’t know how to describe this. It occurs to me no other modern nation shares such ideas or practice. Maybe I am wrong in your case, as it seems you fully understand and endorse such practices.

To my knowledge, no German Chancellor worshipped the Nazi “war dead” as gods in some German National Shrine. Yes Nazis are evil, yet even the Nazi army didn’t practice what the Japanese did, in the cities they took in Europe. Please correct me if I am wrong. Even a Nazi official was horrified by what the Japanese did in NanJing, and to worship such “war dead” as gods in the National Shrine, my goodness!! There gotta be something wrong with that country.

To be morally neutral, I call the Japanese irregular, because there are things in Japanese culture that is not shared by the rest of the modern world.

It’s simply amazing to see a supposedly modern democratic nation worships war criminals and such “war dead” as gods in the National Shrine by the PM and the majority of the country. Do you think it is regular? Could you imagin your country do that? I am speechless, What else you want me to say?

December 30, 2004 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

Kevin, it’s your right to rush to defend whatever you want to defend.

But to say;

“The simple fact of the matter is that no matter what Japan says or does, the Chinese simply will not accept it. China is more interested in continuing to talk about the war than actually getting an apology and developing normal relations.”

without showing the facts.

Your defense is empty which amounts to nothing other than a simple endorsement of Janpanese behavior.

Such I take as hatred toward China.

December 30, 2004 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

BL,

I am not from Mainland China, but I am not surprised if the CCP wanted a friendly relationship with Japan in the past. Just like the CCP wanted the Chinese people to believe the Japanese government did apologize to the Chinese people.

“Murayama’s Personal Apology

NOTE: Japan’s Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized to the victims of Japan’s aggressive war. His apology should be welcomed. However, as already been pointed out, his apology is only a personal one. Furthermore, his feelings are obviously not shared by most of his colleagues in the Japanese government as indicated by his failure to make a formal and official apology in the so-called No War Resolution. Murayama’s apology (144k AIFF file) For those who have been struggling for a genuine reconciliation between Japan and its neighbouring countries, their battle is not over yet.

Voice of America
To the disappointment of peace-loving people in Asia and Japan, the Japanese government adopted a No War Resolution without making a formal apology to its victims during the War. Japan missed a golden chance to reconcile with its neighbours. We sincerely recommend to our viewers, especially Chinese viewers, Hajime Takano’s essay on No War Resolution. ”
Click on the link and read the alleged “apology” by AJB, Kevin and Dave.

December 30, 2004 @ 8:37 pm | Comment

To Dave and Kevin,
“Has Japan offered an apology for its war crimes of the 20th century?

“There has never been a Japanese Prime Minister to fall on his knees in an Asian capital and ask for forgiveness as Federal German Chancellor Willy Brandt did at the site of the Warsaw ghetto in 1971.” Robert M. Orr, Jr., At 50 Years End: The Legacy of War in Germany and Japan, January 22, 1996

In 2000, Germany created a Foundation, aptly titled “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future,” to make prompt compensation to millions of force laborers most of whom worked under inhumane conditions during the Nazi era. With the enactment of legislation and in this and numerous ways, Germany expressed its remorse and wish for atonement. The world, in return, accepted Germany’s apology for WW II atrocities. Has Japan acted similarly?

The Personal Apologies of Japanese Prime Ministers
Japan’s official position is stated in a letter to the Hong Kong Legislative Council by Mr. Shuhei Takahashi, the Acting Consul-General of Japan : “It is a misconception to say that Japan has either not apologized or has done so reluctantly.” In fact, Japan claims it has apologized repeatedly, citing as a prime example, the apology Prime Minister Murayama issued on the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Pacific War that is based on a Cabinet decision. An examination of this apology shows various use of terms such as “Japan”, “we”, and “I”, in the Prime Minister’s Statement. Specifically the apology was rendered by “I”, i.e. Prime Minister Murayama, while “Japan” acknowledged the facts of history.

Resistance to an Official Apology in Japan
Prime Minister Murayama’s apology was offered on the same day that eight of his cabinet ministers paid homage at the Yasukuni Shrine (see also Yasukuni outline and welcome pages), where the executed Japanese Class A war criminals of the Asia-Pacific War were enshrined, and in the same year that the Japanese Diet passed a “No War Resolution” that did not include an apology. (See commentary on the resolution by Hajime Takano and journal article by Prof. John Dower.) Therefore while human rights activists welcome the apologies of high ranking governmental officials, they maintain these apologies remain inadequate as a substitute for a formal and unequivocal national apology.

Personal Apologies Are Inadequate Substitutes for an Official Apology
Were these apologies considered adequate, there would be no perennial debate of whether an official national apology is due. It is instructive to compare the responses of Japan to Germany, who is responsible for the Jewish Holocaust of WW II. Since the late sixties, Germany was not called on to apologize as the German postwar generation is eager to remember, to learn and to prevent recurrence of similar genocides.

Worldwide Demands for An Official Apology from Japan
Whereas in the case of Japan, worldwide demands for an apology and compensation persist. On January 12th, 2000, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong adopted a motion that demands an apology among other things from Japan. Although British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Japan has apologized enough, hundreds of British POWs and civilians demonstrated, whistled the “Colonel Bogey” theme song from the movie March on the River Kwai and turned their backs to Emperor Akihito along the procession route in 1997. Members of the Dutch Japanese Honorary Debt Foundation protested Emperor Akihito’s visit in May of 2000. They continue to demonstrate in front of the Japanese Embassy every month and are filing lawsuits at the Tokyo District Court for compensation.

U. S. State and Congressional Resolutions Urging the Same
In the United States, a congressional resolution that asks Japan to apologize and make compensations to victims of its WW II atrocities is continually being re-introduced. In the 105th Congress of 1997-1998, the resolution, introduced as HCR 126, gained the most bipartisan support with over 80 Republicans and Democrats signing on as congressional co-sponsors. These measures, however, were never voted on by Congress since none of them moved past the initial committee(s) to which they were assigned. Procedurally, in order for a bill to be voted on on the floor of the House, it must receive a recommendation from the committee to which it is assigned. HCR 126 never received the required recommendation from its assigned committee.

Undaunted by Congress’s failure to act, Californians under the leadership of Assemblyman Mike Honda, a Japanese American, introduced AJR 27 (see full text) in the California State Legislature in 1999. This measure, modeled after HCR 126, and citing the numerous war crimes Japan committed in the Asia-Pacific War, asks Japan to apologize and urges State Department and the US Congress to demand the same. Since then similar resolutions were introduced in other state legislatures.

Reactions of Japanese to Worldwide Demand for Apology
Rather than taking a hard look at its past, Japan’s ultra-nationalists’ reflexive response to any popular demands for an official apology has been to counterattack. Fukada Yusuke, a novelist, commented on the Dutch government’s demand for an apology during Emperor Akihito’s 2000 visit to the Netherlands, by pointing out that the Dutch colonial rule ranks as one of the two most abusive of human rights governments in world history. The progressive forces in Japan, however, have sided with world opinion that Japan should apologize regardless of whether other states have or have not done so. Other responses range from denial of responsibility, distortion or whitewashing of history, or simple silence about Japan’s responsibilities. The recent controversy over the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s approval of revisionist texts is simply a logical extension of these sentiments.

Apology Without Compensation: A Hypocritical Proposition
Hence a perception gap exists between Japan and the rest of the world. While Japan considers itself to have apologized repeatedly, human rights activists and victims of its past atrocities charge that it has not offered an unambiguous and acceptable apology. According to the latter, had Japan sincerely accepted responsibility for its wartime atrocities, it would have offered an apology that is accompanied by, among other things, timely compensations and reparations. Had Japan wish to atone for its past it would have enacted legislation similar in spirit to the Federal Compensation Act and Federal Repayment Act of Germany or to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 in which the US government apologized and made compensation for the internment of Japanese Americans during WW II.

The Content of Sincerity: An Apology on the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty
Thus human rights activists and victims see the 50th anniversary of the San Francisco Peace Treaty as a particularly propitious occasion for Japan to show the world the sincere acceptance of its wartime responsibility. They urge Japan to make the commemoration truly memorable by initiating appropriate measures for atonement that include an official and unambiguous apology.”

http://www.gainfo.org/SFPT/SFPTApology.htm
If you are interested in the TRUTH on Japan’s alleged apology, go to the link for the original documents.

December 30, 2004 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

Dave said, “first off JR, but English grammar doesn’t work that way. Saying Chinese people have carried out specific acts doesn’t suggest all Chinese people did it, but that the people behind those acts were Chinese. >>>>>That’s not the same as saying ALL JAPANESE have some attribute, like being sick or short.<”

Dave, quit assuming I am a racist against Japanese. Your trick is getting old.

December 30, 2004 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

BL,
Have you read the book ” The Chrysanthemum and the Sword?”
Dave NO, thats not a racist book by some racist Chinese.

Dave said, “And what do you mean by the word ‘irregularity’? You mean they’re not human?”

Yes, Dave, that’s exactly what BL means I am sure =), Stretch the truth much?

December 30, 2004 @ 9:13 pm | Comment

JR,

thanks for you detailed list of facts. I haven’t read the book, what about it?

Regarding Dave, he shifts and avoids the real issue trying to fit us into the racist bill.

What he doesn’t know is 1. He is defending the indefensible. 2. We judge today’s Japanese by their behavior not by their hereditory origin.

Why is he so anxious to label us racist? Could it be the guilty concious somewhere in himself? Haha.

I am glad to see many us voice our views. The western media would do everything (distortion, half-truth, spinning, you name it) to put down China and its people. They are scared to face a confident and prosperous China.

But too bad, welcome to the 21th century.

December 30, 2004 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

BL, while I truly respect your intelligence and understand why you are so passionate on this subject, I believe you are missing Dave’s essential point, with which I agree: Outrage over a horrific crime committed more than half a century ago has metastasized into full-blown racist hatred against all of Japan, so out of control that Chinese can attack innocent Japanese tourists or soccer players and subject them to barbarism that only makes the Chinese appear to be weak, dysfunctional and easy to manipulate. Please — you are too smart to defend this behavior. I repeat for the hundredth time: We are all aware of the monstrous behavior of the Japanese against the Chinese in WWII — and against the Dutch, the Americans, the English, the Singaporeans, etc. The Chinese certainly suffered disproportionately, and their rage is understandable. But all of us have come to peace with history. The Japanese may have never apologized sufficiently, and you may well be right to be angry and unforgiving. But to hold onto the rage and allow it to dominate your life as Mr. Song in this article does — that is a kind of sickness that is unproductive, unhealthy and self-destructive. Can’t you see that??

December 30, 2004 @ 9:45 pm | Comment

My two cents.

I think it’s clear that Japan as a nation has not come to grips with its actions in WW2 nor accepted responsibility for its crimes, especially when compared to Germany, a nation that made its actions in WW2 central in educating future generations of Germans. I believe it’s necessary and appropriate for Chinese people and Korean people to confront Japan and demand a real, heartfelt apology.

However, the kind of anger discussed in this article I do believe is dangerous and counter-productive. It’s a way of displacing anxiety, anger about circumstances in one’s own life, fear, etc., onto a target that is more acceptable.

I also think that most Western press that I’ve read on this subject – and I am a pretty heavy reader – is sympathetic towards the feelings Chinese people have about Japan’s actions and also critical towards Japan for not really coming to grips with its past actions.

BL, it might surprise you, but I would guess that the majority of Americans are not really scared of a prosperous China. Most Americans are really pretty indifferent towards the rest of the world unless they feel directly affected by it. America is a large and in many respects insular country, and many Americans aren’t knowlegable about or all that interested in the rest of the world. So Americans working in industries that have lost jobs to China might feel resentment, but this feeling is not really deep, in my observation (though I do recall an incident back in the Seventies where some Detroit autoworkers attacked a Chinese man because they thought he was Japanese – they were very angry about Japanese domination of the auto industry).

I remember a few years ago some group here tried to organize a boycott of Chinese goods; I think it was over the spy plane incident. This simply didn’t catch on. So while we have our hateful, xenophobic minority who hate “foreigners,” the majority really doesn’t care all that much.

Who knows, this may change in the future if the American economy continues to hollow out and the Chinese economy continues to boom. People tend to seek a scapegoat when things aren’t going well…

I think that China as a nation still tends to think of itself as the persecuted country attacked and invaded by imperialists, as the wronged victim. I know enough about Chinese history to understand why this so, but if China truly is to be a “confident and prosperous” country, then Chinese will need to think of themselves as such, not as victims.

December 30, 2004 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

Richard,

I agree with you on getting carried away by ones disgust of Japan as in Mr. Song’s case. Thanks for your concern, I assure you the thought of Japan doesn’t cross my mind frequently. I have an opinion for Japan, but I certainly won’t let it effect my life as Mr. Song alleged by the report in Guardian. Yet once a while there is a chance, I will make my voice heard only to counter the ever present Japanese propaganda.

December 30, 2004 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

Lisa,

If you read my post carefully, you will see I referred to the western media. There is no denial, the western media has been demonizing China for quite a while until 911. The volumn has tuned down a bit since, but once the war on terror is over, I bet it will back to full throtal. My 2 cents.

What worries me is the misinformation or disinformation of western media to present a false sense of reality for American public, in pursuant of what the establishment thinks is the best interest of America. Taiwan issue is a prime example. I am afraid this may backfire. Iraq is another case in point.

December 30, 2004 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

Dear BL,

The media here is a mixed bag. Television is absolutely worthless, with rare exceptions like PBS’s FRONTLINE. Newspapers do a much better job of presenting detailed and more balanced coverage of issues. My local paper, the LA TIMES, has done a surprisingly good job covering Iraq, for example (on the other hand, don’t get me started about the New York Times! The “news” reporting by Judith Miller was total propaganda. I have friends who swear she is a CIA asset). If more Americans got their news from papers instead of television, I doubt that George Bush would be in office right now.

In terms of China, I think the US establishment’s interests are mixed. So much business is done between the US and China that many powerful people would certainly not support Taiwanese independence, or separatism if you prefer, if this would interfer with their business dealings. Others in the government look to Chinese monetary policy as a potential scapegoat for American economic problems. There are those on the Right who see China as a potential future military threat. Others see China as an economic partner. Editorial articles reflect these different perspectives. News coverage however I think on the whole is fairly balanced.

But the big problem in America is that not enough Americans take the time to really get informed about issues. Watching cable news channels presents a really warped perspective on the world.

December 30, 2004 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

chinese want to forgive and look forward, but if japanese worship those criminals that murdered your grandparents EVER YEAR, CAN YOU FORGIVE and smile to japanese?

i agree that anti-japan sentiments are dangerous if out of control, but i think it is even more dangerous to keep silent and calm to those fucking japanese worshiping their war criminal forefathers.

the worry that chinese will hate all japanese is unnecessary, just like it’s not necessary for chinese to refer to “a specific minor part of japanese and japan government” every time.

japanese, sorry, SOME japanese, misled western media by linking anti-japan sentiment to chinese nationalism. they are separated issues.

December 30, 2004 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

Dear Lisa,

Glad you understand what I meant, but you left a large portion of very influential media outlets way beyond NYTimes on the political spectrum, the talking heads on the AM radio, weekly standard and such. (NYTimes is really not all that bad:). On the other hand, even NPR is not unbiased. Only a fiasco in Iraq maybe served as the wakeup call for America.

December 30, 2004 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

Dear BL,

Don’t get me started on talk radio! The whole right wing media machine is truly reprehensible. The problem is in many parts of the country, this is all the “talk” that people receive – they are isolated from other news sources and then after being conditioned by talk radio tend to seek out other sources that reinforce what they already believe (e.g., Fox News).

Of course there’s no such thing as completely unbiased media. Everyone brings their own baggage to a story. And every large organization, including news organizations, has its own interests that help dictate what is covered and how it is covered. I think more than overt bias a lot of times the problem is where the attention is focused. One can look for better coverage and a diversity of coverage, and if it’s an area you know something about, compare it to the knowledge of your own experiences.

As for the Iraq disaster, 50% of the US population was always against the war. This country is deeply divided. I am personally appalled, ashamed, and grieving from the depths of my soul that this particular lesson will cost so many innocent lives before it has been learned.

But this is far afield from the topic here, and I apologize for driving off-course. I’ll just say, nationalism can be a very dangerous force…god knows American nationalism has been manipulated to horrible effect with the “War on Terror.” Chinese nationalism has the potential to be manipulated for ill as well.

December 31, 2004 @ 12:00 am | Comment

if i use the case of iraqi war and say that americans hatred towards terrorists is blind and dangerous and should be blamed, does it sound a little ridiculous?

the potential of chinese nationalism being manipulated should not be the excuse for blaming chinese against japanese worshiping those horrible war criminals.

these are just separated issues. if they have to be related, i’d say the correct thing to do is to fight against japanese right wing in order to reduce chinese nationalism.

December 31, 2004 @ 12:56 am | Comment

In 1996 I shared a house in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, with a Japanese man by the name of Maru, and with a Korean woman by the name of Yee Oon-Hee.

The three of us were all of the same age – all born in the year 1969. Maru was an exchange teacher from Yokohama, working as a teacher of Japanese at the nearby Jesmond University High School – where I too, was at the time teaching. Oon-Hee was studying at the nearby University of Newcastle (my old university) for her Masters Degree in Nursing.

When Oon-Hee and Maru first met in the living room of my home in the Newcastle suburb of Jesmond, I could sense, behind the initial politeness, feelings of ambivalence. Oon-Hee, being a South Korean, had been taught from early childhood that the Japanese “race” is inherently evil, that they are barbaric and cruel. And Maru had been taught that the Koreans not only hate the Japanese, but also that they are culturally less developed and inferior.

I spent two years of my life working as a middle school teacher in South Korea, beginnnig the year after that, from 1997-98, and I know how most Koreans view the Japanese. The fair majority are not unlike the Oon-Hee that I first met in the southern summer of 1996. And in 1999, I lived in Japan for a year, so I also have a good idea of how many Japanese feel towards Koreans.

South Korean school text books, from middle school upwards, teach hatred. Period. Every Korean I have ever met has expressed the exact same line: that the Japanese are “cruel”, in sharp contrast to Koreans, who are “kind.” This is the common line. If you think the Chinese hatred for the Japanese is strong, then you ain’t seen nothing. Trust me, the Korean hatred of the Japanese is far stronger, far more widespread, far scarier, far more neurotic indeed.

I had a young Korean girlfrind, Ji-Sook was her name, and she too, harboured these sentiments. And all of the staff that I worked with too – they all expressed not only a chauvinistic nationalism, but also a deep hatred of the Japanese, and of the Japanese “character” – which they generally defined a being quintessentially cruel, as being defined by the “sword” rather than by the chysanthemum.

I love the people of South Korea, but I really did (and still do) find this chauvanistic nationalism, and this anti-Japanese sentiment, this strong, overwhelming hatred, to be troubesome, to be deeply disturbing, to be, quite frankly, both neurotic and dangerous.

My most vivid memory of my time living with Oon-Hee, was the time when I walked out of my room at about 2 o’clock in the morning one Tuesday night, after a hard session of Miles Davis and a local Hunter Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – only to discover, much to my surprise, her sitting on the living room sofa, in complete darkness, sobbing. I could hear her sobbing, and when I switched on the light, sure enough, the tears were streaming down her face.

“What’s the matter Oon-Hee?” I asked. “Why are you crying?”

I will never, for as long as I live, forget the conversation that followed. To cut it short though, to summarise if you like, I had just confronted a girl in her late twenties, who, for the first time in her entire life, had been forced to come to terms with the fact that she had spent her entire life to date, living a lie. And an outrageous one at that.

Within only two months of having come to Australia, of having met Maru and me, she had been forced to acknowledge to herself, that, contrary to everything she had ever been “taught” about Japanese men, that Maru was a kind, decent, very likable man – a man without a cruel bone in his body. “Not all Japanese men are evil,” she sobbed. “I must admit that now.”

Oon-Hee had sat through an hour of the ABC news earlier that evening, and had learn’t of how many Australian, British and American World War Two veterans had been, for many years, pressuring the South Korean government into helping them to bring to justice a number of South Korean nationals who had served in the Japanese Imperial forces as executioners and torturers, of how the Japanese army actually preferred to recruit the services of Koreans to carry out these gruesome tasks, because most Japanese soldiers were considered by their superiors to be too “squeamish” to carry out such acts. None of this was ever discussed or reported on in South Korea. Thus these revelations were to her, both deeply surprsing and shocking.

She had just learn’t what I had known for years – that South Korean soldiers had a reputation during the Vietnam War for being particularly cruel and viscious, and she had been forced to consider what I had alerted her to about a week earlier (after I had scolded her for rather rudely and unfairly telling Maru, to his face, that she hated all Japanese because they were “cruel” and evil) – namely, that some individual Koreans are also capable of committing acts of extreme cruelty, as many soldiers demonstrated during the Kwangju Massacre of the 80s for example, when we saw Korean soldiers dragging pregnant women off public buses, and then bayonetting them on the streets.

Suddenly, for the first time in her life, it dawned on Oon-Hee that all human beings are fundamentally the same! That all human beings are capable of acts of extreme cruelty, just as we are all capable of extreme acts of kindness and humanity. She suddenly became aware, was forced to admit to herself, that the Japanese are absolutely no different from Koreans or Australians or anybody else for that matter.

This, quite clearly, came as a painful shock to her. She was sobbing. Everything she had been taught about the Japanese and the Koreans for the last 28 years had suddenly fallen apart, had collapsed – and with it, her confidence in herself. Her confidence in her own world view, her confidence in her own history, and in her future. Her whole world view had just been shattered.

Oon-Hee, like many South Koreans, was a Christian, influenced by evangelical Methodists who had also taught her to hate – all non-believers, all atheists like myself, she had been taught, were evil, were condemned to hell. Yet she knew that I was no evil sinner (and no saint either!) – she knew that my atheism was logical and human. She couldn’t deny my humanitarianism, my humanity.

She had come to Australia with an intense dislike of homosexuals too, but was forced to acknowledge, after having met many of them, that they too were simply human. That they were really no different from anybody else. She was at first shocked by the fact that nearly all of my best friends were either gay, or were radical feminists, or were Marxists even – some of them were bisexual Marxist-Leninist Muslim revolutionaries of high school age even (yes! students of mine). All of these things challenged her worldview, and made her, I believe, a much better person. When she returned to South Korea, she certainly wasn’t the same Oon-Hee that she was when she first arrived in sunny old Newcastle.

The point that I am trying to make here, I guess, is this: all human beings are fundamentally the same. We are all, fundamentally social creatures, though we are all existentialists too. Nothing in this world, human nature included, is black and white.

Both of my grandfathers fought the Japanese during World War Two. Both of them, my mother’s father in particular, witnessed a lot of killing, and was tormented by this until the day he died. My father’s father is still alive today.

My younger sister started learning Japanese as a language when she was in high school, and it was then that she first started inviting Japanese exchange students into our home for varying lengths of stay. Each time, and there were countless times, each time she would introduce our young Japanese guests to my grandparents. I am very proud of both of my grandfathers – both of them, despite their war experiences, and despite all of the atrocities that occured in the Pacific theatre of war by the Japnaese Imperial forces against their fellow Australians, neither of them held a grudge. In fact, both of my grandfathers always welcomed Japanese guests into their homes with open arms. They felt no hatred towards today’s Japanese youth, or towards older generations of Japanese either for that matter. And why should they? Why should they hate?

The Chinese can talk all they want about how cruel the Japanese were during the past, just as the Jews can continue to alert us to the ongoing legacies of the Nazi holocaust, just as the Palestinians can alert us to what the state of Isreal is doing to them, just as the Iraqis can, and probably will for generations to come, continue to suffer the torments of US imperial agression, ad infinitum. And the Tibetans can alert us to their sufferings under Chinese occupation too, and of all the atrocities that occured during the initial Chinese invasion of 1950, and the Vietnamese can continue to harbour their deep resentment not only towards the Americans, but also towards the Chinese, who also invaded Vietnam – which they did after the US-Vietnamese War.

There is no excuse for such acts of aggression and violence. Nor is there any excuse for teaching our children to go on hating.

I do not believe in the death penalty. I do not believe in revenge. Violence begets violence.

It’s about time we all learn’t to acknowledge and to accept the fact that all human beings are fundamentally the same, and in the interests of our collective futures, it’s about time we all learn’t how to forgive.

My grandfathers were able to forgive – and without any apologies – and by doing so, they were able to develop new friendships, to experience new cultures – they were able to share and to develop and to grow.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

December 31, 2004 @ 1:49 am | Comment

Dear Bingfeng,

I’m not sure I follow your argument. I do think that the Bush Administration used the American peoples’ fear of terrorists to gain support for an unjustified war in Iraq (e.g., “,Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11,” “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction,” etc.). Part of the way this support is maintained is by appealing to patriotism – “supporting the troops” is patriotic, questioning the war is unpatriotic, “America is good, America is the best country in the world, therefore what we do in Iraq is just and right” (people are beginning to wake up to the fallacies of this argument, I think).

I don’t think anyone here is blaming Chinese for Japanese blindness towards their own past and for worshipping war criminals. I don’t think that’s what you meant in your post, so I’ll also say that I think Chinese anger towards Japanese ignoring their own past and refusing to accept responsibility for it is also very understandable. What people here are questioning is the intense emotional response of many younger Chinese people who did not personally experience these events, and that while many other topics are not open for debate in public or on the internet, anti-Japanese sentiments are allowed and even encouraged.

I do agree with you about the Japanese right wing – I get angry myself when I read about how this faction has tried to suppress history. And I think these Japanese militarists are also racists at heart. This is also an expression of extreme nationalism and an example of why nationalism can be so dangerous.

But I do think Japan is changing a great deal. Japanese people, especially the young people, travel a great deal more than older generations. Many are more open-minded and international in their thinking. I would hope that they will learn about their own history and come to understand the resentment of people in China and Korea. On the other hand, the younger people in Japan are so far removed from this era in history that it might not have the same importance to them that it does to you. I imagine many younger Japanese find Chinese anger somewhat bewildering.

December 31, 2004 @ 1:50 am | Comment

Dear Lisa,

As a high school teacher of history, and as someone who has lived in South Korea, Japan and China, and as somebody who is extremely well read on all of the issues that have so far been raised in this debate, I can say, and I think with some authority, that you are very very CORRECT in all that you say.

Your observations and the strength of your analysis impresses me greatly.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

December 31, 2004 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Mark, thanks for your kind words. I also very much appreciated your post. You demonstrate the value of travel, cultural exchange and one-on-one contacts. I know it’s possible to maintain your prejudices no matter where you go and who you meet, but you have to work a lot harder at it. It’s really unfamiliarity that breeds contempt, for the most part…

Lived in China a while myself but my only visits to Japan have been to Narita Airport, and the closest I’ve come to Korea is Koreatown in Los Angeles.

December 31, 2004 @ 2:27 am | Comment

this is an awesome dialogue on a topic that has interested me for years.

guys, we must differentiate a government from its people- i mean come on. i didn’t bomb iraq, my retarded government did. i was outspokenly against the war. if you were to hate america because of the war, for example, where does this leave me? am i your enemy or your friend? if you don’t know me, how do you know if you should hate me personally?

on hating the japanese, i say feel free to hate every japanese person who has personally wronged you. get angry at the individuals who hurt you or your country. protect yourself and your country. but to the millions of japanese whom you don’t know, how can you feel OK hating them? how can you defend hating innocent people? you hate koizumi? fine. hate certain politicians? fine. hate them. but for the love of humanity and goodness, spare the innocent. the way you talk about the japanese is disgusting and ugly and i can’t believe my eyes when i see the sort of ignorant, childish reasons you’ve given for hating an ENTIRE CULTURE– it’s… actually quite terrifying to know that such encompassing, blind hatred still exists in the world.

i have an analogy for you japanese haters. say you know a boy in your town, and the whole town knows his father to be a total asshole, alcoholic, wife-beating bastard. will this make you hate the boy? after all, they are related. they are the same family. same blood. will you hate this boy because of his father? if you say “yes” to this… than discussion over. i give up on you and hope we never cross paths.

to say ” i hate japan”, i think, is different. it infers the place, and maybe the “system” at work there, which is ok to hate. but to say you hate the “japanese”, as in the people, is just wrong, no matter how you look at it, or how you defend it. please think about it and evolve.

as you think about it… think about how the world would think of YOU personally, if the world subscribed to your reasoning, especially if you are chinese. if i hate the CCP, their policies and arrogance and corruption and lies and terrible deeds, including their direct responsibility for millions of deaths in china through the years, does that mean i should hate every chinese person on the mainland? should i hate every chinese person who comes to my country? can i equate every chinese person with the actions of the government there?

what of those chinese who take issue with the ccp? are they also to be my enemies, were i to use your rationale of mass hatred? if not, what of those japanese who don’t support the behavior of koizumi or the rightist revisionists when it comes to the shrine, or textbooks or whatever the hell. will they be spared your hate? if so, you’ll have to go to japan and try hard to find those who *really* deserve your hatred. they certainly aren’t a bunch of footballers for god’s sake.

December 31, 2004 @ 2:37 am | Comment

Richard,

I guess you are not aware that the revisionist Japanese history textbook, has so far been adopted by only 2 private schools (all in Tokyo) and the total in print is below 2,000 copies. After all, Japan has a liberal-leaning teacher’s union that vows to block their country’s road backwards by all means.

How about China? I hate to say that, but how does China’s textbook deal with Mao’s and communists’ atrocity against his own people, leaving more casualties than the Japanese Imperial Army did?

No one can come even close to China’s schoolchildren, me was among them, in exposure to lies and outright lies.

The offially-sanctioned hatred against Japan, and the racism underpinning it, has been Chinese communist’s vehicle to justify their cling to the power after the fall of Berlin Wall. (You need China’s twisted logic to understand it) After years of trial-and-error, they know Japan is a far more convenient target than America, and choosing it is much less controversial even among the relatively open-minded Chinese.

Hatred for a specific nation, racism, sense of being victimized and uber-alles nationalism. Do they sound all too familiar? You are right. And now we have been informed of the Reich’s last territorial claim: Taiwan. What’s next?

December 31, 2004 @ 4:02 am | Comment

Thank you Dave for the enlightenment. And your suggestion to solve the dispute also seems well-minded and practical. Unfortunately, the Beijing regime what is greatly benefited politically will never want to reach such a compromise on behalf of Chinese people.

BL said: Had I had such ansester (God forbidden!), I would kneel to the victims, and say sorry sorry sorry, I would have absolutely nothing to do with my ansester.

You don’t have to BL. I don’t think Jaschika Fischer bears any responsilibity for what SS troops had done, or Mr. Mao Xinyu does for what Chairman Mao had done. It’s indecent to even slightly hint they ever do.

December 31, 2004 @ 4:37 am | Comment

bellavue, Your arguement is very typical,1. does Jaschika Fischer worship SS troops as god in German Shrine annually?
2. As to your insult to Chairman Mao, it’s just disgusting!
3. You are a liar, if you are from mainland, you know CCP taught us “Friendship/Peace between China and Japan Forever/All Generations”. I was never taught in my schooling in mainland to hate Japan. I have to say, You are a LIAR.
4. Taiwan belongs to China, and it has nothing to do with CCP.
5. Examine you hatred toward China first.

li, you are a Chinese hater period. Please tell us why? And please exmine you own hatred first.

Lisa, Mark and Richard,
ALL of you avoiding the issue of Japanese worshipping the war criminals and “war dead” in Japanese National Shrine, while dwelling on how Chinese and Korean hate the Japanese. Why?
Does such worship say something about Japan culturally? Who could say Japan has forgotten its shameful past?
How do you explain moving war criminals to Japanese National Shrine to be worshipped by PM and tens of millions of Japanese annually?
Such culture no doubt contributed to the craziness of Japan from 1800′s-1945, who could say it won’t happen again?

Please someone enlighten me about the Japanese worship of war criminals and “war dead” as gods in National Shrine. Am I missing something? are the westerns take it for granted and considered regular? Do you all do that?

I never hate Japan, I have a unfavorate view of Japan based on the collective behavior of the Japanese past and present.

December 31, 2004 @ 7:04 am | Comment

To Mark,

Please show us the evidence of your alleged butality of Chinese in Tibet. I want to see that. BTW, Tibet had been part of China way before CCP took power.

You are wrong about alleged Chinese action against Vietnam in 1979. Vietnam invaded Cambolia in 1978, Cambolian King was in exile in BeiJing. China had to punish Vietnam for its aggression after many warnings.

December 31, 2004 @ 7:30 am | Comment

oops, liar allegation. Please indicate in which line I lied to you or this forum.

I believe Mr. Mao Xinyu is NOT responsible at all for what Chairman mao has done. You have a problem with that?

As for the education is 70s/80s, yes, “shi4 shi4 dai4 dai4 you3 hao3 xia4 qu4″ (friendship forever) was in official curriculum, and then CPC secretary Hu Yaobang personally invited 3,000 youth from Japan to foster better relations. Hatred against japan was not even on the radar screen.

Who purged Hu Yaobang and his successor, and veered the nation towards a hate-based agenda?

Don’t even get me start on the June 4 massacre.

December 31, 2004 @ 8:38 am | Comment

To avoid cross-posting, my reponse to the Sino-Vietnamese war is posted under
http://pekingduck.org/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=2125

Basically, China failed to resue Pol Pot and his murderous regime from being toppled. Again, US foreign policy revealed its ugly face then by putting geopolitics above American principles, condoning such invasion and genocide against Vietnamese people. Another proof of Rickard’s point: everyone is capable of commiting those crimes, if not reined.

December 31, 2004 @ 8:52 am | Comment

bellavue,

Regarding Chairman Mao, do you like to be compared with Jeffery Duma in the same line? What you did was discusting.

You have just proved yourself a liar; CCP do teach “China-Japan Friendship Forever” to school kids. BTW, show us the CCP document says Hu YaoBong was purged for advocating reconcile with Japan. You are trying to mislead the non-Chinese again by providing half truth with some clever spinning. You are intellecully dishonest, simply put you are a LIAR.

December 31, 2004 @ 10:09 am | Comment

BL,

i’m no china hater at all. i love the cultures here and have made many good friends. i don’t like the gov’t very much, in fact, i hate it- and that’s my point: i don’t hold my objections to the actions and policies of the CCP against the chinese people, which is what you seem to be doing w/regards to japan.

to seperate a government from its people is to recognize humanity. i love being able to say that i hate pres. bush, and i expect that when i travel, other people who don’t like bush will enjoy talking to me about it, regardless of my race or nationality. it simply doesn’t matter where i’m from or what race i am. don’t you see that? all that matters is what i think and do as an individual. i should be held responsible for and judged on my own actions, not those of anyone else.

seperate the japanese rightests from the many wonderful people there, and recognize that they are people, on their own, and don’t deserve your hatred, especially if you don’t even know them. how many japanese people have you actually met? i urge you to consider talking with some of them, especially the new generation. talk to them about these very things. hear what they have to say. then talk with them about fishing or whatever you’re into. it might just shed some light on some of the feelings you have.

December 31, 2004 @ 10:28 am | Comment

Dear BL,

I think if you reread my posts you will see that I have in no way minimized the historical crimes that the state of Japan committed against the Chinese people. I did not emphasize the shrine issue because it is a part of the historical myopia on the part of a segment of Japanese people and also of the right-wing militarist Japanese ideology which I also singled out for criticism. In other words, the shrine is symptomatic of these larger issues. It’s all very well and good to criticize a symbol that represents a larger crime, but it is still a symbol, not the crime or the action itself.

Certainly moving the war criminals out of this shrine would be a way for the Japanese government to show that it understands what this symbol represents and has taken measures to come to terms with Japan’s imperial past.

I can’t think of a single powerful country throughout human history that has not committed atrocities and crimes of some sort. We Americans like to think of ourselves as a force for good in this world, but we bear our share of mistakes and outright atrocities. China has been aggressed upon through much of the 20th century, but that does not mean that the government of China has never made a mistake or committed atrocities (and there are plenty of Chinese, officials and ordinary citizens alike, who are willing to say so). All of us have a responsibility to admit and come to grips with crimes that have been committed in our names.

I should add in case there are any doubts that I love China. I visit as often as I can, study my Mandarin, keep myself informed from as many sources as I can find. I want nothing but the best for China and her people, both because of my affection for China and because I don’t think the world will succeed if China doesn’t succeed.

December 31, 2004 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

Young people in China should dedicate their cyberenergies to demanding an apology from their own government for the events in Tiananmen Square. Anti-Japanese racism just convinces me that there is no hope for the current generation of young Chinese.

December 31, 2004 @ 9:13 pm | Comment

”nŽ­?AWillmsen-san‚𖳎‹‚µ‚Ä‚­‚¾‚³‚¢?B

December 31, 2004 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

“Young people in China should dedicate their cyberenergies to demanding an apology from their own government for the events in Tiananmen Square. Anti-Japanese racism just convinces me that there is no hope for the current generation of young Chinese.”

anti-japanese RACISM? this is your tag, perhaps its more appropriate for your own people.

December 31, 2004 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

lisa,
thanks for your post and i just want to say that many westerners blaming chinese anti-japan sentiment without any understanding of the causes behind it, their blames are very selfish, because they fear or hate a nationalistic china, but they don’t show any sympathy towards the victims of japanese armies.

the basic facts are: japanese did horrible things and they worship those criminals even TODAY, as a result, chinese become angry.

two separated issues are: should chinese hate japanese worshiping war criminals, should chinese hate all japanese.

to 1st question, the answer is YES, to 2nd question, the answer is NO.

SIMPLE and CLEAR.

December 31, 2004 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

Dear Bingfeng,

Perhaps you have heard of the Chinese American historian, Iris Chang. She wrote a book in English about the Nanjing Massacre. For many Americans, this was their first exposure to what happened in Nanjing in 1938. Iris Chang felt driven to learn the truth and tell others what she had learned. More recently she was working on a book about the experiences of American soldiers taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Second World War.

A month or so ago, Iris Chang killed herself. She had a husband, a young child, a great career, aclaim and many good friends. But it was as though she could not live with the things she had learned, about what people are capable of doing to each other. She was consumed by the past, and it destroyed her.

So I would say to you, don’t abandon your quest for justice. In many ways it is even more important for the people of Japan to understand the truth than it is for people in China to receive the apology. But if young people in China are consumed by anger about events that happened before they were born, isn’t there a danger that they will not be able to deal with injustices in the present, with things that can actually be addressed and perhaps improved?

The past can’t be changed. It can be honestly addressed, and I think that’s very important. But we all live in the present, and while I think it’s vital to understand how we got here, we can only proceed from where we are right now.

Well, that sounded pretty spacey and pretentious, but after all, it IS a New Year. Happy 2005 to everyone!

January 1, 2005 @ 1:11 am | Comment

So JR, we meet again.

Now this is an open forum section on Japan, this is the proper place to write these things. Feel free to repost everything that was not suitable for my BIOGRAPHY PAGE here.

To the world in general.

I know that I am usually the lone voice of support for Japan and I have taken a lot of flack for what I have said, but it is good to see that there are some people who feel the same way as me on at least a few issues.

First of all I will say that I studied history in Europe, I studied this period of history and specifically I studied how to use different sources, both biased and unbiased, to get to the truth as seen by the victims and the perpetrators, and as it really was. I know what I am talking about and I am fully aware of Japan’s crimes and of the suffering of so many people the onslaught during and prior to the war, but I also have a better knowledge of Japanese culture than most, for reasons that some of you may know but most of you won’t, and I was not, as many people have levelled the accusation, born in Japan so I am not biased.

I will not deny the war or what happened, I will not say that Japan had any right to do what it did and I will be the first to say that it was an unspeakable act of barbarity that must never be denied or forgotten, but what I will say that post war Japan has been done a great disservice by people who see that Japan is not acting the same way that they would and have taken from this that Japan has shown no remorse.

I would like to add to this debate a brief lesson in the way that Japan deals with difficult issues, not just the war, but in everyday life, it will tell you exactly why Japan is acting like it is and a little about China and the infamous shrine to Japan’s war dead.

1) Semblance of Unity

Japan is not an emotionally open country, its people tend to form small personal groups and to keep issues within these groups, and even then difficult issues are not raised if it is thought that they will disrupt the harmony of the group. The war is not openly discussed in Japan because it was a very troubling time when a large proportion of the country ‘went mad’ and dropped to sub human levels. People know what went on but they are afraid to discuss it because it will mean breaking ranks. They don’t publicly discuss these issues but they do in their own private groups.

Recently it made the national news when a large number of students refused to honor the flag because of its use as a symbol of imperialism. This rare show of disunity and the public response to it highlights this aspect of the Japanese character very well.

2) Emotions

Many people feel that Japan is a cold country because it is not openly emotional. Grief, shame and anger are all considered to be things that must be conducted in private. If Japan feels anything over the war it won’t show it to an outsider. It only looks like Japan feels nothing, the emotional outpourings that happened happened behind closed doors.

3) Shame versus guilt

Japan feels a lot of shame over the war, the very fact that it is not openly speaking about the war shows this, if it did not feel shame then it would openly discuss the issue if only to deny it. If people didn’t feel that they were at fault then they would say it rather vocally.

Shame is something that a Japanese person must bear in silence, to openly fall in your knees and apologise is not in the Japanese culture, in fact many people would see falling on their knees as being disrespectful to the people who were butchered. If the Japanese prime minister ever falls on his knees it would actually be seen as an insult to the people that he is apologising to. By being undignified during an apology he would be showing great disrespect to the dead.

The day that a Japanese politician does that is the day that he is insulting the memories of the dead. That is the day that you should get upset on.

Also note that many Japanese wartime leaders and soldiers committed suicide, in Japan this is done for many reasons, but most of all the shame of loosing their honor. Many of the people who committed suicide were actually admitting what they had done in killing themselves.

What Japan however does not feel is guilt. When those who committed murder died, their guilt died with them, though the shame carried on and it will carry on and be borne silently for many generations to come.

4) Reflection

Japan has no offensive military, no nuclear weapons, and is terrified that it might revert back to its military past. This is the legacy of the war, Japan reflected in its own way even if it did it behind closed doors. Japan won’t even defend its self for fear that it will repeat the past. Everyday hundreds of Manga are published where Japan puts its self in the place of the people that it murdered and it beats its self with messages against war and against atrocities so hard that the messages have become ingrained in the very fabric of Japanese society.

Japan has reflected, but not through talk shows and public displays of grief because this would break the semblance of harmony and it would mean bringing shame out into the open which would not only bring dishonour to the people, but would dishonour those butchered during the war.

The day that Japan acts like Germany is the day that it is being insincere.

China

China won’t accept an apology from Japan, it is a matter of pride now. If Japan read out an apology written by China, it would be ‘too late’ and if it read one of its own it would be ‘incomplete or insincere’ China simply has to much invested emotionally.

Shrine visits

You are using the word honoured in the western sense, not in the Japanese sense. When translated correctly honoured should be read ‘remembered’. Japan is remembering its dead in the same way that it remembers its ancestors. Prime Minister Koizumi is remembering the dead, not condoning their actions. He remembers the losses to guide him away from future wars.

If you do not ‘remember’ a war criminal, you are not remembering his victims either. If Japan were to remove the war criminals from the shrine it would be denying the suffering of their victims. When you remember a wicked man, you acknowledge all he did and use it to remind you have the terrible things that man can do.

Prime mister Koizumi’s cousin is one of those remembered in the shrine, as are many Korea and Taiwanese soldiers who were ‘colonial soldiers’ for Japan. Along with conscripts who never harmed a civilian in their lives.

All men have the capacity for great evil, this is our curse, but all men also have the capacity to repent, this is our blessing and we must cherish it.

January 1, 2005 @ 4:25 am | Comment

JR is from Singapore, he/she has a lot of emotions invested in this.

January 1, 2005 @ 4:30 am | Comment

Quote:
If you do not ‘remember’ a war criminal, you are not remembering his victims either. If Japan were to remove the war criminals from the shrine it would be denying the suffering of their victims. When you remember a wicked man, you acknowledge all he did and use it to remind you have the terrible things that man can do.
Unquote

This is a new one – I haven’t heard of this before. Applying this logic, maybe the US military shouldn’t have toppled Saddam’s statue when they reached Baghdad. Perhaps the German government shouldn’t have erased Hitler’s bunker – in fact they ought to erect a ‘shrine’ for Hitler in rememberance of the 6 million Jews murdered in WWII.

Quote:
Japan has no offensive military, no nuclear weapons, and is terrified that it might revert back to its military past. This is the legacy of the war, Japan reflected in its own way even if it did it behind closed doors. Japan won’t even defend its self for fear that it will repeat the past.
Unquote

Under Koizumi, this is changing. Japan is asserting herself – problem with ‘assertion’ is that it’ll turn eventually into ‘aggression’.

Quote:
China won’t accept an apology from Japan, it is a matter of pride now. If Japan read out an apology written by China, it would be ‘too late’ and if it read one of its own it would be ‘incomplete or insincere’ China simply has to much invested emotionally.
Unquote

How would you know? Sounds like an excuse to explain that it would be futile or not worth Japan’s effort to apologise, hence excusing Japan from not apologising.

January 1, 2005 @ 5:46 am | Comment

“China won’t accept an apology from Japan, it is a matter of pride now. If Japan read out an apology written by China, it would be ‘too late’ and if it read one of its own it would be ‘incomplete or insincere’ China simply has to much invested emotionally.”

you are ABSOLUTELY wrong in this point.

there are former japanese soilders who murdered chinese go to worship war criminals TODAY in japan.

their PM goes to worship war criminals TODAY in japan.

a visiting japanese professor told my father in 1999 FACE-TO-FACE that japan did nothing wrong during WWII

in DECEMBER of the YEAR 2004, japanese refused apoligize to a former sex slave and refused to pay a cent to her.

in YEAR 2004, japanese chemical weapons killed chinese in northeastern part of china.

this list goes on and on and on …

SIR, IS THERE AN APOLOGY FROM JAPAN? LOOK AT MY EYES AND GIVE ME AN HONEST ANSWER!

January 1, 2005 @ 7:15 am | Comment

“If you do not ‘remember’ a war criminal, you are not remembering his victims either. If Japan were to remove the war criminals from the shrine it would be denying the suffering of their victims. When you remember a wicked man, you acknowledge all he did and use it to remind you have the terrible things that man can do.”

wow, great theory.

i really hope former japanese soilders think in the same way.

you really believe former japanese soilders and japanese PM go there to reflect their guilt? come on, look the pics in my blog, they hold guns and army flags, they dressed in japanese army uniform, look at their faces and their eyes.

you are not honest.

January 1, 2005 @ 7:20 am | Comment

although japan is a SOB, but it’s freeworld’s SOB, therefore the western views toward sino-japan relationship is very much biased.

i am just speechless.

January 1, 2005 @ 7:28 am | Comment

Perhaps the CCP could provide leadership in this area, providing an example by apologizing publicly and sincerely to the Chinese people for atrocities far worse than anything the Japanese have ever done in China. CCP members have done more collectively to hurt the Chinese nation than any Japanese occupation force. The worst Japanese occupation cruelties were nothing compared to the cruelties perpetuated by the current government of China on its own people over the last 50 years. So demand a mass apology, and prosecution for them first.

One reason for this cult of victimhood in China is that it directs attention away from these uncomfortable problems. So fix your own government before screaming like little babies for apologies from everyone else for events very few people alive today can even remember first-hand.

January 1, 2005 @ 8:08 am | Comment

Lisa,

Thank you very much for telling us your feelings toward China. I appreciate it very much, I believe all Chinese do. As you must have known the Chinese is a caring and good-hearted people. This is true even toward the Japanese.

One example, when Japan surrended after WWII, there were thousands Japanese orphans left by their parents. The ordinary Chinese people took them in and raised them in their own homes just like their own kids. These Japanese orphans went back to Japan in 1970′s. These orphans can testify to the goodness of Chinese people. How could anyone say the Chinese hate the Japanese?

Just looking at the title of the original article “blind rage”, the western media (across all political spectrum) in its desire to demonize CCP, constantly blame CCP for inflaming nationalism. Japanese bashing is used as an example.

As a Chinese, born and raised in Mainland, I can tell you, as bingfang said alreay, it’s the CCP that suppressed the grief of ordinary Chinese, it’s the CCP for 50 years teaching “Peace Between China and Japan Forever” to school kids, it’s the CCP preaching “Peace with Japan Forever” to Chinese society. In CCP propaganda, Japan is the ONLY country entitled to “Peace For ALL GENERATIONS” treatment. CCP has been blamed even by dissidents for that. What else could CCP do? I am not a communist, but the western media is grossly dishonest.
I just want to clearify the misinformation/disinformation accepted as truth in the West. I want you to see the truth. The outpouring of hostility toward Japan can also be attributed to the suppression of CCP for so long. Like Mike mentioned, compared to the Koreans, the Chinese are much mild toward Japan.

I agree with you, the war memory is a baggage for China to carry in this day and age. As in the case of Irs Chang, we all mourn for the loss. Yet as Chinese we feel our ansesters were grossly wronged again by the behavior of Japan today, they deserve justice. It’s our responsibility to bring them justice. How could you ask us to forgive and forget, while the Japanese offer no approapriate appology and Japanese PM (plus much of Japan) worships and honors the criminals who committed undescribable horror to our ansesters to this very day? Indeed what Japan does is a disgrace to themselves. We could keep a blind eye and move on. Yet, we have to defend the honor of our ansesters and demand justice. China is not only the 1.3 billion Chinese and its territory we see today, it’s also the long history that made the land and its people China. We know if injustice were committed upon us, our posterities will demand justice for us.

It’s like an American being murdured by terrorists, the US and its people will demand justice. Why? Can’t America just move on, that would save more American lives and momey? Because America feels the murdured Amerian is a part of America, America is violated as a whole. Every American should contribute to bring justice to the victim.

Lisa, I hope I can help you see this issue from a Chinese perspective. It’s not the Chinese hate the Japanese, the question should be why Japan hates China so much? Other than giving Japan a culture and a language what else did China do?

January 1, 2005 @ 8:36 am | Comment

To Fino Bre,

If you are a Japanese, you should appologize, otherwise it’s none of your business. Who are you to tell Chinese people what to do? who are you to tell Chinese people what to think?

January 1, 2005 @ 8:41 am | Comment

ACB, has devoted his/her entire web-site to the hatred of China.

Some facts should be clearified in ACB’s post.

Japan has most advanced offensive millitary in Asia.

Japanese military buget highest in the world except USA.

January 1, 2005 @ 8:57 am | Comment

To everyone here:

I find the comments here very interesting.

Seriously, i think the blame is squarely and Solely on Japan. Why? Because its behaviour never really reflected its remorse nor apology. Japanese politicians on many occassions have make very evil commenst about thw world. For instance, the Nanking Massacre is a “fabricated” lie against Japan, the occupation of Korea is one “requested by its own people”, comfort women not given any compensation, the list continues as the Japanese ultra-nationalists continue whitewashing history.

Another interesting point is many here actually diverted Japan’s guilt and refusal to face history by mentioning CCP’s own despotic and tyrannical record. Yes, the CCP did commited huge mistakes and crimes aginst its own people, but i did not see the connection at all. If Chiang and the KMT were still China’s rulers, they would have done the same.

For your information, i am a KMT-inclined nationalist who has no love for the PRC and the CCP for subverting the Republic of China (ROC) est by the late father of modern China, Dr Sun Yat Sen. But my dislike for Japan’s refusal to face history and make amendments was not affected by my ideological differences with the CCP. Any Chinese, be they communists, democrats, socialists, liberals, as long as they were nationalists, they would feel the same towards Japan’s misguided and regrettable attitude towards its own past.

January 1, 2005 @ 9:18 am | Comment

All of you will want to see Jerome Keating’s new comment on Taiwan, which makes several interesting points about the issue we are discussing. BL, he addresses you in particular.

Last item: BL, it’s okay if you have a grudge against ACB, but I request that you keep it between yourselves and not use my comments as a means to attack him. Thanks.

January 1, 2005 @ 9:20 am | Comment

RMH:

The Vietnamese were far from being saints in their invasion of Cambodia. They did not go in to remove Pol Pot out of saintly concern for the Cambodian people. The very fact is Pol Pot was an anti-Hanoi element that must be removed to achieve Vietnamese political dominance over the whole of the Indochina region. If Pol Pot was a Vietnamese puppet, they would have let his butcher house to continue its gruesome business.

China’s acts towards his ethnic minorities may be far from clean, but i do not see how any country can be a moral judge in this. The US expanded her territory by taking over the lands of Red Indians while Australia was not so kind towards her aboriginals. How about Abu Gharib and Guantanamo? Opposition towards the International Criminal Court? Support for Musharraf, and Uzbekistan’s, Turkmenistan’s despots? The US support for the autocratic regimes in Riyadh, Cairo, Kuwait? Lesson is: Stop being a pretentious hypocrite! Look at your own record before you judge others.

January 1, 2005 @ 9:42 am | Comment

bellevue,

“Vietcong has committed many atrocities against its own people. But invading Cambodia and ending the Khumer Rouge, just another brutal regime backed by Beijing, definitely is not a one of those. ”

I do not think you have even passed college history in school. Vietcong is a term used to describe south Vietnamese rebels formed under the National Liberation Front to overthrow the Saigon regime, it was not only consisted of communists but many other nationalist groups which opposed Saigon and her foreign masters. To use Vietcong as a term for the Hanoi communist regime goes to show how much credentials you have to debate historical issues with others. its time to grab a college history textbook again dude.

January 1, 2005 @ 9:43 am | Comment

Richard:

Frankly, i did not think much of Jerome’s comments because he did not see the separation between democracy and sovereignty.

The Taiwan issue is not a democarcy versus totalitarian issue as the pro-independence forces try to potray it as such. I am for democracy, but democracy cannot be applied to the issue of sovereignty. Democracy gives the right to choose in your country, but NOT the right to seccede from your country.

Most sovereign state, be they democratic or not, would never allow its sovereignty to be questioned because it would destory the basis of a nation-state. The US, a democratic country, used force in the North-South civil war to crush the splittist action of the Southern Confederation. The US is a democratic country, why can’t the people in the South exercise their DEMOCRATIC rights to seccede from Washington? National leaders would never allow sovereignty to be shaken, democracy cannot be exercised in this case just like individuals cannot exercise absolute democracy and freedom to choose if society were to exist, if not they can be freely choosing to rape and murder etc.

India being the largest democracy in the world, would never allowed a referendum on Kashmir. Nor did India asked the consent of the people of Goa in 1962 when it use force to annex it from Lisbon. The issue is about soveriegnty, democracy cannot be used to decide sovereignty. Did Spain ever held a referendum in the Basque provinces to resolve the simmering conflict? The Phillippines, another democracy, similarly never let the Minadao Muslims form their own state. Indonesia, recently turned demcratic, never lossen its grip on Aceh or West Papua. Its sovereignty we are talking about, democracy cannot be used to override sovereignty.

Jerome never realised that Taiwan enjoyed the peace for five decades because of the official title of the Republic of China. Since in a de jure sense, Taipei still regarded itself as the alternate China, Beijing never felt the need to disturb the lifestyle of the 23 million Taiwanese people. Its was unitl Lee and Chen Shui Bian who started rocking the boat then the Taiwan Straits becomes a dangerous flashpoint in Asia.

January 1, 2005 @ 10:14 am | Comment

sp, you are on very shaky ground comparing Abu Ghraib to what the CCP has done to those who dare speak out. The leaders of our armed forces were subject to nationally televised hearings, the newspapers covered every second of the scandal and people are going to jail — not those at the top, unfortunately, but there’s still a good chance it will reach higher. After all, in America we put our own presidents on trial for alleged crimes.

In China, the oppression is carried out silently and secretly whenever possible, and when it is not possible (like Tiananmen Square) it gets very ugly. There is no accountability, no justice, no one can question what the CCP does.

Like every country, we have plenty of skeletons in our closet, lots of bad things we have done. But with a free press and rule of law, we can make a difference and change things. Slavery was evil, but free speech and laws helped to end it. In China, there has been no place to turn, no authority that can see that justice is done. And that makes all the difference. Without those things, there is little hope for meaningful change and justice.

January 1, 2005 @ 10:15 am | Comment

Richard, I have to disagree with you on Abu Graib. It was a crime committed by one nation agaist another. It should be investigated by the UN. At least given the American legal tradition, allegations should be investigated by an independent congressional panel. Yet at the end, the US army was allowed to police itself, without congressional oversight at all. Where is rule of law? where is the rightous voice of the free press? Deafening silence isn’t it?

BTW, I don’t have grudge agaist ACB, just wanted to supply information along the same spirit ACB had done to sp. Maybe overdid it sorry.

January 1, 2005 @ 10:45 am | Comment

BL, Abu Ghraib became a huge issue that brought us terrible disgrace. There is no excusing it. And the government was to blame. But it was a huge public story with televised hearings and photographs in every newspaper. Can you imagine China after Tianamen Square letting the press put up photos of the shootings and the dead bodies? Can you imagine televised hearings on CCTV, where Li Peng is told he did a terrible thing and is forced to explain his actions? Never. And that is a big difference. And now new laws have been passed to stop torture. Our system is often terrible, but compared to China’s it is more acceptable by far. As I’ve said before, you don’t see Americans risking their lives to flee to China. That is the true test — so many Chinese are willing to die to escape their government. That speaks more than any of our arguments.

January 1, 2005 @ 10:52 am | Comment

I agree there are a lot of press coverage about Abu Graib, but in the spirit of rule of law should such abus be investigated by the UN? Why this is not done? Why the free press is totally silent about it? The end result is the US Army is still allowed to police itself. Who could know for sure the culprits are properly brought to justice, and such abuse are prevented to happen? So the whole scandel is still not properly handled in my view.

Richard, what I see as a problem is really not the abuse itself. It will happen to various degrees, humans are not angels. The problem lies how such events are handled to ensure proper conduct in the future. That let the US Army police itself, given the fact the abuse was not exposed by itself, is not proper.

To compare today’s China to today’s America is not fair, we all know that. Ameria’s wealth and its land are not entirely the result of rule of law and free press.

What I wanted to point out is, rule of law and free press to some degree are used as cover for a lot of the same reality as in the “undemocracy” countries.

January 1, 2005 @ 11:49 am | Comment

I haven’t heard any demands until now that the UN handle the Abu Ghraib case. If you know our currtent president, you would know he would never even consider putting the fate of US soldiers in the hands of the United nations, ever. The UN has its own scandals, and its credibility is unfortunately at an all-time low, just when the world needs them most.

January 1, 2005 @ 11:54 am | Comment

And back briefly to Abu Ghraib ( we are way off-topic) — yes, it was a fuck-up and it wasn’t handled well. Completely true. However, in terms of scale, in terms of the number of participants and the numbers affected, it is dwarfed by crimes committed by Mao against humanity. America is imperfect, as we all agree, but to point to Abu Ghraib as though it’s all that America stands for is hardly fair or realistic.

I don’t expect China to become a model of the US. But there are some rather simple things it could do to become a truly great and humane nation. I think you know that.

January 1, 2005 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

I am sorry Richard, did I somehow signed your name on my previous post? Could you correct that?

“I haven’t heard any demands until now that the UN handle the Abu Ghraib case. ”

That’s exactly what I am talking about. In the spirit of rule of law, do you see a conflict of interest to let the US investigate the scandal, let along the US Army? Should a UN appointed panel be the more proper identity to handle the investigation, Bush aside only from a legal point of view? Do you think the western press simply forget this? Had been the Chinese Army in the place of the US Army, would you think the western press would be silent as it is?

It’s the behavior of western press itself, along with western gov.’s that have given bad names to the concepts such as “democracy, rule of law, free press” in my personal opinion.

January 1, 2005 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

Again I never deny there is so much China should do, to a less degree could do to improve the condition of its citizens. As the pace may not satisfy us, I believe it’s happen as we speak. You post on the trial is a prime example, could you imagin for this to happen in even several years ago?

I never wanted to used Abu Graib to discredit America in its achievement in democracy and human rights, I merely want to point out even as advanced as America is today, its free press still observes gross partiality, just as the CCP propaganda. While you advocate free press in China, I also suggest you advocate fair press in America.

Free press isn’t the goal, the goal is a press that champions fairness and justice.

January 1, 2005 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

Dear BL,

I think I do understand something about the Chinese peoples’ feelings towards Japan and as I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t see anything wrong with pursuing justice in this matter, and I haven’t suggested that Chinese people should simply “forgive and forget.” Forgetting is impossible and probably not wise. Forgetting Vietnam and what really happened, for example, I believe is a huge factor as to how the US has found itself entangled in an unjust foreign war.

What you said about Americans demanding justice for the American victims of terrorism is a great illustration of what I’m trying to say. There is a difference between justice and revenge, and the desire for one can easily result in the demands for the other. I personally believe that the US was justified in attacking Afghanistan to defeat the terrorists there, because those were the people who actually attacked us. But by manipulating Americans’ grief and desire for justice and revenge, Bush and his administration were able to convince a large portion of the American people that going to war against Iraq was somehow justified, that Saddam Hussein was to blame for the 9/11 attacks, that we would feel safer and stronger by defeating him. Of course, these were all lies, and now ten of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died, more than a thousand American soldiers have died and tens of thousands more have been injured.

So it’s a matter of keeping things in proportion.

As for Abu Ghraib, I personally would like to see Bush and Rumsfeld in handcuffs at the Hague. But as Richard points out, at the very least these dreadful crimes have been exposed and investigated. We are still finding out about such practices elsewhere, at Guantanamo and in Afghanistan. It’s already apparent that the direction for such harsh treatment came directly from the White House. So the perpetrators have not yet paid the consequences for their actions. But without exposure and discussion in public, there’s no hope of redress.

Okay, that’s far off-topic, kinda. And did I say, Happy New Year?

January 1, 2005 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

And BL, as a p.s…

Whenever I come to China I feel very welcomed and comfortable. I have good friends in China who have invited me into their homes, and I’ve met strangers who have gone out of their way to help me. Such hospitality and the ablilty to accept foreign ideas and incorporate them into Chinese culture is one of China’s great strengths.

January 1, 2005 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

And another p.s. (sorry)…

I am all for advocacy journalism that works to expose and right injustice. But even more important is a diverse press (a variety of sources) that at least ATTEMPTS to impartially report on situations and issues so that people can analyze and make up their own minds. It is really important to foster critical thinking. Otherwise people are far too vulnerable to propaganda, whatever its source.

January 1, 2005 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

SP;
I never meant to imply nor infer that Vietnam invaded Cambodia out of moral rectitude. But aren’t we glad they did?
We all know that the USA is hypocritical when it condemns the miscreant behavior of other countries.
Metternich and Kissinger would be proud.

January 1, 2005 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

Lisa, Again I really don’t want to blame the current adm. that much, even though it does share some responsiblility in the case of Abu Graib. The more serious problem is the western press. As you said some abuse are exposed and being investigated, yet if the investigation is conducted by someone with a conflict of interest, the investigation itself can be served as a cover up to shell the true culprits and shift blames on a few scapegoats. Where is justice for those scapegoats?

The free press is totally silent in conflict of interest issue regarding Abu Graib. The silence is DEAFENING, could you hear that?

In this case, what is the difference between free press and non-free press. The difference is the majority of Americans are unsuspicious about their gov. believing the US gov. is under proper oversight. Whereas majority of Chinese are suspicious of CCP, no matter what its propaganda machine want people to believe. Which country is more dangerous?

What all this amounts to could be a perfect cover up for the US Army with the western free press as an accomplice. This is a structural problem more serious than charging President Bush in Huge.

January 1, 2005 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

Lisa,

It’s true that no evidence has shown Iraqi connection to 911, yet there is evidence shown Japanese PM and much of Japan worships war criminals and (Jeffery Duma like) “war dead”. Again China is not sending troops to Japan, but China is only demanding justice for the rights of the victims.

It’s a gross injustice to criticize the voice of the victims by labelling Chinese and other Asians for “a victim mentality,” while Japan keeps provoking Asian nations with its worship of the criminals in National Shrine to THIS VERY DAY. You have mistaken the cause and effect.

January 1, 2005 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

I’ll correct the name in your comment, BL.

As to Abu Ghraib, if I remember there were 17 different investigations being done, not only the military’s. As I said, it is certainly idealistic to think that the US, especially under Bush, would somehow invite the UN to investigate the behavior of US soldiers. Let’s go one ot another topic.

January 1, 2005 @ 6:51 pm | Comment

Fiona Bre wrote:
“Perhaps the CCP could provide leadership in this area, providing an example by apologizing publicly and sincerely to the Chinese people for atrocities far worse than anything the Japanese have ever done in China …………………………”

We are talking about why Chinese hate Japanese, and the related Japanese atrocities perpetuated during WWII, particularly at Nanjing [and also SE Asia - Malaya & Singapore]. It’s disappointing Fiona Bre had to resort to an entirely separate issue to create a diversionary cover/excuse for the refusal of Japan to officially apologise. It’s not the responsibility of the CCP to set an example for a Japanese war crime – the responsibility must be wholely a Japanese, and only Japanese, act of moral conscience.

Bre’s offtrack suggestion would be akin to Nazis sympathisers referrring to Ariel Sharon’s butchery of innocent women and children at Sabra & Shatila camps and the fact of his current position as the PM of Israel, and his warm welcome at the White House as an honoured guest of the US, to excuse the Nazis from their WWII crime against the Jews, and perhaps justify their official resurrection as a legal political party.

What atrocities the CCP or Ariel Sharon have committed must be dealt on their own scores, and must be separated from the Nazi and Japanese war crimes.

What Japan had done during its occupation of China, Korea and SE Asia, partcularly to the Chinese communities (and many Europeans – Brits, Aussies, Dutch, etc) remains an open book that requires, nay, demands full moral accounting. The page can be closed forever by an OFFICIAL unreserved apology. And only then may Japan assume its rightful position as a respected CIVILISED nation among today’s world community.

January 1, 2005 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

Dear BL,

Er, what?

I think we’ve wandered way off topic here and I don’t want to exacerbate that, but I’m a little confused. In terms of Abu Ghraib, we really SHOULD be blaming Bush and his administration. They set the tone for the conduct of interrogations and attempted to outline a legal justification for torture and why the US should not adhere to the Geneva Conventions. This to me is inexcusable. The press has covered these issues and helped to expose the abuses. This is what the press should be doing. A free press is a pillar of democratic society. Not that I’m claiming we have a completely democratic society here, nor am I claiming that we have a truly free press, seeing as how it’s dominated by corporate interests, but still. The press was doing its job in exposing the abuses of Abu Ghraib.

I will repeat what I’ve said at this point a whole bunch of times. I’m not criticizing or objecting to the Chinese people demanding redress for what the Japanese did in WW2, and I agree that the Japanese government and a significant segment of the Japanese people have not come to terms with their actions in WW2, as evidenced by the continued worship at the shrine.

I’m going to go ahead and say something I’ve been tempted to say but haven’t because I feel that I am speaking out of ignorance to a certain extent – I’m not really comfortable with Japan, personally. I’m not comfortable with the fact that the Japanese government does not seem to have come to grips with Japan’s actions in WW2 and I’m not comfortable with the fact that Japan seems to be a very closed society that doesn’t welcome foreigners like me – unlike China.

But what I am still wondering about in this discussion is the sense of proportion. Why so much anger in China over this issue and not others? Why is it permissible to express anger about this and not about other issues that are more directly relevant to Chinese peoples’ lives now? I think that’s what some of us are trying to say here, or at least to ask you.

Respectfully,

January 1, 2005 @ 11:40 pm | Comment

Thinking about this discussion further, I have another question for BL and other Chinese readers of this blog, since a part of what we have been talking about is media bias of one form or another.

How accurate do you find the article that we were originally discussing? Are these blogs and websites representative of a majority of Chinese peoples’ sentiments, in your opinion? I am asking this because thinking of certain American websites, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs (UGH!) for example, if you read these and thought they were representative of a majority of Americans’ opinions, well, you’d be pretty scared, because they are racist, xenophobe, sexist, hateful, you name it.

So where does the blogger, Mr. Song, fall in the spectrum of Chinese public opinion, do you think? I’d like to hear your opinions.

January 2, 2005 @ 12:24 am | Comment

It’s perfectly OK to refer Hanoi regime as Vietcong. If you know some Chinese and the basics of Vietnamese language, you should be aware that -cong comes from the Chinese word for Communism (gong4 chan3 zhu3 yi4). So Vietcong literally means Vietnamese Communists. Before that, a broader coalition Ho Chi Min was able to bring up was called Vietmin, the ending -min comes from -meng2 (again, Chinese) : alliance.

None of these came from my high school education which was full of communist propaganda, and I don’t boast myself as a Vietnam expert. They all stem from a self-education process later on. It’s actually not so hard to verify historical facts especially in Internet era. Of course, if one insists only Beijing and Hanoi hold the truth, that would be another story.

January 2, 2005 @ 1:33 am | Comment

lisa,

in china, internet users are mostly very young, and they are a very small percentage of chinese population. although there are anti-japan sentiments in china, it doesn’t mean people here hate all japanese and their minds are closed to anything japanese, no, you could find japanese things everywhere.

it’s dangerous for armchair “china expert” to conclude sth based on analyzing chinese web sites, the sample is just too small

even for those young kids, what they said online doesn’t necessarily lead to what they will do in real world. here is a post i wrote for this point:

http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/archive/2004/12/27/6515.aspx

it’s unnecessary to be scared of extreme nationalism in chinese young generation. its possibility is 0.1%.

January 2, 2005 @ 1:45 am | Comment

“Why so much anger in China over this issue and not others? Why is it permissible to express anger about this and not about other issues that are more directly relevant to Chinese peoples’ lives now? I think that’s what some of us are trying to say here, or at least to ask you. ”

lisa,

because your attention is absorbed by this issue. if you read my blog and many other chinese internet boards, you will find anti-japan sentiment is not a hot topic, it becomes hot when the japanese chemical weapons killed chinese in northeastern provinces LAST YEAR, it becomes hot when japanese refused to pay any conpensation to a former chinese sex slave LAST MONTH, it becomes hot when japanese PM went to worship their fucking murderer forefathers.

i think japanese and their government did a great job in fostering chinese nationalism.

what do you think relevant to chinese lives? isn’t safety one of the most important? japan is not a democratic nation, in strict definition. and even it is, there is no guarantee that it will not do the same horrible things it did before. the democratic mechanism is not enough to prevent that. just think about how the flaws of weimer republik born the monster of nazi.

if japanese and their government don’t admit their guilt, i am very concern the possiblity that the generation of my children will have the nightmare of japan again.

the government was wrong in past to forgive japan and it did GREAT JOB to let chinese people know the truth about japan.

the bush administration selectively let american know the truth of iraq, but chinese government didn’t do that, and it just can’t do that, because there are so much exchanges of information, trade, people between china and japan. if there is anything like a manipulation, it is chinese people who know the truth that give pressure to government to take a tougher stance to japan.

if western world fear the chinese nationalism, the correct step it should take is to fight against japan right wing and ask japan to admit its guilt. but i doubt the west will do that, anyway, as i said before, japan is the west’s SOB.

January 2, 2005 @ 2:14 am | Comment

Lisa,

I think you have raised a sound and pertinent point to this debate. How well is Mr Song and his fellow anti-japan zealots representing an entire nation? Official statistics of population resenting Japan (some 92%) and sales of major Japanese brands in China can all serve meaningful indices. So maybe there is no simple and clear-cut answer here.

Richard,

Since Abu Ghraib is compared with June 4 incident here, it would be interesting to note yet another sheer difference. Even those who would rather see Abu Ghraib had been covered up have to admit that it was a scandal and call it a scandal. But June 4 bloodshed is officially hailed as a crown jewel of Communist China, and remembered as one the greatest achievements of Deng Xiaoping and ‘Party central’.

In this outrageous time of moral equivalence, I wish American people should not forget the basic distinction between a Jeffersonian republic and a tyranny. The regimes in Beijing and Pyongyong should remind us everyday of that.

January 2, 2005 @ 2:18 am | Comment

Quote Lisa: Why so much anger in China over this issue and not others? Why is it permissible to express anger about this and not about other issues that are more directly relevant to Chinese peoples’ lives now?

This is a simple one :) It’s the only ‘politically correct’ topic in China, AT THE MOMENT. The regime surely does not want you to talk about corruption, forced abortion and demolishing, SARS lies, police brutality, and coal mine death toll. There are just too many skeletons in the CCP cupboard.

I emphasize AT THE MOMENT because it does not always have to be so. It all depends on the agenda of power-hungry Forbidden City. They will crack down the anti-Japan mob without a doubt if they deem fit, and it happened before. That said, the danger of backfire is always there. That’s why Beijing has to keep an anxious eye on the fanatics and their organization, if any.

January 2, 2005 @ 2:55 am | Comment

Off topic -
To set the record straight, the Sabra & Shatila massacre was committed by Lebanon militia, but not IDF led by Ariel Sharon. Sharon had his responsibility of local security of the occupied Lebanon, but seems to me to cite him as a perpetrator went overboard.

January 2, 2005 @ 3:03 am | Comment

BL:

To apply your logic to China, what conclusion can we reach for Chinese people, when there is a Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum standing in the heart of Tiananmen square and Mao’s corpse is ‘worshiped’ there? Does it ever bother you that they ‘worship’ a murderer of tens of millions during his reign of horror?

January 2, 2005 @ 3:12 am | Comment

If the percentage is so low, then the concentration must be in Xiamen and Beijing, the two places where I have spent most of my time in China and where I have been exposed to many students. On fairly visible anecdotal evidence, I think this feeling is fairly widespread. And while I can comprehend the reason, the intensity of it usually goes beyond what is rational.

I am a Jewish woman who lost much of my ancestry to the Nazis. I don’t hate all Germans, although I must say I do know Jews who do. I don’t hate the children and grandchildren of the Nazis if they’re not Nazis now. I know their shame and regret over what happened in World War II. There have been books published on the subject and the German government has formally apologized.

I do wish the Japanese would formally acknowledge and apologize for atrocities against not only the Chinese, but the American, the Australian and other prisoners of war that they brutaly abused.

I’ve read books on the Bataan death march and other war crimes and it makes me sick. But I don’t hate the Japanese people. One of my best friends is a Japanese-American and he is like a part of my family and vice versa. These things can heal in time, if you let them.

Once when discussing feelings against the Japanese with a student it Xiamen University, she told me that the Chinese have a saying “forgiveness is the best revenge.” But she is the only one I’ve ever heard that has anything other than invective to offer on the subject of the Japanese.

There’s something more than lingering post-war anger to Chinese hatred of the Japanese. Part of it, I believe, is envy of rapid Japanese development and their high ranking in the world economy, despite their small size and population. But this does not stop prosperous Chinese consumers from buying up Japanese automobiles, cameras and electronics nor from vacationing in Japan and visiting Disneyland. Every “upscale” buffet in a good Chinese restaurant features Japanese food, which is always completely consumed even though the clientele is overwhelmingly Chinese. China and Japan are successful trading partners. So at least we can say that at some level there is ambivalence.

January 2, 2005 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Dear Ellen: Thank you for sharing your observation with us, and nevertheless I admire your culture for its forgiveness and rationalism. A good portion of American people I personally know are Jews, and none of them embarks on any extremist ideology. A typical Jew, seems to me, is critical-thinking, open-minded, a little bit *cynical* but act as an idealist. I wish we could find those elements in Chinese culture in present sense, however, you know the reality.

FYI, I don’t know a Chinese idiom for “forgiveness is the best revenge” as you mentioned. I can’t say I know every and each Chinese saying, but if there is really a one like that, I should’ve known.

I can also testimony that such anti-Japan fanaticism did not exist in its current form in 70s and 80s. It coincidents the shift of official philosophy from Communism to ultra-nationalism. The mechanism is simple: Communism per se is not racism-based and at that time CPC did not need Japan as a target. But a nationalist agenda needs it, as well as America, Taiwan, Vietnam and even the Philippines (for island disputes). Among them Japan is a perfect one due to its historical sins. An unholy alliance of Chinese government and Japanese rightists works just fine to fuel this irrational rage. End of story

January 2, 2005 @ 4:06 am | Comment

“FYI, I don’t know a Chinese idiom for “forgiveness is the best revenge” as you mentioned. I can’t say I know every and each Chinese saying, but if there is really a one like that, I should’ve known.”

seems your knowledge of china and chinese history is very very poor.

in the first public speech made by chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek after japan surrendered in 1945, he asked all chinese people to “recompense injury with kindness” towards japanese. (yi de bao yuan)

according to Confucius’s analects, one of his students asked Confucius: “how about recompense injury with kindness?”, Confucius answered: “if you recompense injury with kindness, what you recompense kindness? you should recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness”

sure, every criminal wants forgiveness from its victims, what a nice thing, you murdered tens of thousands of innocent people, you raped, tortured, abused people, then you go away, enjoying the retirement pension from japanese government every month, AND, you hope that your victims will forgive you, so you are not blamed by your conscience (i don’t think many japanese war criminals have conscience)

is forgiveness what you japanese want?

let me tell you this – IMPOSSIBLE until you admit your guilt and show it in your actions.

January 2, 2005 @ 5:56 am | Comment

Lisa,

I know we are off track discussing Abu Graib and free press. But I think it’s important. I only want to point out it’s inevitable every once a while in a democracy, there will be some rather extremist gov. leaning toward either right or left. What’s important in a democracy is the mechnizam for the press the expose the result of the extremist policy and ask for proper oversight. Just like Kenneth Lay should not be allowed to lead the Enron investigation, the US Army should not be allowed to investigate Abu Graib. It really doesn’t matter how many such investigations are opened by the US Army, since there is very clear conflict of interest. There is very doubtful the responsible at the Pentagon will be held responsible in any Army investigation.

What’s so disappointing is the western free press all kept silent. So the Pentagon dosen’t take any responsibility for Abu Graib regardless of its alleged involvement. It’s the break down of check and ballance that is more serious than the wrong doing of an administration. The silence of the free press in stimulating a public debate on this issue is very worrysome. Obviously the free press lack the moral courage to call for an UN investigation (which I think is proper), but how about a congressinal investigation? Should not the loss of moral leadership and credibility of America warrent a congressional investigation? Isn’t it serious that such issue is never raised by the free press?

As toward the proportion of hostility toward Japan and CCP, I haven’t lived in China for more than a decade, I can only give you my second hand observation. First of all, I have to say there is wide spread misconception about how much discontent ordinary Chinese have against CCP as a result of partial reporting of the western press.

Certainly Chinese people suffered greatly under early years of CCP, but for the majority of Chinese, it’s still nowhere close to the extent suffered under the Japanese invasion. The wide spread and unspeakable cruelty of the Japanese is really beyond anything the CCP could ever match. What CCP did in the early year was intended to bring China to prosperity albit with a wrong vision and policy, whereas Japan was intented for no less than the total destruction of Chinese nation. CCP made mistakes but it wasn’t a crime of heart. 30 years of reform have brought so much prosperity and progress, majority of Chinese people have forgiven what CCP did in the 60′s and 70′s. Today’s CCP is very much different from that of early day’s. Chinese is a very tolerant people. And to a large degree, CCP already admitted its wrong in the early years. As things are moving in the right direction right now, most people appreciate what’s happening at this point, and don’t want to rock the boat. On the other hand, the scar left by the Japanese are much much deeper, many westerns say they can understand what happened, but I would not even say I can fully comprehand what really happen. Given the Japanese constant provocation, it’s not too hard to imagin, how most Chinese would react.

One more fact, in Aug. ’04, at least two children were killed and dozens injuryed by Japanese chemical weapon buried in Northern China during WWII. There are more than 700,000 pieces of Japanese chemical weapons still left buried in China, under the repeated urge of Chinese government, Japan still claims it can not complete the clean up in next 10 years. Over the years, Chinese people has suffered death and injury through the bombs littered across China left by the Japanese. Maybe the Japanese invaded China were all dead, but they are still killing innocent Chinese, young and old, to this day and age. Such news is certainly not of the interest of the western free press.

The western free press is only interested in spreading news about “blind rage” of the Chinese, blaming CCP for inflaming nationalism and criticizing their victim mentality.

January 2, 2005 @ 6:12 am | Comment

I never know yi3 de2 bao4 yuan4 can be possibly translated into “forgiveness is the best revenge”. But under Socialism with Chinese Characteristic, you can do twsting, right?

January 2, 2005 @ 6:22 am | Comment

bingfeng, instead of insulting bellevue, could you give us the “forgiveness is the best revenge” idiom (if it exists) ?

I like it,it sounds like Wilde’s “Always forgive your enemies, for nothing can annoy them more” ^-^

January 2, 2005 @ 6:28 am | Comment

“I never know yi3 de2 bao4 yuan4 can be possibly translated into “forgiveness is the best revenge”. But under Socialism with Chinese Characteristic, you can do twsting, right? ”

china is not a socialist country, japan is, america is even better, it’s communism.

talking about twisting, everyone can learn a lot from japanese history textbooks.

January 2, 2005 @ 6:35 am | Comment

emile,
yi de bao yuan has similar meaning, not exactly but close.

January 2, 2005 @ 6:38 am | Comment

Simple fact: if New York Times is counted as part of the ‘western media’, it managed to keep Abu Ghraib on its front page for consecutive 50+ days. It did anything but keeping silent.

And here, our lover for ‘checks and balances’ seems never bothered by China’s one-party dictationship. In China case, ‘checks and balance’ all of sudden got thrown out of the window.

I don’t mind double standard, for the worlds greatest democracy is never meant to be measured on the same scale alongside authoritarian regime, so double standard is okay. But shouldn’t you stop embarassing yourself further by taunting ‘checks and balances’?

January 2, 2005 @ 6:40 am | Comment

emile,

Chiang Kai-shek’s wife was bombed to death by japanese jet, and he asked chinese to “recompense injury with kindness” to japanese.

many japanese orphans left by their parents (many are war criminals) in china were later raised by chinese, many of them had relatives murdered by japanese soilders during war.

the ROC and then PRC government gave up the war reparations from japan.

if this is not forgiveness, what whould you call it?

but again, i agree with Confucius’s “recompense injury with justice and recompense kindness with kindness”

has anyone read the book called

if you forgive japanese war criminals, you are killing future generations of innocent people.

January 2, 2005 @ 6:51 am | Comment

“talking about twisting, everyone can learn a lot from japanese history textbooks.”

perhaps western readers don’t know that japanese textbooks call their invasion of china as “japanese army entered china for several times”.

January 2, 2005 @ 7:36 am | Comment

It’s amazing how people who condemn Chinese for being anti-japanese ZEALOTS or anti-Japnaese FANATICS wont look at themselves in the mirror.

And while Ariel Sharon may not have entered the Sabra & Shatila camps himself, he let and egged his Falangist allies into the slaughter – this was as good as pulling those Falangists’ triggers himsef, in the same manner Hitler did not personally kill any Jew himself. Please read the Kahen Commission report – he lost his job as the Defence Minister, and at one time was indicted by a Belgian court for war crimes. It’s an acknowledgement of his cunning and manipulation (by deliberately and provocatively visiting the Dome of the Rock just prior to the Israeli election, sacred to the Muslims and thus threatening them) that he drove the Arabs-Palestinians into stupid frenzy and scuttled a possible accord between Arafat & Barak. When the Palestinians took his bait and went into their usual mindless aggression and threatened the Israelis he was assured of winning the election – he used the time-honoured political weapon of fear, jingoism and hatred. A disgraced former minister now becomes the PM of Israel, with all its deteriorating circumstances. But we disgress (even if to enlighten someone).

The reason why Chinese get work up (under day to day situation they don’t even think about it) about the Japanese atrocities is not only the Japanese government’s refusal to extend an OFFICIAL apology (and let’s not throw red herrings by suggesting the Japanese have to kneel down when doing so – that’s sheer BS diversionary arguments), but its periodic attempts at historical revisionism, deceitful euphemism and the visit of the Japanese PM to the Shrine to pay homage to war criminals who had committed the worst barbaric atrocities on the Korean, Chinese and European people. Criminals raped women, but Japanese soldiers not only raped women but bayoneted them in their vaginas as well – that’s barbarism of the Japanese variety, and like all Japanese products are of the perfect quality – perfection in cruelty.

Another important reason these factors as mentioned above agitate us, is the fact that most of us (through our families) have been directly affected/harmed by the Japanese occupation army – even today many people still talked about the screams, wails, moans, shrieks emanating from town halls or churches or schools which the Kempetai commandeered for their interrogation centres.

We remember all these, especially when the above mentioned issues arise.

If you want to be pro-Japanese or even anti-Chinese, that’s fine and your prerogative, but don’t tell us Chinese we are wrong to demand an apology from the Japanese. We want closure as well, and only the apology can bring that about.

You haven’t bled the blood we (our ancestors/relatives) had, so don’t make cheap talk. It’s like telling a Jew that Auschwitz should be forgotten – no, it must never be, to remind the world that genocides aren’t acceptable. We see Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, Wounded Knee which all demand the reminder, including Nanjing, must be refreshed regularly in our children’s minds so that it must not happen again.

BTW, I have Japanese students staying in our house as exchange students. I don’t talk about this to them as it’s not their fault – we Chinese aren’t Japanese haters per se.

But let’s not pretend the ‘other’ Holocaust did not happen here in Korea-China. Every Korean, Chinese, many Europeans and even most Japanese are aware of what went ugly, so who are you to tell us it’s our fault for being recalcitrantly unforgiving! Even if we are, it’s our ‘bleeding’ right.

January 2, 2005 @ 7:46 am | Comment

NEVER FORGET WORLD WAR 2

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.”

January 2, 2005 @ 8:46 am | Comment

bellevue:

I was surprise that through your “self-learning” you try to be your own historian and use terms at your own will. Please do not insult history as a intellectual subject and use professional terms. Its time you use credible sources, we know how many jokers actually write their own history webs with no whatsoever intellectual credentials. Check your the numerous history books you have on the shelves in bookstores. The VietCong are the Southern insurgents, the Hanoi regime consisted of the North Vietnamese Army NVA and its a nation-state in the form of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It was the sponsor of the VietCong. The two are not used interchangably. It just like saying that the Pakistan govt can be used interchangbly with the Taliban. How hilarious that would be! Meaningful debates requires some decent intellect, not some unorthodox snob.

You seem to have this nostalgia for CCP crimes and June 4 and Mao. Yes, those were unpardonable crimes against the Chinese folks. But when a third party tries to be a moral judge, such as the US and the West, it is really irksome and deceitful. You make a hell lot of noise with Mao and June 4, but have you considered that the west committed their own fair share of crimes too? Let me tell you.

June 4? Reagan invited former South Korean president Chun Doo Hwan to Washington as a VIP, calling him a friend of the West shortly after he butchered almost a thopusand people in the Kwangju Massacre in 1980. Why didn’t you people make a hell lot of noise then? Is it because Beijing was an adversary while Seoul was your ally? How about the CIA coup in helping Pinochet to power? They ignored his genocidal crimes! The CIA also trained the Iranian Shah’s secret police, the SAVAK in murdering the political dissidents. Ferdinand Macros was supported by the US, while the White regimes in South africa and Rhodesia were condoned by US and the UK, the “democratic” powers. How about the autocratic Saudi regime? They were never named in State Dept’s annual human rights report! Why? You mean a Saudi abuse of human rights is a lesser crime than a Chinese one?

The fact is you are totally biased against China, not that i like to defend CCP’s heinous crimes. If you are so righteous and so concerned about human rights and justice, don’t just zoom in on China, please mention and don’t conveniently leave out Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Turkey, Australia (in dealing against the Aboriginals), they are the West ernstwhile allies and certainly not the best advertisment for human justice and democracy. Only when you show a balance in your views will others respect you, till then, all your commenst appear to be mere anti-China fascism.

January 2, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

Richard:

As to your comparison btw China and the US, i do not really agree.

Whats the use of democracy when Rumsfeld and Bush are scot-free? Reagan committed a lot misdoings with his “Reagan Doctrine” of sponsoring right-wing, antiSoviet despots throughout the world but was NEVER indicted for any crimes. He also recognised Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea, but was never penalised at all.

So tell me what use does all these committees, hearings serve? They are simply a farce when the guilty are still free out there. All these media scrutiny, investigation, hearings are just a mere cosmetic debating society with no relevance. Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, never intented their system to be a mere prop or puppet show, its suppose to do sth.

Just imagine having a court that merely publicise a criminal’s crimes but lacks the ability to give him a sentence and act on it. Whats the difference than not having such a court? After all, it did nothing meaningful and constructive as evil continues to roam freely out there and you are one just gullible spectator who enjoys and buys this well-orchestrated show of “justice”.

January 2, 2005 @ 9:52 am | Comment

Jacky, your pointing to the sins of other world leaders isn’t really relevant to this issue. Of course there are scoundrels and injustices. But this is about young people in China, 65 years after an event, consuming their entire lives with a blind hatred that affects their everyday activcities, and that can incite them to violence. I really don’t see how pointing to leaders like Sharon ties into this topic.

January 2, 2005 @ 11:29 am | Comment

On Bellvue’s points about the US media and Abu Ghraib — he is absolutely right, and anyone who says the US media ignored Abu Ghraib is either ignorant or devious.

We were flooded, week after week after week with Abu Ghrain strories and photos. Hearings were televised on our airwaves. There was huge uproar from the right-wing that we were only covering Abu Ghraib while ignoring the beheading of Nick berg (another frivolous claim — Berg’s death, too, was covered obsessively).

So before you make claims that we ignored Abu Ghraib, do your homework. You totally lose credibility when you say things like theis, becuase the facts can be easily checked with a good search engine. And if you’re willing to write BS about this, maybe more of what you say is BS.

January 2, 2005 @ 11:41 am | Comment

Dear Bl,

Thanks for your response. I didn’t understand what you meant by “conflict of interest” regarding the US Army investigating the abuses of Abu Ghraib by the US Army. This is a valid point. It has however been raised in public dialog, and there have been investigations other than the Army’s. If you read the papers here in the US, you’ll note that Abu Ghraib and other prison abuses are still a major topic of discussion. Has the outcome of these investigations gone far enough? No, in my opinion. Holding a few low-ranking, ill-trained National Guardsmen responsible for what is obviously systemic abuse is a joke against justice. But I have to hope that eventually justice will prevail.

Bingfeng, I appreciate your replying to my question about how many Chinese feel the way expressed in the article towards Japan. As I said in a previous post, one would have a very distorted view of majority American sentiments if one depended on certain right-wing blogs to get a sense of public opinion here. Bingfeng if my Chinese were better, I would love to read your blog – if it’s in English by any chance, please do provide the link. :)

I also want to say that I am by no means “obsessed” about this issue – though I have read other articles on this topic, this is the first time I have been involved in a discussion about it – and I keep replying because I am really interested in what you have to say, and also because I don’t want my own opinions misunderstood. In fact I try to stay as informed about China in general as I can – I have a large collection of books about PRC history, and I am particularly interested in current environmental issues.

But for whatever reason, THIS issue has incited an ongoing and lengthy discussion.

I’d also like to assure the Chinese participants who have expressed concern about the portrayals of China in the Western press, that there some kind of widespread fear about China and Chinese nationalsim, that this just isn’t the case. It was true during the height of the Cold War, pre-Nixon in China, but it just isn’t true now. As I said before, I doubt that most Americans have given this issue much thought. For example, I have read far more stories in American papers about environmental issues in China than about anti-Japanese sentiment. I think I’ve probably read more articles about the art scene in Beijing, actually.

January 2, 2005 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

Richard, could you give any links on Abu Graib investigation conducted other than the military itself, ie independent panels appointed by the congress?

I don’t see anybody deny the press coverage Abu Graib. So such strawman doesn’t exist. I said there wasn’t any request for independent investigation of Abu Graib other than the ones conducted by the US Army, maybe Navy as well. Everything I wrote is on the record, everyone can go check.

January 2, 2005 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

richard,

in the 1st instance, the reference to Ariel Sharon was used only as a ‘counter’ analogy in a response to the diversionary tactic of demanding an apology from the CCP as a pre-requisite for demanding an apology from the Japanese – my analogy was employed to demonstrate precisely what you have just pointed out – it has no relevance to this topic – thank you for supporting my point.

In the 2nd instance, I had to digress from this topic (which if you note, I did admit) to enlighten someone trying to weasel Sharon out from being involved in the Sabra & Shatila case. – to reinforce my demonstration in the earlier instance of the non-relevance of bringing in CCP’s atrocities or crimes to this topic.

I get annoyed when some used what the air force would term ‘electronic counter measure’ (ECM) to lead the discussion away from the issue, by a non-relevant counter attack. I merely demonstrated that two can play at the same game, but in full relevation that the analogies show the ridiculousness of bringing in the CCP’s crimes (which should be a separate subject)

If we want to demonstrate that the CCP brainwash the Chinese youth into hating Japanese, that’s fine and an acceptable discussion point, but why drag in the CCP’s crimes and atrocities (we know there’s plenty in these – no one has denied it) to deflect focus from one possible reason for the hatred, the Japanese WWII atrocities.

Then we hear rubbish like requiring the Japanese to kneel down when making the apology – where’s the relevance to the topic of understanding the Chinese hatred?

But I still can’t get over the one about Jappan’s PM remembering the Chinese and Korean victims by visiting the Yakushini Shrine – surely this one merits a place in Ripley’s.

January 2, 2005 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

bellevue,

“Believe me, some people only believe what they want to believe, and nothing can change that. Internet can’t change that. But Internet makes us know of their existence. Be alert.

The fact that great majority of the textbooks in Japan actually mentions the Rape of Nanking is even on Chinese language websites. It doesn’t suit someone’s agenda, so they just ignore it and keep on talking about the ‘rightwing textbook’. They need the hatred to feel self-righteous. That’s it.”

Posted by bellevue at January 2, 2005 04:20 AM

Bellevue, did you receive my email from about 11 hours ago?
Can you show us the internet links in here all these Chinese language websiteS showing the majority of Japanese textbook mentioning the rape of Nanking???

Some people choose to believe what they want to believe, YES INDEED.
I am not surprised to find that YOU choose to OMIT a lot of FACTS on the issues of revisions and downplaying of the Japan’s atrocities in WW2.
Do the Japanese admit it was the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking??? What happened in that incident???
To read the REAL Japanese attitude of the Rape of Nanking, please refer to the great article in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanjing_Massacre

“Apologists insist that burial records from the Red Swastika Society and the Chung Shan Tang (Tsung Shan Tong) were never cross examined at the Tokyo and Nanking trials, arguing therefore that the estimates derived from these two sets of records should be heavily discounted. They also admit that personal records of Japanese soldiers do suggest the occurrence of rapes, but insist that this does not determine the extent of rapes. Moreover, they regard personal testimony from the Chinese side to be propaganda. They also point out that there are no documented records of the rapes, unlike the burial records which exist and document the killings, and therefore argue that the assertion of mass rape is unsubstantiated. Apologists further insist that the majority of those killed were POWs and “suspected guerrillas”, which they consider to be legitimate killing, so that the use of descriptive word “massacre” is inappropriate.”

Richard,

Do you think the Japanese are still in denial after more than 65 years of their crime???

January 2, 2005 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

JR: Richard,
Do you think the Japanese are still in denial after more than 65 years
of their crime???

Of course they are. I’ve never said they weren’t, and their denial is a terrible thing. Is it worth beoming what Mr. Song in the article has become? That’s your choice, I suppose, but I see it as a bad thing for China, and for Mr. Song, too.

January 2, 2005 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

Jacky, thanks a lot for clarifying your comment. I am deluged in comments today, and maybe I’m trying to read too many too quickly.

January 2, 2005 @ 5:24 pm | Comment

Richard, could you give any links on Abu Graib investigation conducted other than the military itself, ie independent panels appointed by the congress?…I said there wasn’t any request for independent investigation of Abu Graib other than the ones conducted by the US Army, maybe Navy as well.

Simply go to Google and type in abu ghraib + “multiple investigations.” You will see many articles on the topic. (Be sure “multiple investigations” is inside quotation marks.)

January 2, 2005 @ 5:38 pm | Comment

JR:
Richard, do you think the Japanese are still in denial after more than 65 years
of their crime???

richard:
Of course they are. I’ve never said they weren’t, and their denial is a terrible thing. Is it worth beoming what Mr. Song in the article has become? That’s your choice, I suppose, but I see it as a bad thing for China, and for Mr. Song, too.

richard, mr.song is sick, but his sickness just reveals how deep the wound is and how hard some japanese hurt chinese today. don’t blame the victimes, blame the criminals, if you come to hear the stories of all these victims, tens of millions all over china, korea, the rest of asia, you will not say the hatred towards today’s japanese is blind

as a young man doing small business in shanghai, i am not interested in politics, and i have traveled to japan, america, some asian countries, i am not a japanese-hater or anything like that, but I CAN NOT keep silence if some japanese want to re-write the history, it’s not only a matter of past but also a matter of future, i need to speak out for my children. and I CAN NOT keep silence when some people say the hatred towards those fucking japanese worshiping war criminals is blind, it is not blind and it is japanese that fuel this hatred again and again after 65 years ending of wwii

January 2, 2005 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

blind rage … is it and how far should it go?

blind rage … is it and how far should it go?

January 2, 2005 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

Well binfeng, you’ve now revealed your true self. Thanks for showing us the real binfeng, and everyone is now free to draw their own conclusions. Let me just say, your comment is a godsend to everyone who disagrees with you, as it indicates just how much you are fueled by emotion and vengeance as opposed to rationality and critical thought.

January 2, 2005 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

This was published by Reuters this summer after the soccer match between China and Japan that Dave and Richard both referred to in above posts.
“Japan have been booed relentlessly during the tournament and they were subjected to similar treatment again, their national anthem drowned out by a cacophony of noise before kickoff.
The Japanese players were jeered as they celebrated but more than 6,000 security staff, including riot police, armed troops and SWAT teams, were on call to prevent violence.
Trouble flared outside the stadium after the match, however, with police in riot gear battling to restore order among furious Chinese fans amid wailing sirens and flashing police lights.
A bus carrying delegates was attacked, with bottles and garbage thrown, and police charged the crowd with batons and riot shields to clear a path.
Meanwhile, around 2,000 Japanese fans, heavily protected during the match by security officials, were locked inside the stadium for over almost three hours to save them from being attacked.”

I was in the area around the stadium after the China/Japan match and it was the most awful demonstration of bigoted nationalism that I have ever seen. This was after a football match. The Japanese aren’t the only ones in denial here. Many Chinese are in denial about the depth of the hate which is being fostered in the hearts of Chinese young people. What happened half a century ago should never be forgotten, and this memory must be accompanied with a resolve to never let anything of the sort happen again, not only to China, but to any country. That includes Japan.

January 2, 2005 @ 7:06 pm | Comment

Brian, I have just two words to say in response to your comment: Thank you.

January 2, 2005 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

“Well binfeng, you’ve now revealed your true self. Thanks for showing us the real binfeng, and everyone is now free to draw their own conclusions. Let me just say, your comment is a godsend to everyone who disagrees with you, as it indicates just how much you are fueled by emotion and vengeance as opposed to rationality and critical thought. ”

emotion? yes. as a chinese, if you are not emotional in such a topic, i would suspect you are somewhat not normal.

vengeance? no. have i ever said i want a vengeance to today’s japanese? show me my original words.

you could keep clam and ask chinese forgive japanese while japanese go to worship those war criminals that murdered tens of millions of chinese. i can’t.

can you image you can keep calm when bin laden is still there and some foreigners ask americans to forgive those terrorists?

if americans bombed iraq to fight terrorists, why chinese can not get angry with those japanese going to worship war criminals?

January 2, 2005 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

I have another question for Bingfeng and and BL – or anyone else who would care to respond. Do you think what happened at those soccer games is an appropriate way of expressing Chinese anger over Japanese actions? If these actions become violent towards Japanese, is this appropriate? Worshipping war criminals at the shrine is wrong on many levels, but this is not in itself a violent act – it is not acknowledging past violence.

And just cause I can’t help but drive this one into the ground a few more times: a large percentage of Americans do not think it was right to attack Iraq to “fight terrorists.” I certainly don’t.

January 2, 2005 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Lisa,
I can’t condone violence of any form against anyone. However, peaceful protests and march should be acceptable ways to express the Chinese people’s moral outrage. Do you agree?

January 2, 2005 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

Dear BL,

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to respond to your earlier comments above, but I have been away for the last three days in Zhuhai, travelling with my girlfriend, Gao Ying. We have some Canadian friends who are now living in Zhuhai, whom we wanted to visit for the New Year celebrations.

Before I address your challenge to me, to provide you with “evidence” of the “butality of the Chinese in Tibet,” I would first like to make it very clear to you that I am not a “China basher” nor am I inherently anti-CCP. In fact, if you go back to the November 14 acrhive, to the commentaries made by readers of this website to the address delivered by John Pomfret on China’s future, you will see that I was engaged in a dialogue with Patrick and Richard, in which I expressed a cautious optimism for China’s future, and in which I argued that the CCP, for all of its undeniable faults and past sins, is generally steering China in the right direction.

Likewise, if you turn to the December 19 archive, the story of the “Stainless Steel Rat” – you will see that there too, I have defended China and the CCP against what I regard to be overstretched criticisms – arguments that, more often than not, appear to be based largely on either mere conjecture or emotional hyperbole.

So please do not view my comments here as signifying that I am in any way inherently anti-Chinese or anti-CCP – because I am not.

And although I am about to criticise China for its invasion of both Tibet and Vietnam, I am not, I can assure you, in any way ignorant to similar atrocities committed by Western powers, like the United States, Britain and Australia. In fact, if you turn to the December 20 archive, to the story on “The Very Ugly American” you will see that I am scathing in my criticisms of US imperialism, and if you turn to the December 21 archive, “Murder in Mosul” you will see that I even argue that the world now depends on the resistence in Iraq to militarily defeat the US and its coalition of the willing. That’s right – I argue that, in the interests of world peace, it would be desirable for the Iraqi “insurgents” to defeat the US.

Given the moral logic of the arguments I presented in my response to the “Murder in Mosul” story, you will be able to understand why I find your argument that “China had to punish Vietnam for its aggression” to be an outrageous one – a totally preposterous line of reasoning, and one which you need to be seriously challenged on – for such “reasoning” is not only morally indefensible in my opinion, but is also outright dangerous. It is partly because of this kind of twisted logic that we now see so much death and destruction taking place in Iraq. No country, BL, has the right to act like a global cop, and to “punish” other countries through acts of aggression of their own. Two rights do not add up to make a wrong. Violence, as I said earlier, begets violence.

To harbour feelings of revenge is to harbour a neurosis – and it is my view that many Chinese and Koreans (not all – not even a majrotiy for that matter) but many nevertheless, harbour a kind of collective neurosis, which is not healthy, and, if allowed to remain unchecked, could result in an increase of the type of racist incidents that others have talked about already on this website, like the Chinese mob attacks on the Japanese soccer team for example.

China’s international reputation will, I can assure you, be damaged if this type of behaviour is allowed to become common place. Imagine if significant numbers of Chinese fans were, for example, to erupt into similar bursts of violence against Japanese sports teams during the upcoming Beijing Olympics?

Let me now answer your challange BL, regarding China’s invasion of Tibet and Vietnam.

What is interesting about the Chinese invasion of Vietnam and Tibet, is that in both cases, the decision to do so was related to the Cold War. Both invasions need to be seen in this context.

I shall begin by looking at the invasion of Vietnam.

China’s relations with Vietnam began to deteriorate seriously in the mid-1970s. Why? Because after Vietnam joined the Soviet-dominated Council for Mutual Economic Cooperation (Comecon) and signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union in 1978, China branded Vietnam the “Cuba of the East” and called the treaty a military alliance. At the time, China’s relationship with the USSR was quite poor. Incidents along the Sino-Vietnamese border increased in frequency and violence, and in December 1978 Vietnam invaded Cambodia, and quickly ousted the pro-Beijing Pol Pot regime.

Why did Vietnam invade Cambodia? The answer is really quite simple: in 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia to oust the dictatorship of Pol Pot. The invasion was a response to two years of border incursions by Pol Pot’s forces.

These incursions, which began on May 1, 1975, the very day after the American evacuation from Vietnam, had resulted in the deaths of 30,000 civilians, the destruction of border villages and the abandonment of vast tracts of agricultural land. Pol Pot was, as we all now know, encouraged to make these incursions by the government in Washington!

Within a fortnight of Vietnam’s invasion, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge had been driven out into Thailand. In its place, the Vietnamese installed a government led by Cambodian communists who had opposed Pol Pot.

The “liberation” of Cambodia set off a chain of events which led to the isolation of Vietnam. By the late seventies, China and the US had virtually become allies in international affairs.

Together they ensured that Thailand gave sanctuary to the remains of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge was rearmed and rebuilt into a guerrilla army, and remained an ever-present threat to the Cambodian population – and all of this was funded by both Washington and Beijing.

Despite the proven massacre of more than three million Cambodians by Pol Pot, the international community continued to recognise the Khmer Rouge as the legitimate government of Cambodia, keeping its seat at the UN even.

Though the US and its allies constantly called for a Vietnamese withdrawal, it took ten years for the international community to take responsibility for Cambodia and to come up with a solution which enabled the Vietnamese to withdraw. During this decade, 80,000 Vietnamese troops were wounded or killed in Cambodia.

China’s twenty-nine-day incursion into Vietnam in February 1979 was thus a response to what China considered to be a collection of provocative actions and policies on Hanoi’s part. The most serious of these though, as I have already said, was, as far as Beijing was concerned, Vietnam’s intimacy with the Soviet Union. This is why the US Government supported not only the murderous Pol Pot, as did Thailand, but also why Washington also supported China’s invasion of Vietnam. Pol Pol’s regime, remember, committed one of the most serious and tragic acts of genocide the world has ever known – and the CIA and the CCP continued to support and fund this murderous butcher right up until the day he died, in a remote Thai village.

So the US supported China’s invasion of Vietnam, because they wanted to keep the USSR in check – as did China.

The Vietnamese may have been wrong to invade Cambodia, but China was also wrong to invade Vietnam, just as the USA was wrong to invade Vietnam. Both China and the USA were also wrong to support a murderous dictator like Pol Pol, and were wrong to encourage this murderer to continually embark on serious and illegal incursions into Vietnam in the first place. China and the USA must therefore take some of the responsibility for Vietnam’s decision to invade Cambodia!!!

Remember what Vietnam’s excuse was for invading Cambodia in the first place – it was a response to murderous Khmer Rouge attacks on Vietnamese border areas – attacks which we all now know were also supported and encouraged by both Washington and Beijing.

In February 1979 China attacked along virtually the entire Sino-Vietnamese border in a brief, limited campaign that involved ground forces only. The Chinese attack came at dawn on the morning of 17 February 1979, and employed infantry, armor, and artillery. Air power was not employed then or at any time during the war. Within a day, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had advanced some eight kilometres into Vietnam along a broad front. It then slowed and nearly stalled because of heavy Vietnamese resistance and difficulties within the Chinese supply system. On February 21, the advance resumed against Cao Bang in the far north and against the all-important regional hub of Lang Son. Chinese troops entered Cao Bang on February 27, but the city was not secured completely until March 2. Lang Son fell two days later. On March 5, the Chinese, saying Vietnam had been sufficiently chastised, announced that the campaign was over. Beijing declared its “lesson” finished and the PLA withdrawal was completed on March 16.

Militarily however, it is clear that China’s invasion was a failure, and one that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Chinese troops, before the PLA were expelled back over the border.

BL – the issue of school texts books is an interesting one, not only in China and in South Korea and Japan – where school text books serve as state propaganda to some extent, but also in Vietnam. China is not happy with the way that the Vietnamese interpret China’s invasion. When President Jiang Zemin visited Hanoi some years ago, for example, he reportedly demanded not only that Vietnam open its port of Vinh to Chinese fishing vessels, but also that Vietnamese school textbooks be rewritten to present China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979 in a way acceptable to Beijing. Imagine if the Japanese were also to behave like this? Imagine if Japan was to ask Beijing to have China’s textbooks rewritten in order to portray its invasion in a more positive light?

As I keep saying BL, two wrongs never add up to make a right. Not as far as I am concerned, anyway.

BL, I am currently a little pressed for time, so I shall conclude here for now. I will deal with the more thorny and emotionally-charged issue of Tibet sometime tomorrow – I promise!

Let me just say here though, that I am fully aware of all of the atrocities that the Japanese Imperial forces committed not only against the Chinese, but also against the Koreans, the peoples of many south-east Asian countires, and of their British, Austarlian and American captives during World War Two. I agree that the Japanese government ought to apologise for these past sins, officially, on behalf of the Japanese state – just as I think that the Australian government ought to officially say “sorry” to that country’s indigenous peolpe for the atrocities of the past.

But to harbour strong feelings of hatred, to be blinded by hatred, to enable the more extreme, more neurotic voices of this hatred to whip up anti-Japanese sentiments to the point where you have significant numbers of people under their spell, people who will lash out at Japanese sporting teams or vistitors – that BL, is cancerous! And that BL, is what Richard Lisa and others have been essentially arguing all along. This is what is at the heart of this debate.

Feelings of revenge and hatred can only, in the end, lead to self-destruction.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 2, 2005 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Dear JR,

Yes, I do agree. Peaceful protests are a legitimate means of political expression.

January 3, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment

and Mark – what you said.

January 3, 2005 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Mark,
A cogent recopilation of the events that led to China’s invasion of Vietnam. Some minor disagreements though. The U.S. “invaded” Vietnam? When and where? We invaded Panama, and we damned sure invaded Grenada, but Vietnam? Sorry Mate, but I was part of a force that was invited in and served with Vietnamese troops. One of the companies I served with had been recruited among former Viet Cong. Xin loi, ben cua toi, but you’re off the mark. Regarding Cambodia, yes, the U.S. government for reasons of policy opposed the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia (had a few nephews-in-law on the Viet side), but “as everyone knows” Washington “supported” Pol Pot? Sorry, Mate, but you’ve lost me on that one. I certainly didn’t know, and still don’t. Not that opposing it on other grounds wasn’t reprehensible enough (Foggy Bottom scum!).
By the way, on the Cao Bang – Lang Son front. Don’t overlook the effects of the terrain (some of the world’s most rugged Karst topography). If you speak French, you might find COL Jacques Jaubert’s description of fighting there in 1950 somewhat helpful in uderstanding the terrain. (Jaubert indochine cao bang) should bring up the site. Or read my article in Vietnam magazine (Courage and cowardice at Dong Khe) at http://www.thehistorynet.com .
Worry about the Tibet piece and once more we’ll agree to disagree.

January 3, 2005 @ 1:26 am | Comment

What the Chinese soccer supporters did to the Japanese team was unacceptable and poor sportsmanship. But choosing the behaviour of soccer fans to illustrate a nation’s jingoism is like saying the Olympic Games is a series of competition between nationalistic ego – we would be stating the obvious

In soccer, you’ll more often than not get hooligans (the world’s full of them – soccer hooligans, that is), and as we know, the worst type of hooligans are those who hide behind a national flag or symbol.

But that doesn’t excuse those Chinese soccer fans for behaving like a** h***

January 3, 2005 @ 2:20 am | Comment

It takes two to tango, don’t just blame the double-victimized victim, China, for the current situation. Read an interesting and unbiased article from the atimes.com today. How much is Koizumi responsible for the current strained relationship??? Is right wing Koizumi another puppet for the Bush & Neo Con INC? I think so…

China hits all-time low on Japan pop charts
By J Sean Curtin

TOKYO – The statisticians, in their annual measure of national goodwill, have very bad news for Japanese and Chinese politicians, businessmen and the public. It’s time to look to the new year, make resolutions and take steps for a better 2005.

According to the just-released annual Japanese government opinion survey, the number of Japanese people who feel affinity with China has fallen sharply, hitting an all-time low of 37.6%, This represents a dramatic 10.3-percentage-point drop from last year. The results are being seen as yet another indication that despite booming economic ties, Japan-China relations are in trouble. For more than three years Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has pursued a controversial China policy that has put Japanese neo-nationalism ahead of good political relations with Beijing, seriously straining bilateral ties.

The new poll findings demonstrate that Koizumi’s risky strategy has undermined Japanese perceptions of the Middle Kingdom and might affect bilateral commerce in 2005. There are also strong indications that the Chinese public now views Japan much less favorably than before Koizumi came to power in April 2001.

The Japanese business community fears that the animosity generated by what some consider Koizumi’s insensitive China policy could damage booming economic ties that are vital to both countries. Preliminary projections for 2004 estimate that China imported somewhere in the region of 7.6 trillion yen (US$73.4 billion) in goods from Japan. A frustrated Japanese businessman whose company is heavily involved in China told Asia Times Online, “Koizumi should be trying to help Japanese business, not make our lives more difficult by upsetting China. I worry that the nationalist flames he has fanned will get out of control.”

Government officials says China’s slump in the yearly Japanese Cabinet Office survey reflects the current poor state of Sino-Japanese relations and is the result of recent disputes, such as China’s development of natural-gas fields in the East China Sea near Japan’s disputed maritime boundary and Koizumi’s contentious annual visits to the war-tainted Yasukuni Shrine.

Beijing sees the Yasukuni Shrine as the spiritual symbol of Japan’s brutal wartime regime, viewing prime-ministerial patronage as unacceptable in the same way Israel would not tolerate German leaders visiting a Nazi memorial. The Chinese leadership has singled out Koizumi’s shrine excursions as the main factor holding back bilateral political ties. Debate over the issue has aroused nationalist passions in both countries. Yasukuni is a memorial to Japan’s war dead; 14 Class A war criminals are enshrined there as well.

Government officials also blame China’s popularity nosedive on Chinese soccer fans’ hostile jeering of the Japanese national team during the China-hosted Asia Cup soccer tournament this year. However, many Japanese reject this assessment. Hiroki Takeda, a university student and soccer enthusiast, said, “The bureaucrats’ explanation sounds silly. The bad behavior you saw in China is common everywhere in the world where soccer is played. When Japan beat Russia in the World Cup, they attacked our embassy in Moscow. Besides, nobody in Japan really cared what the Chinese fans did because we beat China and won the Asia Cup.” China’s rowdy reaction to Japan’s victory was mild in comparison with the reaction of losing-side soccer fans in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere.

Japanese media and nationalism harm China’s image
The government-cited causes cannot fully explain China’s ratings crash, which is worse than the 51.6% recorded in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square “incident” in which hundreds, maybe thousands of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators were attacked and killed by the People’s Liberation Army. That was the lowest since the annual survey began in 1978. Now it’s even worse.

The Japanese media, which have exaggerated the activities of a small number of Chinese criminals operating in Japan, and right-wing politicians, who have exploited anti-Chinese sentiment for political advantage, must also shoulder a very large portion of the blame for the very negative poll result (see Japan murder fuels false anti-China furor).

A businesswoman, who did not wish to be identified, said media stereotyping is seriously harming China’s image. “I have been dealing with China for over 15 years and witnessed an incredible transformation in everything, from the way they do business to the way they look,” she said. “China has become so sophisticated and modern, yet from the impression the Japanese media [have] been painting lately, you would think the entire country is made up of violent criminals who are lining up to come here to rob Japanese people.”

Another important factor, which is much more difficult to quantify, is rising nationalist sentiment generated by North Korea’s past abduction of Japanese citizens, a topic that dominates the Japanese media. There are growing indications that animosity directed at Pyongyang, China’s longtime ally, is also hurting China because of recent bilateral tensions. Some analysts think this is the most alarming aspect of worsening public perceptions of China.

A senior Japanese diplomat explained the situation to Asia Times Online: “Unfortunately, the public’s strong emotional reaction and anger about the North Korean abduction issue has begun to spill over on to China, and people are mixing up the two together. This confusion may partly be arising because both regimes are nominally communist. Recent tension with China is also definitely a factor.”

He added, “This is not a good development, and it will cause problems in the future because illogical perceptions like this are very difficult to change. Furthermore, once an issue becomes driven by emotion, it becomes hard to approach it in a rational manner.”

The situation is certain to deteriorate further if Koizumi makes another of his regular shrine forays in 2005, since this would produce a strong reaction from Beijing and be met by an equally robust response from the right-wing Japanese press.

Yasukuni policy backfires
Some think business considerations were among the factors that initially led Koizumi to start his contentious Yasukuni pilgrimages. He wanted to get nationalist elements within his own governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to support the economic reforms the business world was demanding. Playing the nationalist card seemed like the best way mollify this constituency. This strategy has dramatically backfired, and the shrine visits are now severely damaging Koizumi’s standing with the business community.

Dr Christopher Pokarier, an associate professor of business at Waseda University, told Asia Times Online, “Koizumi needed the conservative and nationalist wings of the LDP on side if he was going to have any chance of implementing his economic-reform agenda. This is basically because these policies would damage the traditional support base of the LDP, so he had to give them something in return, and a good dose of nationalism seemed like the ideal remedy. Ironically, the economic situation has now moved on and issues like postal reform are not so important to business, while relations with China most definitely are.”

The importance of good political dialogue in smoothing bilateral relations can best be illustrated in the Japan-US relationship, which regularly goes through rough patches, but unlike China, the United States remains popular. The most recent focus of US-Japan tension was the crash in August of a US Marine Corps helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University. The US military turned down a request by the local police to join the on-site investigation into the crash, seriously offending residents and provoking strong protests. Despite this, two months later 71.8% of Japanese surveyed said they favored the United States in the annual government survey.

Some indirectly blame the US for China’s current unpopularity. A prominent Japanese academic, who did not wished to be identified, said, “I feel US policymakers are just too focused on the Chinese economy, almost obsessively, and they are not paying enough attention to Japan and its legitimate security concerns about the growing military power of China. This makes Japanese people feel extra-uneasy about China. In fact, many ordinary people feel the US is ignoring the threat posed by China, and unless the US rectifies this position, people will continue to feel threaten by China.”

Survey results may underestimate anti-Chinese feeling
Some commentators believe that the annual government poll actually underestimates the current level of anti-Chinese sentiment because it was conducted before tensions were heightened by the recent incursion of a Chinese submarine into Japanese territorial waters and the two frosty summit meetings between Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Hitoshi Urabe, a senior researcher at the Japanese Institute of Global Communications, said, “Japanese people’s sentiment against China could only be assumed to be worse now than when the survey was carried out.”

He explained, “The poll was conducted in October, before the Chinese nuclear submarine intruded into Japanese waters, for which China expressed only ‘regret’ at a press conference, without a formal apology to Japan. It was also before our Prime Minister Koizumi was ‘scolded’ by Chinese leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic [Cooperation] forum and then at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”

The official survey findings are worrying enough, showing an unprecedented deterioration in friendly attitudes toward China. In 2003, 47.9% of Japanese felt close to China, compared with the present 37.6%, while those who felt negatively rose to 58.2% from last year’s 48%.

Back in 1980, China enjoyed a positive rating of 78.6% and during the 1980s the figured hovered at about 70% until the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident knocked it down to 51.6%. The figure remained around the 50% mark until this year’s drastic tumble.

Urabe believes the Chinese leadership’s criticism of Koizumi has generated a certain degree of nationalist passion. He commented, “It is true that there are many Japanese people who question Mr Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine, but the prime minister being criticized publicly by the officials of another country, for whatever reason, is not an impressing sight for the people who collectively and in accordance with the rules of democracy chose him to lead the country.”

China issues Yasukuni ultimatum
Whether the Japanese public like it or not, China’s leaders have given Koizumi what amounts to an ultimatum: halt the shrine visits or seriously damage bilateral ties. At a summit meeting in November, President Hu Jintao told Koizumi, “The crux of the problem is that Japanese government leaders pay homage at the Yasukuni Shrine.” Hu argued that if Koizumi visited the shrine in 2005, it would deeply offend Chinese people.

Because the traditional Chinese calendar runs on a 60-year cycle, the 60th anniversary of the ending of World War II, which occurs in 2005, is regarded as having an especially strong symbolic significance in Chinese eyes. Hu’s message was reinforced when Koizumi subsequently met Premier Wen Jiabao, who delivered the same message.

Since the ultimatum was issued, Koizumi has been unusually silent about his intentions on visiting the shrine, though he has said he would seriously consider China’s concerns. There has been fierce debate about whether he will visit Yasukuni in 2005. The business community has been putting pressure on Koizumi to halt the pilgrimages for the sake of Sino-Japanese economic links, while nationalist elements in his party and the right-wing press have been demanding that Koizumi continue to pay homage at the shrine. Neo-conservatives claim that to bow to Chinese pressure would be interpreted as a sign of weakness by Beijing. Foreign Ministry officials fret that a new foray would completely undermine their efforts to improve Japan-China relations.

If Koizumi decides to go, the timing of any visit will be critical. Were he to go at the beginning of the year as he did in 2004, he would in effect derail any prospect of improving ties in 2005. However, if he postponed his pilgrimage to near the end of the year, diplomats would at least have a chance to repair some of the current damage before the next clash.

Before Koizumi took up office, who could have imagined that the future shape of Sino-Japanese relations would revolve around an annual visit to a relatively obscure Shinto shrine? Yet Koizumi’s decision on visiting the shrine has the power to damage long-term bilateral ties severely.

Recently there have been signs that Koizumi has begun to become alarmed about the nationalist genie he has let out of the bottle, especially his inability to control it. Logic would seem to dictate that he would refrain from visiting Yasukuni until after he has left office in 2006, but nationalism is not a logical force. Unforeseen events may push him into playing the nationalist card. If he does, the consequence for Sino-Japanese relations could be severe on both sides. In Japan, the already serious popularity slump for China could become grievous and harm political and economic ties.

J Sean Curtain is a GLOCOM fellow at the Tokyo-based Japanese Institute of Global Communications.

January 3, 2005 @ 9:26 am | Comment

“The reason why Chinese get work up (under day to day situation they don’t even think about it) about the Japanese atrocities is not only the Japanese government’s refusal to extend an OFFICIAL apology (and let’s not throw red herrings by suggesting the Japanese have to kneel down when doing so – that’s sheer BS diversionary arguments), but its periodic attempts at historical revisionism, deceitful euphemism and the visit of the Japanese PM to the Shrine to pay homage to war criminals who had committed the worst barbaric atrocities on the Korean, Chinese and European people. Criminals raped women, but Japanese soldiers not only raped women but bayoneted them in their vaginas as well – that’s barbarism of the Japanese variety, and like all Japanese products are of the perfect quality – perfection in cruelty.

Another important reason these factors as mentioned above agitate us, is the fact that most of us (through our families) have been directly affected/harmed by the Japanese occupation army – even today many people still talked about the screams, wails, moans, shrieks emanating from town halls or churches or schools which the Kempetai commandeered for their interrogation centres.

We remember all these, especially when the above mentioned issues arise.

If you want to be pro-Japanese or even anti-Chinese, that’s fine and your prerogative, but don’t tell us Chinese we are wrong to demand an apology from the Japanese. We want closure as well, and only the apology can bring that about.

You haven’t bled the blood we (our ancestors/relatives) had, so don’t make cheap talk. It’s like telling a Jew that Auschwitz should be forgotten – no, it must never be, to remind the world that genocides aren’t acceptable. We see Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, Wounded Knee which all demand the reminder, including Nanjing, must be refreshed regularly in our children’s minds so that it must not happen again.

BTW, I have Japanese students staying in our house as exchange students. I don’t talk about this to them as it’s not their fault – we Chinese aren’t Japanese haters per se.

But let’s not pretend the ‘other’ Holocaust did not happen here in Korea-China. Every Korean, Chinese, many Europeans and even most Japanese are aware of what went ugly, so who are you to tell us it’s our fault for being recalcitrantly unforgiving! Even if we are, it’s our ‘bleeding’ right.

Posted by jacky at January 2, 2005 07:46 AM ”

Jacky,
I think you hit the nail on the head there, and it pretty much concludes the objective truth on this matter. BRAVO!!! Remember folks, “We want closure as well, and only the apology can bring that about.”

January 3, 2005 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Jacky is very smart, but I think Mark’s earlier comment is a perfect response:

Quote
Let me just say here though, that I am fully aware of all of the
atrocities that the Japanese Imperial forces committed not only against the Chinese, but also against the Koreans, the peoples of many south-east Asian countires, and of their British, Austarlian and American captives during World War Two. I agree that the Japanese government ought to apologise for these past sins, officially, on behalf of the Japanese state – just as I think that the Australian government ought to officially say “sorry” to that country’s indigenous peolpe for the atrocities of the past.

But to harbour strong feelings of hatred, to be blinded by hatred, to enable the more extreme, more neurotic voices of this hatred to whip up anti-Japanese sentiments to the point where you have significant
numbers of people under their spell, people who will lash out at Japanese sporting teams or vistitors – that BL, is cancerous! And that BL, is what Richard Lisa and others have been essentially arguing all along. This is what is at the heart of this debate.

Feelings of revenge and hatred can only, in the end, lead to
self-destruction.
Unquote

So we all agree — Japan should apologize. Yes, we all agree.

But if they don’t, should the current level of rage continue forever? It feeds on itself like a sickness, and in an ironic way, it gives the Japanese a type of victory — they have you reacting helplessly and in a self-destructive manner to their terrible crimes. And it only makes China look bad in the eyes of the world — even if you are right, it still appears to be a serious lack of maturity and self-control. Be angry, demand apologies, but don’t let it be your life. When you allow it to be your life, Japan has won.

January 3, 2005 @ 10:23 am | Comment

Well said Richard. Once again Richard, we agree on something!

And Jacky – if you re-read my comments above, you will also see that I acknowledge the fact that you Chinese are not Japanese-haters per se. I know that, and as I said earlier on this website, most Chinese are not psychopathic haters roaming the streets with a thirst for revenge. I know that. I think we all know that. Many Chinese nationals, and many Korean nationals too, are even falling in love with Japanese nationals, and many are even getting married and having babies! Somebody else has already pointed that out earlier on this website.

But the point here, what is essentially being argued, is that a growing number of young Chinese in particular, are developing a sense of nationalism that is chauvanistic, and there seems to be an increasing number of people who are whipping up anti-Japanese sentiments – and such sentiments act as a cohesive – they bind people together in ways that could prove to be one day dangerous.

Hitler knew all too well about the power of such cohesion. He whipped up anti-Jewish sentiments among the German populace to the point where a good number of people were under his spell, were under the spell of hatred. If you can control people’s emotions on mass like this, then you can manipulate them into doing other, more horrific acts of violence. Look at the Cultural Revolution!

Remember, that a “nation” is an imagined community, and if what binds together people’s imagination is a shared hatred of some particular group of people, some “other”, then what you will have is a nation that is destined towards self-destruction.

Nobody is suggesting that China is heading down this path. I’m certainly not suggesting this. But nevertheless, this increasing anti-Japanese sentiment, which is often expressed with feelings of hatred, and in a manner which is quite blatently racist, well that is neurotic, and could prove to be dangerous at some point in the future if it is allowed to grow and to blossom unchecked.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 3, 2005 @ 6:22 pm | Comment

Dear Lirelou,

Thanks again for your interesting views. I really do appreciate your challenges!

Look, I take your point that the US was “invited” into Vietnam – but who did the “inviting”? And they were not, I’m afraid, invited into North Vietnam. As far as most Vietnamese today are concerned, and as far as many Vietnamese at the time were concerned, the United States “invaded” their country.

It’s not hard to understand why people see it this way. At the 1954 peace conference in Geneva, the Viet Minh were pressured by the US, China and the Soviet Union into accepting a temporary division of Vietnam into two sectors, with national elections and unification to take place at a later date, in 1956. By the terms of this agreement, outside forces were prohibited from interfering with the reunification process. But the US had already begun to interfere in the South and cause havoc in the North while the conference was still in progress. In fact, the French effort before them had been funded largely by Washington as well.

The “puppet” (O.K. I know you don’t like the term “puppet” so let us say, “client”) regime it set up in the South was comprised mainly of the urban Catholic elite that had flourished under French rule, representing about ten percent of the population.

The vast majority consisted of traditional Buddhist peasants who rejected the US-imposed dictatorship – a regime which, as you no doubt already know, also refused to honour the agreement on elections in 1956 because, as US President Eisenhower observed, Ho Chi Minh was certain to get some 80 percent of the vote.

As resistance grew among the people, the US increased its efforts to impose its client regime upon them, to no avail. The dictatorship’s unpopularity was so intense and widespread that no amount of money and munitions could enable it to survive on its own.

After the 1956 election was scuttled, the North was entitled under international law to seize control of the entire country. Instead, it adopted a cautious approach, as resistance grew among the southern population. No Northern troops were reported in the South until 1964, when some 25,000 US troops were already present, along with vast quantities of war materiel.

By the end of January 1965 the Johnson administration had come to the conclusion that the persisting instability in the South required the US to bomb the North. Using a raid on the US base at Pleiku in which nine Americans died as an excuse, Johnson order the bombing of North Vietnam to begin. The air war against the North quickly grew from a sporadic, halting effort into a regular, determined program. Sorties against the North increased from 25,000 in 1965 to 108,000 in 1967 and would continue to increase thereafter. The expanded air war also provided the pretext for the introduction of the first US combat troops into Vietnam. The commander of US forces in Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, in late February requested Marines to protect the air base at Danang.

So Lirelou, I think it is perfectly fair and reasonable to argue that the US “invaded” Vietnam – as do many others, including most historians! The American approach was after all, “basically to take over the war from the South Vietnamese and try to win it militarily by conducting a war of attrition,” as Lewis Sorely acknowledges. “The theory was that killing as many of the enemy as possible would eventually cause him to lose heart and cease aggression against the South.” This earlier period, was, as you pointed out Lirelou, also characterised by recurring requests for more American troops to be dispatched to Vietnam.
At the very least, Lirelou, you have to say that the US “interfered” in Vietnam, even if you don’t like to call this involvement an “invasion” as such. It becomes a question of semantics.

As for the CIAs funding of Pol Pot – well, this is very common knowledge outside of the USA. I tell you why most Americans do not know about this – because of the high level of censorship that exists in the US. When John Pilger made a documentary about this very issue, he had no trouble getting his film shown on Australian and British television – and of course, the Thatcher Government at the time was also supporting Pol Pot, but the British media is less censored. In the US, journalistic so-called “adjudicators” from the Public Broadcasting Service “adjudicated” and consequently rejected his film. It seems as though the word “adjudication” is simply a euphemism for “censorship” in the PBS.

Let me provide you with a short history lesson: declassified United States government documents leave little doubt that the secret and illegal bombing of then neutral Cambodia by President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger between 1969 and 1973 caused such widespread death and devastation that it was critical in Pol Pot’s drive for power. “They are using damage caused by B52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda,” the CIA director of operations reported on 2 May 1973. “This approach has resulted in the successful recruitment of young men. Residents say the propaganda campaign has been effective with refugees in areas that have been subject to B52 strikes.” In dropping the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on a peasant society, Nixon and Kissinger killed an estimated half a million people. Year Zero began, in effect, with them; the bombing was a catalyst for the rise of a small sectarian group, the Khmer Rouge, whose combination of Maoism and medievalism had no popular base.

After two and a half years in power, the Khmer Rouge was overthrown by the Vietnamese on Christmas Day, 1978. In the months and years that followed, the US and China and their allies, notably the Thatcher government, backed Pol Pot in exile in Thailand. He was the enemy of their enemy: Vietnam, whose liberation of Cambodia could never be recognised because it had come from the wrong side of the Cold War. For the Americans, now backing Beijing against Moscow, as I mentioned in my earlier commentary above, there was also a score to be settled for their humiliation on the rooftops of Saigon.

To this end, the United Nations was abused by the powerful. Although the Khmer Rouge government (“Democratic Kampuchea”) had ceased to exist in January 1979, its representatives were allowed to continue occupying Cambodia’s seat at the UN; indeed, the US, China and Britain insisted on it.

Meanwhile, a Security Council embargo on Cambodia compounded the suffering of a traumatised nation, while the Khmer Rouge in exile got almost everything it wanted. In 1981, President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said: “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot.” The US, he added, “winked publicly” as China sent arms to the Khmer Rouge.

In fact, the US had been secretly funding Pol Pot in exile since January 1980. The extent of this support – $85 million from 1980 to 1986 – was revealed in correspondence to a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On the Thai border with Cambodia, the CIA and other intelligence agencies set up the Kampuchea Emergency Group, which ensured that humanitarian aid went to Khmer Rouge enclaves in the refugee camps and across the border. Two American aid workers, Linda Mason and Roger Brown, later wrote: “The US government insisted that the Khmer Rouge be fed . . . the US preferred that the Khmer Rouge operation benefit from the credibility of an internationally known relief operation.” Under American pressure, the World Food Programme handed over $12 million in food to the Thai army to pass on to the Khmer Rouge; “20,000 to 40,000 Pol Pot guerillas benefited,” wrote Richard Holbrooke, the then US assistant secretary of state. The Australian journalist, John Pilger, even witnessed this. Travelling with a UN convoy of 40 trucks, he was driven to a Khmer Rouge operations base at Phnom Chat. The base commander was the infamous Nam Phann, known to relief workers as “The Butcher” and Pol Pot’s Himmler. After the supplies had been unloaded, literally at his feet, he said, according to Pilger: “Thank you very much, and we wish for more.”

In November of that year, 1980, direct contact was made between the White House and the Khmer Rouge when Dr Ray Cline, a former deputy director of the CIA, made a secret visit to a Khmer Rouge operational headquarters. Cline was then a foreign policy adviser on President-elect Reagan’s transitional team. By 1981, a number of governments had become decidedly uneasy about the charade of the UN’s continuing recognition of the defunct Pol Pot regime. Something had to be done. The following year, the US and China invented the Coalition of the Democratic Government of Kampuchea, which was neither a coalition nor democratic, nor a government, nor in Kampuchea (Cambodia). It was what the CIA calls “a master illusion”. Prince Norodom Sihanouk was appointed its head; otherwise little changed.

The two “non-communist” members, the Sihanoukists, led by the Prince’s son, Norodom Ranariddh, and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, were dominated, diplomatically and militarily, by the Khmer Rouge. One of Pol Pot’s closet cronies, Thaoun Prasith, ran the office at the UN in New York. In Bangkok, the Americans provided the “coalition” with battle plans, uniforms, money and satellite intelligence; arms came direct from China and from the west, via Singapore. The non-communist fig leaf allowed Congress – spurred on by a cold-war zealot Stephen Solarz, a powerful committee chairman – to approve $24 million in aid to the “resistance”.

Until 1989, the British role in Cambodia remained secret. The first reports appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, written by Simon O’Dwyer-Russell, a diplomatic and defence correspondent with close professional and family contacts with the SAS. He revealed that the SAS was training the Pol Pot-led force. Soon afterwards, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that the British training for the “non-communist” members of the “coalition” had been going on “at secret bases in Thailand for more than four years”. The instructors were from the SAS, “all serving military personnel, all veterans of the Falklands conflict, led by a captain”.

The Cambodian training became an exclusively British operation after the “Irangate” arms-for-hostages scandal broke in Washington in 1986. “If Congress had found out that Americans were mixed up in clandestine training in Indo-China, let alone with Pol Pot,” a Ministry of Defence source told O’Dwyer-Russell, “the balloon would have gone right up. It was one of those classic Thatcher-Reagan arrangements.” Moreover, Margaret Thatcher had let slip, to the consternation of the Foreign Office, that “the more reasonable ones in the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in a future government”.

I could go on, and on, and on….

Trust me on this one Lirelou, both the CIA and the CCP, as I said earlier, must not only take some of the responsibility for Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia, but also for the rise of Pol Pot, who not only went on to butcher something like 3 to 5 million Cambodians (a clear case of genocide) but was even rewarded for this brutality through the support he received from Beijing, London and Washington while in exile in Thailand.

I rest my case.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 3, 2005 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

Mark Anthony James: I could go on, and on, and on….

Yes, I believe you could.

(Just kidding!)

January 3, 2005 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

140 comments and counting!

Well, since I’m coming to this debate very late, I won’t rehash points that have been done to death. Ideologically I’m probably closest to Mark Jones, whose comments never cease to impress me.

I may have missed it, since I didn’t have time to do more than scan the 140 comments, but I didn’t see my reasoning expressed (see below). I’d like to try to introduce a different way of looking at this issue of China/Japan relations.

Let’s consider the desired result. The main one, repeated at frequent intervals has been for Japan to apologise and for their leaders to stop visiting the shrine for their war dead. I don’t want to deal with the question about whether these are appropriate goals (everyone else seems to have talked that issue to death). The question I would like to raise is this: are Chinese (and Korean) actions against Japan (either official or non-official) likely to result in the desired goal? For anyone who chooses to honour me by replying to this post, I hope you will address that question, and not just my opinion about it.

My view? Absolutely not. Action and desired goal are totally at cross-purposes. Chinese people may like to express their outrage against Japan, in order to vent their anger … but it will ultimately have a negative effect on Japanese attitudes towards China. It seems to me that as the years pass, the Japanese population is getting more and more tired of the anti-Japanese rhetoric that comes out of China. As this occurs, it becomes increasingly unlikely that any Japanese government would be prepared to suffer the loss of face involved in bowing to Chinese demands. Instead, I predict a Japan that will in the future feel the need to stand up and assert herself, and a nation less and less willing to passively listen to a constant barrage of blame and insults. That’s when things could start to get nasty. A fight is unlikely to occur when one side declines to shout back. What happens when both sides start yelling, and then flexing their muscles? We could end up with an asian arms race, and even (ultimately) some kind of military confrontation. For those Chinese who seem to think this would be a good idea, let me quote something the Chinese scholar Chao Cuo said to Emperor Han Wen-di c.168BC: “weapons are ill-omened things, and in all combat there is risk; in a moment everything may be overturned so that the greater becomes the smaller and the stronger the weaker. Trying to snatch victory from the jaws of death is hardly possible, and then it is too late for regrets.” In other words, even if China is much stronger than before, don’t be foolish enough to think that she’s guaranteed to win any such war. It could go either way.

Back to my original point: the desired result. It seems to me that one of the reasons that many governments are afraid of making apologies (in an official capacity) is the fear of it opening the floodgates to a never-ending wave of compensation demands. If the goal is an apology, perhaps China should ponder how she could make the way easier (and not more difficult as is the case now) for a Japanese administration? As for the issue of the shrine, the Japanese might be more amenable to requests to do something like this: incorporate in their ceremonies words to the effect that the people buried there are being honoured for their sacrifices for their motherland. They are not being honoured for their actions which brought suffering to others. Chairman Mao receives plenty of honour in China today, despite an increasing willness to admit that he made mistakes, and caused suffering as well. If the Chinese would be willing to allow the Japanese the same dispensation to honour their war dead, I think they would be more amendable to compromises that could take into account Chinese sensitivities.

My summary? I don’t know if my suggested solutions would work or not … but I do know that the current path comdemns itself to failure. I believe a more reasoned and less emotive approach from China would be more likely to achieve success. If Chinese demands do not take Japanese sensitivities into account … ultimately it will just push Japan to become more anti-China.

January 3, 2005 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

Finally! Somebody, at last, has entered into this discussion with more than just a few comments on whether or not the Chinese are justified in their rage or not, or on whether all of this hatred and racist chauvanism is healthy or not.

What Filthy Stinking No.9 has just written represents a real progression in my opinion, for he has offered suggestions on how this problem can be moved forward. As Filthy Stinknig No.9 writes: “It seems to me that one of the reasons that many governments are afraid of making apologies (in an official capacity) is the fear of it opening the floodgates to a never-ending wave of compensation demands. If the goal is an apology, perhaps China should ponder how she could make the way easier (and not more difficult as is the case now) for a Japanese administration?”

I know that this is definitely the case in Australia – the current Prime Minister, John Howard, has made no attempt to hide his true reasons for refusing to make an apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples for past atrocities. It is becasue the government has been issued with legal advice, warning them that such an apology would most likely open the floodgates to waves of expensive compensation claims.

No doubt the Japanese government is also sensitive to this likelihood. The Japanese Government has, in the past, made a number of compensation payouts to its overseas victims – but an official state apology would almost certainly open up the possibilities to waves more!

As Filthy Stinking No.9 has suggested, perhaps the Chinese and Korean governments need to think about introducing ways that might encourage the Japanese state to officially apologise for their past crimes against humanity.

Filthy Stinking No.9 also writes: “Chinese people may like to express their outrage against Japan, in order to vent their anger … but it will ultimately have a negative effect on Japanese attitudes towards China. It seems to me that as the years pass, the Japanese population is getting more and more tired of the anti-Japanese rhetoric that comes out of China. As this occurs, it becomes increasingly unlikely that any Japanese government would be prepared to suffer the loss of face involved in bowing to Chinese demands.”

This, I fear, is most definitely the case. When I lived in Japan back in 1999, I taught not only at a state high school, but also at a private English conversational school, a chain school called NOVA. There, I taught many young Japanese students aged in their early to late twenties, and what struck me about most of them, was that they often expressed their anger at how the rest of the world are always trying to make them feel guilty about Japan’s past. “I had nothing to do with World War Two,” they would say. “I wasn’t even born then. Why should I apologise?” Such sentiments were, and no doubt still are, widespread.

If you try to make people feel guilty all the time, you do not encourage them to think about the past, nor do you encourage them to engage with you or your feelings. Their response will simply be to go on the defensive. And this, as Filthy Stinking No.9 has suggested, could lead many to rebel against this barrage, it could result in “a nation less and less willing to passively listen to a constant barrage of blame and insults.”

If somebody does something, or behaves in such a way as to cause you pain or suffering (be it emotional or physical or both) – if you attempt to make them feel guilty for too long, too insistantly, the result will not, most probably, be the one you desire. In all likelihood, this person will instead become defensive, and if you continue to drive home the point, they may even rebel by going on the offensive. This, I’m afraid, is basic human psychology – and it applies to the collective as well as to the individual.

A “more reasoned and far less emotive approach” from China, as Filthy Stinking No.9 has suggested, is no doubt more likely to succeed in bringing the two countries closer together in friendship and mutual respect.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 3, 2005 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

Many of the web worms of China don’t really know all that much of the Chinese-Japan relationship. There are people who watch japanese tv shows, listen to japanese music, eat japanese food and still say they despise the japanese.
It’s affecting the young people most of all, (even in highschools students pat eachother’s backs, congradulations on thinking up a new insult) because the racisim has become “popular”, insulting japanese on the web while eating a stick of POCKY while waiting for japanese cartoons to come on on TV has become a trend.

January 4, 2005 @ 1:46 am | Comment

Dear sp:

You are absolutely right that US administrations in history had backed many stink regimes for its own realpolitik and geography concerns. That’s why China loves Henry Kissinger, for whom anything has a price tag and any deal can be made with a right price.

In that laundry list, would you mind my adding one entry, Generalisimo Chiang Kai-shek? Truman loathed his corrupt KMT dictatorship, but had to keep a blind eye on his atrocities against Taiwanese people, in 228 massacre and beyond. American value surely is not served well by supporting a longest martial law regime in human history.

The reason I talked more about China than about Saudi Arabia is not that I think house of Saud is made up of angels, but simply because I am a Chinese and know more about China. In fact, Beijing regime has been born again to be more like Riyadh than like Moscow – to be a corrupt, brutal regime that Washington can live with and deal with. That does not alter the picture for Chinese people. Their enemy is still in Beijing, not in Tokyo. That’s what I want to expose to my fellow netters.

January 4, 2005 @ 2:32 am | Comment

Mark Anthony Jones, FS9 and Richard,

I take your common point about a self-defeating action by the Chinese everytime they blow their gaskets against Japanese attempts at historical revisionisms, visits by its brass to the Shrine (because such a visit is related to homage to war criminals) or white-washing euphemisms about their dark WWII past. In fact these three issues are more provocative than the non-existence of a formal apology.

The way I see it, the Japanese refusing to say sorry is not as important to the Chinese or Koreans as their attempting to change historical facts, for once these atrocities are conveniently cleansed off the Japanese moral records, who is to say they won’t repeat them. It is the very memory of its darker moments that has restrained most Japanese from a more bellicose or aggressive path since the war, particularly for the postwar generation. Keeping them a little extra on the ‘right’ side may not be entirely a bad thing.

Precisely because of this, the Chinese, Koreans and other Asians are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea:

- to raise Cain when the Japanese attempts to creatively revise history or socially rehabilitate war criminals would be, as Mark mentioned, to corner the rat (and I use ‘rat’ not in a derogatory sense, but rather in the meaning of ‘forcing a normally timid creature into an aggressively defence) and thus push them further away from an apology

- not to do so would see the story of the ‘Arab & the Camel’ enacted – in the absence of any vigorous protestations or vocal outrage at their insidious actions, the Japanese conservative elements would, millimetre by millimetre, push the revisionism programme further along – oh yes, they do have such a programme. Soon, before you can say Abracadabra, the Japanese Occupation Army will become either the victims or the liberators.

In the West you enjoy vigorous and robust protests when you sense the authorities are up to monkey tricks – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you keep the pressure of the people’s opinion on the ‘enemy’ (or City Hall). We Chinese, Koreans and other victims do likewise – our voice is meant for Tokyo – it works sometimes – it just did, as Koizumi has stated he won’t visit the Shrine this year – so our voices do mean something afterall.

Yes, we are less sophisticated than our western counterparts, and sometimes do appear like Genghis Khan on the morning after a maotai binge – our hooligans haven’t done us any good, and we rather not have them but we can’t choose our kinfolk. But as long as they don’t hurt anyone we haven’t cross the line then – we are still new in the game.

But a formal apology would/could seal off any further attempts at revisionism. I cannot speak for the others but I’ll be satisfied with one sans compensation. I like to move. I hope Koizumi can allow me to do so.

January 4, 2005 @ 4:07 am | Comment

To say Vietcong to Hanoi is Talliban to Islamabad, I assure you, will fail you SAT. (Fortunately SAT has dumpped that part) If you really want a distinction, Vietcong is North Vietnamese’s military wing in the Southern part, which US and ROV troops confronted everyday.

I don’t see this etymology would possibly serve anyone’s plan to conceal Chinese atrocities. Yes, you can be sure that I will continue to focus on China’s crimes and bring it to light. Because it matters to me, to justice, and to the globalizing world.

January 4, 2005 @ 4:23 am | Comment

Dear JR:

Sorry I didn’t get your e-mail. But if you can read in simplified Chinese, here we go:

http://www.zaobao.com/special/china/sino_jp/pages/sino_jp041004.html

The revisionist history textbook is so unpopular in Japan, that the adoption rate is only 0.097% (total in-print: 1197 copies).

I think that answers many’s concern. Not like China, in Japan PTA has a final say on what textbook to choose.

I don’t try to be provocative, but seems to me Japan’s system, copied after the US model, is more decent than its counterpart in China. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why.

January 4, 2005 @ 4:42 am | Comment

bellevue,
I am sure you can find skeletons in the closet in every country in the world. Just admit that you hate the Chinese, and you are a China hater. It is sad to see this blog is attracting this kind of personality.

January 4, 2005 @ 4:53 am | Comment

bellevue,
thank you for providing the link, but the link itself stated specifically the book is for assistant teaching material only. It is an alternative and not a regular history textbook. It is up to individual school to use it or not. The purpose of this book is to counter the arguments and points in the right wing version of the Japanese history textbook.

So the point you made earlier about the majority of Japanese textbook mentioning the rape of Nanking is invalid.

January 4, 2005 @ 5:11 am | Comment

JR:

The China-Korea-Japan project is to publish a fact-finding teaching material. That is NOT the textbook I mentioned. I mean the main-stream history book other than the right-wing revisionist books, in another word, over 99% of the book adopted. They all mentioned the invasion and Rape of Nanking.

That maybe the last news Beijing wants to get people know of.

January 4, 2005 @ 5:41 am | Comment

To prevent JR from further misleading English-only readers, I have to translate the Singaporean news excerpt here:

“Only 1193 copies of the history distorting textbook published by right-wingers is distributed, with adpotion rate of 0.097%”.

According to this source, the rest is not ‘history distoring’ textbook, unless you think a book can be ‘distorting’ and not ‘distorting’ at the same time.

Richard, I think you are better positioned to offer English class here.

January 4, 2005 @ 5:52 am | Comment

bellevue,
just because you can’t find facts to support your argument, don’t change the subject by acusing me of lying. Many people in here can read Chinese, anyone of them can prove I did not mislead the English readers.
Why don’t you quote the rest of the English document to the English readers also??? See who is misleading here.

January 4, 2005 @ 6:11 am | Comment

bellevue,

chinese know that japanese textbooks have mentions of their war crimes during wwii. the point here is the trend.

obviously there is a trend to twist the basic facts of wwii by re-writing history textbooks in japan.

this trend is dangerous, and this trend is strengthening, with supports from more and more rightwing japanese.

if you guys can smell a dangerous nationalism china from a sick mr soog, i think because of the past, we have every reason to smell a more dangerous japan from the action of twisting history.

January 4, 2005 @ 6:16 am | Comment

“That is NOT the textbook I mentioned.”

Exactly, someone made a baseless acusation (note 1) and couldn’t find facts to back it up, so they have to change the subject to alter attention.

1″The fact that great majority of the >>>>>textbooks in Japan actually mentions the Rape of Nanking is even on Chinese language websites.

January 4, 2005 @ 6:28 am | Comment

JR:

I never said or implied that you were lying. I just think you did not inteprete that piece of news in its own merit.

There are many threads pointing to the statistics, one is from Xinhua news agency, basically saying the same thing. I haven’t seen a refute to that math.

January 4, 2005 @ 6:39 am | Comment

JR:

You don’t think over 99% is great majority?

January 4, 2005 @ 6:42 am | Comment

bingfeng:

I don’t worry about the poor 0.097% textbooks on Japanese market which is not telling the truth. We can keep the pressure and monitor the trend.

I worry about that 100% Chinese parents never have a say to choose history books for their school children. Many don’t even know that it’s rights in civilized nation.

January 4, 2005 @ 6:49 am | Comment

My dear Bellevue,
Did your linked article say anything about the rape of Nanking? How do you know the rest of the Japanese history textbooks mention the rape of Nanking? As Richard said, even the American textbooks did not mention the rape of Nanking.

January 4, 2005 @ 7:10 am | Comment

So bellevue, you are a Japanese in China, huh?

January 4, 2005 @ 7:12 am | Comment

JR: As Richard said, even the American textbooks did not
mention the rape of Nanking.

I never said any such thing.

January 4, 2005 @ 7:49 am | Comment

“bingfeng:

I don’t worry about the poor 0.097% textbooks on Japanese market which is not telling the truth. We can keep the pressure and monitor the trend.

I worry about that 100% Chinese parents never have a say to choose history books for their school children. Many don’t even know that it’s rights in civilized nation.”

_____________

true, china still has a long way to go but she is in the right direction.

pls let me remind you that the topic of this post is basically anti-japan sentiments in china, why you point to something unrelated to the topic again and again?

i have to admit this trick is cunning, attacking the weakness of the opponet and letting him has no time to focus on the main topic.

January 4, 2005 @ 7:50 am | Comment

“bingfeng:

I don’t worry about the poor 0.097% textbooks on Japanese market which is not telling the truth. We can keep the pressure and monitor the trend.

I worry about that 100% Chinese parents never have a say to choose history books for their school children. Many don’t even know that it’s rights in civilized nation.”

_____________

who keep the pressure and monitor the trend?

it seems those so-called blind rage keep the pressure. if we just forgive japanese and keep calm, like some westerners here suggested, can you image what japanese will do?

January 4, 2005 @ 7:55 am | Comment

Richard,
then someone else did in this same thread.

January 4, 2005 @ 7:56 am | Comment

JR:

The trickery is a little bit too old. Anyone disagrees with you is a Japanese?

Your usage of ‘Japanese’ as a dirty word is very telling.

Fortunately, people like you do not have a monopoly of the word ‘Chinese’.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:01 am | Comment

Bellevue,

what are you trying to say?
It’s funny you are still trying to convince people you are a self-hating Chinese.

BELLEVUE,

YOU DON’T JUST HATE THE CCP, YOU HATE CHINA.

YOU DON’T JUST HATE CHINA, YOU HATE CHINESE PEOPLE.

NEED I QUOTE WHAT YOU SAID IN THIS BLOG???

January 4, 2005 @ 8:10 am | Comment

bingfeng said: can you image what japanese will do?

Let tell you what Japanese will do: the educators, teachers and liberal politicians will go on their fight for the truth in textbooks, and small but noisy gang of right wing revisionists will keep on their push, with little gain.

The use of collective word ‘Japanese’ reveals your over-simplified vision. That’s why your rage is blind.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:14 am | Comment

JR:

Using all capital letters means yelling on the Internet. Didn’t you know that?

January 4, 2005 @ 8:16 am | Comment

I’m now wondering if Richard is getting annoyed by this way. The debate is leading to nowhere, and I hate to have a share in that. Sorry

January 4, 2005 @ 8:18 am | Comment

binfeng: pls let me remind you that the topic of this post is basically
anti-japan sentiments in china, why you point to something unrelated to the
topic again and again?

i have to admit this trick is cunning, attacking the weakness of the
opponet and letting him has no time to focus on the main topic.

It is ithe exact same trick you have constantly used in the Taiwan discussion. Remember, how you keep pointing to the US Civil War, to England and Northern Ireland, the two Germanys? Remember? It seems you know all about being “cunning.”

Bellvue, I find it interesting, but at this point it’s certainly going around in circles. We all know where the others stand. The ones who shriek and get furious tend to look the weakest; I recommend that anyone who wants to get their points across refer to history and examples, and not name calling and shouting.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:22 am | Comment

Bellevue,
I have read Richard’s blog for long time, but I haven’t noticed your name in here before. It’s interesting to learn a person’s character and morals through their writing.

P.S. I have also visited Dave, Emile, ACB, Ellen and Bingfeng’s blog for awhile.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:30 am | Comment

“It is ithe exact same trick you have constantly used in the Taiwan discussion. Remember, how you keep pointing to the US Civil War, to England and Northern Ireland, the two Germanys? Remember? It seems you know all about being “cunning.”"

____________________

calm down richard

bellevue attacked those mainland issues that unrelated with taiwan in a post that discusses taiwan independence.

i cited similar cases in history to explain my views. i believe most people will agree that citing two germanys, us civil war … is NOT unrelated with a topic.

i am sure people will make a sound judgement who is pointing to unrelated issues here.

it seems you are not happy that someone with different opinions take a upper hand in your blog.

i appoligize if i make any personal attacks in this blog. but i hope you, as the blog host, keep a minimum fairness. thanks.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:39 am | Comment

Dear Richard,

I am so sorry for using capital letter to emphasize my points.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:44 am | Comment

it was me =)

January 4, 2005 @ 8:44 am | Comment

Richard,
Please read every Bellevue’s post carefully. Accidentally he said he’s Japanese at one point. Calling a Japanese a Japanese is not a derogatory term.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:49 am | Comment

Richard:

I see; I’ll stop making the points already obvious to you.

Here is a new one, and it’s about Taiwan not Japan. Since you mentioned all those ‘cunning’ analogy so I follow up with my dissents here. I don’t have a problem to raise all those analogies, as long as we examine them carefully. In fact the 2-Germany case actually doesn’t help them at all. The 2 German republics recognized each other’s sovereignty and that didn’t get in the way of a democratic reunification at all. But to those Chinese nationalists, the formal announcement of independence from Taiwan sounds like the end of the world. I can’t think of any justification for that thinking.

January 4, 2005 @ 8:58 am | Comment

JR: show me the post you alleged.

It’s perfect OK to be a Japanese. But I told you I’m not.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:02 am | Comment

if you read german history you will know that the 2 germans were created by outside forces against german’s will. even they were forced by others, they still keep “internal affairs dept” for exchanges between 2 germanys.

the standpoint of mainland is pretty fair to anyone who has no bias, mainland just hope maintaining the status quo with most taiwanese relucktant to reunified with mainland, and most mainland chinese don’t want taiwan to separated.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:09 am | Comment

binfeng: it seems you are not happy that someone with different opinions take a upper hand in your blog.

If you believe you have the upper hand right now, after every argument you made has been easily demolished by common sense and historical perspective…. Well, believe what you wish, I can’t control that. Next I’ll bet you’ll start telling us Taiwan should be made part of Mainland China! Whatever.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:11 am | Comment

Richard:

Not ‘should be’ part of China, but already part of China! China is unified. That’s why it’s called anti-seccession law.

Looks like I really have an upper hand in understanding Chinese thinking :)

January 4, 2005 @ 9:17 am | Comment

[if you read german history you will know that the 2 germans were created by outside forces against german's will.]

Official line of Xinhua News Agency. I can recite the Chinese version. Want me to go on?

January 4, 2005 @ 9:20 am | Comment

well richard, you also just show me and other readers here what level of fairness and good manners you have towards someone with different opinions.

as for who have the upper hand, it’s not that important. if you have something that could prove i am wrong somewhere in my views, i’d happy to know that, because that makes me better not worse, and closer not farther to the truth. this is the essence of debating.

it’s midnight here and i’m taking a shower and go to bed. good night everybody.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:25 am | Comment

bingfeng:

Fantacy is not reality. Feel free to aboard a plane to fly to the other side of the ‘unified’ China, with your ID only. Have a safe trip.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:34 am | Comment

Erm, as far as I know germany *has* been divided against it’s will by outside forces. It’s not because it’s the Xinhua official line that it isn’t true …

(Which may explain why a reunification was easier than it is for North Korea or China)

January 4, 2005 @ 9:34 am | Comment

binfeng, you’ve been given evidence time and again, and you always weasel out of the argument by changing the subject or insulting the other guy. Or by getting over-emotional. Enjoy your shower, we’ll all miss you.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:44 am | Comment

“Fantacy is not reality. Feel free to aboard a plane to fly to the other side of the ‘unified’ China, with your ID only. Have a safe trip.”

let’s see in 10 years which one becomes a fantacy – a united china or an independent taiwan.

btw, one of my professors, an european who spent many years in mainland and taiwan, predicted that china will be reunited eventually, although there will be ups and downs during the process.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:45 am | Comment

Bingfeng,

Ouch, you are too straight fowards sometimes. It takes a long time to build up the goodwill and a good reputation. Having read Richard’s blog from the beginning, I must say I have my highest regard and respect to the man. I feel sad that he is being clouded by Bellevue in here. I would like to give Richard’s benefit of doubt that he is not a China- hater. I am not saying about he must be loyal to China.
Nevertheless, in order to be a respectable Gentleman in Confucius term, I think it is fair to expect the person to be with a sense of fairness and balance, and view the issue with an open-mind.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:45 am | Comment

bingfeng:

I’m not talking about in 10 years. I’m talking about today. Reality is about today. Show me the ‘One China’ today. If that becomes a reality in 10 years, or in 10 months, that’s another story. I’m talking about now.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:49 am | Comment

bingfeng:

An independent Taiwan had been there before you were born. The president in Taipei has never been appointed or approved by Beijing butchers. Not in your wildest dreams.

Taiwan is not part of PRC. Live with it and go get a life.

January 4, 2005 @ 9:59 am | Comment

Bingfeng,

Don’t play the Taiwan card with Bellevue anymore. He is not Chinese, he is not Cantonese, he is not Taiwanese. He is just a Chinese-basher. This Chinese-basher is just trying to stir up more conflicts

January 4, 2005 @ 10:04 am | Comment

JR:

Sorry, but China-basher doesn’t make this up:

http://www.chinese-vietnamese.ch/_overlay/taiwan.htm

Worths a thousand words, huh? I suppose China-lover made this.

Often when I want to make a point, I back up with facts. I expect the same thing from the other side, but only get emotions, name-callings, regrettablly.

January 4, 2005 @ 10:12 am | Comment

Bellevue,

“when I want to make a point, I back up with facts.”

Oh really? Have you no shame for lying so much and acting innocently at the same time, bellevue.

Where are your facts, links for all these alleged Chinese web sites???>>>>>”The fact that great majority of the textbooks in Japan actually ((((mentions the Rape of Nanking))))is even on Chinese language websites.”

Anyway, you’ve showed us that you don’t have any links and facts to support your accusation.

I am getting sick and tired of your baseless, outlandish accusations, and Chinese-hating rhetorics.

January 4, 2005 @ 10:37 am | Comment

JR:

I’m tired of posting again the link to that 0.097% adoption rate story. Do you need a Xinhua link? Or do you really read my post?

January 4, 2005 @ 10:45 am | Comment

Bellevue,

Please stop playing dumb and scroll back up to read the original postings.

I repeat again here: your article did not say anything about the majority of the Japanese history textbook admitting the rape of Nanking.

January 4, 2005 @ 10:50 am | Comment

JR:

http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2004-10-04/13203833581s.shtml

0.097% of the textbook in Japan is right wing distorted.

1-0.097% = 99.903%

99.903% of the textbook in Japan is not right wing distorted. Which means, they record the rape of Nanking.

Isn’t that great majority?

January 4, 2005 @ 10:55 am | Comment

JR:

Simple logic:

If a textbook doesn’t mention rape of Nanking, it will be referred by China as ‘right wing distortion’.

99.903% of the textbook is not called ‘right wing distortion’. So it must have mentioned that.

Feel free to keep your hatred against Japanese (or follow your doctor’s instruction), but fact is fact.

January 4, 2005 @ 10:59 am | Comment

“Which means???”
What a great presumption!

Fallacies of Presumption 101= Suppressed Evidence
HA
=)

January 4, 2005 @ 10:59 am | Comment

Can’t debate me, now you call me a Japanese hater? How typical…

January 4, 2005 @ 11:02 am | Comment

http://news.sina.com.cn/w/2004-08-27/10113510507s.shtml

Right wing’s goal: to increase adoption rate of their textbook to 10%

Status quo: 0.097%

January 4, 2005 @ 11:04 am | Comment

The above link also states that so far, NO any public school is using right wing version.

January 4, 2005 @ 11:07 am | Comment

So far this link is the most informative one that I can find:

http://ceric.ecnu.edu.cn/jky/jiaoshou/liuqi/jpjksxyong.htm

8 publishing houses submitted their history textbooks and got governmental approval. 7 of them mentioned comfort women, rape of Nanking, etc over 100 times. Only the “New Japan History” has none of that – the right wing disortion one. So the battle is around this ‘New Japan History’.

Right wing’s goal: to get 10% adoption rate. End result: 0.097%. Big victory for the truth.

Case closed. Would you please spend a few minutes reading?

January 4, 2005 @ 11:14 am | Comment

“The above link also states that so far, NO any public school is using right wing version.”

So? what’s your point?
Bellevue: my point is…………?

January 4, 2005 @ 11:16 am | Comment

JR:

The point is, great majority uses left wing textbook. Public schooling is mainstream in any country.

Please, read that detailed study by Hua Dong Shi Da.

January 4, 2005 @ 11:22 am | Comment

Bellevue,
are you refering to the 9th paragraph with the blue iii, iv, v notes???
Doesn’t that paragraph talk about The right wing element is advocating the public not to teach the truth of the Japanese war crimes and not using the word invasion in the textbooks.
Where do you get 7 out of 8 textbook?

January 4, 2005 @ 11:43 am | Comment

Yes. The right wing is accusing the 7 junior high textbooks in year 1998 mentiones Japanese invasion for 143 times, and taught students about comfort women, Nanking massacre, etc.

That proves the left wing is doing a good job and enjoys an overwhelming majority.

The source is credible for it is an education research institute.

January 4, 2005 @ 11:53 am | Comment

Where do you get 7 out 8 textbooks??? Do you presume that also?

January 4, 2005 @ 11:56 am | Comment

Let’s give this textbook topic a rest, okay? You can argue about it over email, but we’re just wasting time at this point.

January 4, 2005 @ 12:03 pm | Comment

JR:

If you can’t infer any obvious in context, then I doubt if you can even do TOEFL reading comprehesion.

First paragragh: 8 publishing house submit …

then the author focuses on ‘New Japan History’, leaving the 7 others.

Then the 7 textbooks (1998) are mentioned.

It’s clear that from day one, that distortion version has been only one. The adoption rate in 1986, it reports, was 0.02%.

It’s very convincing that others are overwhelmingly majority. It’s not without battle, and the progressive side is doing just great.

January 4, 2005 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

Okay.

January 4, 2005 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

Bellevue,
I just emailed you.
BTW, TOEFL means Test of English as a Foreign Language. Did you mean TOCFL?

January 4, 2005 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

This thread has gone sadly downhill since last time I read it.

January 4, 2005 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

Totally true, Li En. Time to put this thread to bed.

January 4, 2005 @ 7:21 pm | Comment

Dear Jacky,

Thanks for your very thought-provoking response to my last entry. I must say, I am impressed with your reasoning here – your point about the need to go on challenging the revisionists among those Japanese nationalists who wish to cleanse the historical record of all of its past atrocities is a fair enough one, and I believe you are correct in your analysis.

I guess what is required is a sober response to such provocations as the visiting of shrines, history texts, etc. – a balance is needed in the way the Chinese and Koreans deal with these issues. Such revisionism certainly does need to be challenged – the question though, is how? Encouraging a blind hatred among the masses is certainly not the answer, as I have already argued, along with Filthy Stinking No.9, Richard, Lisa, and others. But such revisionism needs to be challenged nevertheless – though thoughtfully.

You are right – the Chinese and Koreans and other Asians who suffered under the Japanese are now caught, as you say, “between the devil and the deep blue sea.”

Jacky – you says that we “Westerners are more sophisticated” than you Chinese, and that Chinese hooligans give the rest of you a bad reputation.

I don’t think that we Westerners are necessarily more sophisticated than anyone else, generally speaking. Racist hooligans are, I’m sad to say, all too numerous in the West. Did you know that in Germany, an average of 20,000 racist attacks occur every year against its ethnic citizens, and that the German government has even been forced to establish a special police task force specifically to tackle this problem?

In France, we see an average of around 10,000 racist attacks every year.

Back in 1994 and 1995, I lived and worked as a high school teacher in London. I worked at Morpeth School, Morpeth Street, Bethnal Green, in the heart of the Cockney East End. When I first arrived in London, the racist chauvanistic British Nationalist Party (BNP) actually held a seat in the local government – the Isle of Dogs, which sits directly across the River Thames from Greenwich. Local elections were coming up (sometime around April, I think, if memory serves me correctly). Anyhow, for the first three or four months leading up to that election, the BNP conducted their electioneering through a campaign of violence. This is how they increased their public profile! By attacking (usually young) people of colour.

In the first four months of me having arrived in London, no less than four Bangladeshi students in the East End were seriously beaten into comas by gangs of white BNP thugs. I still remember, very vividly, one day being called to the staff common room for an emergency staff meeting. The London metropolitan police had phoned the principal to inform him that a young Bangladeshi youth had been found lying in a local nearby park, beaten into a coma, his face unrecognisably swollen and battered. He had been taken to hospital, but was not expected to survive. Nobody at this stage knew whether he was one of our students, or from another nearby school up the road.

As it turned out, he was from the other school, and fortunately, he survived. He became a television celebrity for a about a week or two – because once he recovered, he expressed no anger or hatred towards his attackers. Amazingly, he expressed forgiveness. He harboured no desire for revenge. I still remember his name: Ali Aktar was his name.

On another occasion, about a week after that, one of my second year students, another young Bangledeshi boy, aged only 13 years, was punched in the face and was given a black eye by a 40-something year old man while he was walking home from school.

In fact Jacky, the problem was so bad, that throughout the months leading up to the local elections, the London metropolitan police had to patrol the streets around our school every afternoon from 3:15pm, so as to protect our students from the possibility of a racist attack while they were on their way home.

Jacky, the attack I mentioned earlier against Ali Aktar occured in the context of it having been apart of a whole wave of other attacks in the lead up to a local council election. About a week before I arrived in London, Morpeth School, where I taught, was itself the scene of a rather nasty and horrible drama. Apparently, a group of adult white BNP thugs entered the school playground during lunchtime, and proceeded to physically assault as many Asian and Black kids as they could. One of these thugs was even weilding an axe about, and apparently broke one student’s jaw with the handle.

As it turned out, this particular man – the one who had broken the boy’s jaw – was identified as being the uncle of one of the students at this school – a white Caucasian boy, of course, aged 15. The very next day, after this incident, a group of about ten Bangladeshi boys decided to take revenge on this man by attacking his nephew. Emotions, as you might imagine, were running very high, and these Bangladeshi boys were very angry and upset about not only the attack itself, but also by the fact that one of their friends had been forced to go to hospital with a broken jaw.

The day after the event, this group of ten walked into a maths classroom right at the beginning of the lesson, before the teacher even had a chance to arrive, formed a circle around this white kid so that nobody else in the classroom could see what was going on, and one of them, who to this day has never been identified, one of them, pulled out a knife and stabbed the kid in the gut. The boy survived, but spent a long time in hospital recovering in intensive care.

Violence begets violence, as I have already said twice in earlier comments on this website. That white boy, he may or may not have been a racist? He was not responsible for his uncle’s actions. He did not deserve to be stabbed, to be “punished”. He was an innocent victim too.

Once again, two wrongs never add up to make a right. This is why I do not believe in the death penalty.

I was shocked by all of this racist violence, because, although racism is also a problem sometimes in my native Australia, there are no organised political parties that preach racist violence in Australia. There are in the USA – like the Klu Klux Klan, but nothing like this in Australia or New Zealand. There was, a few years back now, the One Nation Party in Australia, headed by a woman named Pauline Hanson – but she did not preach violence. In fact, she even had quite a few Asians as members of her Party. Her political platform was simple: she believed that Australia was losing its identity because of its immigration policies. She claimed that Australia was being swamped by Asians. Of course, her political party and career is now over! Most Australians value their multiculturalism – most of her supporters were older people, mainly rural Australians, people who are out of touch with the modern/postmodern world.

Most people in Britain and France and Germany are not racist thugs either, but organised racism is a problem there nevertheless. In Britain, apart from the BNP, there are at least two other racist groups that practice violence: the Chelsea Headhunters, and Combat 19. These two groups are often behind the football hooliganism that has, in the past, given Britain such a bad reputation throughout Europe.

So you see Jacky, racism is a problem everywhere in this world. I’ve seen racism manifest itself in greater extremes in Britain and Europe than I have here in China, where I now live and work. You shouldn’t think that we Westerners are more cultured and sophisticated than you Asians. We’re all the same, fundamentally!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 4, 2005 @ 7:31 pm | Comment

Mark Anthony,

Just to let you know that I did read your reply to my post. Yes, I did experience some emotional reactions (Nguyen Cao Ky et al dictators? What the hell was Ho Chi Minh?) U.S. “imposed dictatorship” (Gawd, that it had been that easy) Rural Australians out of what??? The whole bloody economy is built upon their backs, Mate. But, I will beat a tactical retreat for now because this really belongs in a different forum. p.s. I assume that you are counting my old comrades in FULRO and the Khmer Serai as “allies” of the Khmer Rouge. Unfair, that, even if technically correct.

January 4, 2005 @ 11:15 pm | Comment

Dear Lirelou,

I’m not sure what you mean when you ask, “Rural Australians out of what?” I mentioned rural Australians only once, in my comments above, and only in passing, to illustrate the fact that Pauline Hanson’s support back in 1996/7 was very much skewed. She won so many seats not because she had popular support, but because in her state of Queensland, which is very large and predominantly rural, the majority of electorates contain very small populations – mostly comprising of farmers, many of whom represent a different generation, and many of whom lack exposure to the multiculturalism of the larger urban centres, like Brisbane. Such ruralites are indeed, out of touch with Australia’s urban modernity – and this, I think, goes some way towards explaining her electoral successes.

I in no way wished to imply that rural Australians are in any way inherently inferior to urban Australians – but they are, because of their geographic isolation, out of touch with the realities of urban life, and it is in the urban centres where the vast majority of Australians reside.

The economy may very well be built upon their backs, to some extent, but this hardly detracts from the point that I was making. You shouldn’t try to read too much more into my comments here!

Secondly, Lirelou, I can understand your “emotional” response to my comments. I appreciate the fact that you are a retired military man, and that you served in Vietnam. At no stage have I ever suggested that ordinary soldiers in the US army (or any other army, both past and present) are all in any way bad, or evil, or guilty of some terrible crime.

But I’m afraid that, as far as I am concerned, America’s intervention in Vietnam was morally wrong, and what the US did in Vietnam is shameful. The same applies to what they are doing now in Iraq.

The real criminals, I know, are not the soldiers on the ground – they too, by and large, are innocent victims! The criminals are the ones who sit in Washington – the Henry Kissingers and Donald Rumsfelds of this world – they should, quite frankly, both be sitting behind bars by now. They are the people who orchestrate such crimes.

And no, I do not count you, or your comrades in the FULRO as “allies” of the Khmer Rouge – and that’s because you, and your comrades in the FULRO would not have even been aware of Washington’s policies towards the Khmer Rouge. Nixon, Kissinger, Carter, Thatcher, Reagan, Deng Xiaoping, et al, – yes – they were all allies of Pol Pot. But not the ordinary US soldier.

Finally, it doesn’t really matter whether one considers Ho Chi Minh to be a dictator, or a Soviet puppet (client) or a freedom fighter or whatever – the fact remains that the US had NO RIGHT to intervene in Vietnam’s internal affairs, nor did the US have the right to bomb neutral Cambodia, killing (murdering) a half a million peasant farmers, ad infinitum.

My scathing attack is not directed at you Lirelou, but at the United States government.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 4, 2005 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

Not sure what happened with this thread, but thanks to Jacky for an interesting and well-reasoned post.

January 5, 2005 @ 1:44 am | Comment

Dear Lirelou,

Sorry! One more thing – when I referred to the client “dictator” I was referring to Diem, but of course, Nguyen Cao Ky, while he may not necessarily have been a “dictator” (though in my opinion he was), was certainly a US client. Let me provide you with yet another brief history lesson: the US-backed South raised much of their funds from the opium trade, as you probably already know, and with the help of the CIA.

In May 1961, JFK authorised the implementation of an interdepartmental task force report which called for “the South Vietnamese Army to conduct Ranger raids and similar military actions in North Vietnam as might prove necessary or appropriate.” Talk about interference! Anyhow, the CIA was assigned to help the South Vietnamese carry out this mission and incorporated a fictitious parent company in Washington D.C., Aviation Investors, to provide a cover for its operational company, Vietnam Air Transport. The agency dubbed the project “Operation Haylift.” Vietnam Air Transport, or VIAT, hired Col. Nguyen Cao Ky and selected members of his First Transport Group to fly CIA commandos into North Vietnam via Laos or the Gulf of Tonkin. This is where the CIAs relationship with Ky begins.

Colonel Ky was dismissed from Operation Haylift less than two years after it began though, because, as one of VIAT’s technical employees, Mr. S. M. Mustard, later reported to a U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1968, “Col. Ky took advantage of this situation to fly opium from Laos to Saigon.” Since some of the commandos hired by the CIA were Dr. Tuyen’s intelligence agents, it was certainly credible that Ky was involved with the opium and gold traffic. Mustard implied that the CIA had fired Ky for his direct involvement in this traffic; Col. Do Khac Mai, then deputy commander of the air force, says that Ky was fired for another reason. Some time after one of its two-engine C-47s crashed off the North Vietnamese coast, VIAT brought in four-engine C-54 aircraft from Taiwan. Since Colonel Ky had only been trained in two-engine aircraft he had to make a number of training flights to upgrade his skills; on one of these occasions he took some Cholon dance hall girls for a spin over the city. This romantic hayride was in violation of Operation Haylift’s strict security though, and so the CIA speedily replaced Ky and his transport pilots with Nationalist Chinese ground crews and pilots.

Even though the opium traffic and other forms of corruption generated enormous amounts of money for Nhu’s police state, nothing could keep the Diem’s regime in power once the Americans had turned against it. For several years they had been frustrated with Diem’s failure to fight corruption, and in March 1961 a national intelligence estimate done for JFK complained of President Diem:

“Many feel that he is unable to rally the people in the fight against the Communists because of his reliance on one-man rule, his toleration of corruption even to his immediate entourage, and his refusal to relax a rigid system of controls.”

The outgoing ambassador, Elbridge Durbrow, had made many of the same complaints, and in a cable to the secretary of state, he urged that Dr. Tuyen and Nhu be sent out of the country and their secret police be disbanded. He also suggested that Diem make a public announcement of disbandment of the Can Lao party or at least its surfacing, with names the positions of all members made known publicly. The purpose of this step was to eliminate the atmosphere of fear and suspicion and reduce public belief in favouritism and corruption, all of which the party’s semi-covert status had given rise to.

In essence, Nhu had reverted to the Binh Xuyen’s formula for combating urban guerrilla warfare by using systematic corruption to finance intelligence and counterinsurgency operations. However, the Americans could not understand what Nhu was trying to do and kept urging him to initiate “reforms.” When Nhu flatly refused, the Americans tried to persuade President Diem to send his brother out of the country. And when Diem agreed, but then backed away from his promise, the U.S. Embassy decided to overthrow Diem. Yes! More interference! And yet another example of how, when a “puppet” fails to dance to every string, its master will punish it with ruthless avengence.

On November 1, 1963, with the full support of the U.S. Embassy, a group of Vietnamese generals launched a coup, and within a matter of hours captured the capital and executed Diem and Nhu. But the coup not only toppled the Diem regime, it destroyed Nhu’s police state apparatus and its supporting system of corruption, which, if it had failed to stop the National Liberation Front (NLF) in the countryside, at least guaranteed a high degree of “security” in Saigon and the surrounding area.

Within three months after the anti-Diem coup, General Nguyen Khanh emerged as Saigon’s new “strong man” and dominated South Vietnam’s political life from January 1964 until he, too, fell from grace, and went into exile twelve months later. Although a skillful coup plotter, General Khanh was incapable of using power once he got into office. Under his leadership, Saigon politics became an endless quadrille of coups, countercoups, and demicoups. As you no doubt already konw Lirelou, Khanh failed to build up any sort of intelligence structure to replace Nhu’s secret police, and during this critical period none of Saigon’s rival factions managed to centralise the opium traffic or other forms of corruption. The political chaos was so severe that serious pacification work ground to a halt in the countryside, and Saigon became an open city.

As far as Washington was concerned, it was thus time to resort back to the tried-and-true methods of Ngo Dinh Nhu and the Binh Xuyen bandits. When the French government faced Viet Minh terrorist assaults and bombings in 1947, they allied themselves with the bullnecked Bay Vien, giving this notorious river pirate a free hand to organise the city’s corruption on an unprecedented scale. Confronted with similar problems in 1965-1966 and realising the nature of their mistake with Diem and Nhu, Ambassador Lodge and the U.S. mission decided to give their full support to Premier Nguyen Cao Ky and his power broker, Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan. The fuzzy-cheeked Ky had a dubious reputation in some circles, and President Diem had referred to him as “that cowboy,” a term Vietnamese then reserved – for only the most flamboyant of Cholon gangsters. And that is exactly who Ky was – a gangster!

But then look Lirelou, the United States has a long history of allying itself with gangsters, and of supporting client gangsters. Just take Cuba’s Batista as but one of many many examples!

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 5, 2005 @ 1:58 am | Comment

Mark,

Thanks. I agree that the need for protestations against Japanese revisionism has to be kept at a civil level, but this is of course easier said than done, for without passion and some degree of emotional commitment there cannot be a real protest. The protest will then be seen as lacking ‘energy’ and perhaps not even be heeded.

But where emotions and passions come into play, and minus some sound leadership and careful moderation, the protests can become nasty – that’s why I believe Chinese are yet far from a more sophisticated understanding of how to organize a peaceful yet forceful protest without descending into overt racism. It’s counterproductive to protest against Japanese ‘racism’ (as intrinsic in historical revisionism) when one is seen as being racist – it gives comfort and ammunition to those protested against.

Still between the devil and the deep blue sea.

January 6, 2005 @ 8:00 am | Comment

You’re a smart man Jacky!

O.K. Thanks for clarifying what you meant when you said that you think the Chinese are not as “sophisticated” as those of us in the West – you were referring specifically to “protest” culture – the culture of organising progressive mass political movements, and of organising street protest marches, etc.

The Chinese, slowly, are developing such sensibilities too though, especially in recent years, as is evident by a number of recent, well organised demonstrations against various acts of environmental vandalism – most notably, the building of dams. NGOs like Greenpeace and others, are no doubt helping in this area.

Actually, Chinese NGOs have mushroomed in number over the years: from only 100 in 1965 to now almost 2,000. And the number of national social associations has increased from 6,000 to over 200,000. What we see in China today is an emerging civil society, which I think is very encouraging.

Your comments are certainly fair enough – you are no doubt correct when you say that the Chinese are less sophisticated in being able to organise protests against Japanese racism without themselves descending into racism – Westerners certainly have a longer tradition of organising and participating in such protest movements, and the issue of racism is a hot one in Western schools – especially in the more multicultural urban centres – cities like Sydney or London for example, where people from diverse cultures and ethnicities have to learn how to live with one another, and have to learn how to get along well together.

I appreciate your input into this discussion Jacky. I have learnt something from you.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 6, 2005 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

jeebus, I walk away from this thread for a few days and you guys managed to crank out a 3 part epic… complete with a climatic battle involving gratuitious and unnecessary violence (you three know who you are, or at least the rest of us do). I actually came back two days ago, but I’ve been reading ever since. I thought I’d add something, but all I think of is “beaten to death” doesn’t really adequately describe this one. Good work, everybody.

In seriousness, great posts Mark. You said alot of things better than I did.

January 7, 2005 @ 9:55 am | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 8:14 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 10:07 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 11:26 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 14, 2005 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 15, 2005 @ 4:01 am | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 16, 2005 @ 7:13 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 18, 2005 @ 7:51 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 18, 2005 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 18, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

the fake and the real

the fake and the real

January 18, 2005 @ 7:56 pm | Comment

I don’t want to hearken any comment but only one thing to declare which is war against all white apt japanese. As we chineses once were perished by england with their wicked opium then bullied and humiliated while we’re unconscious by japanese. So this time, I encourage all chineses all over the world to be united to uproot all young or old japaneses just like Israels uprooted all Canaans. But we also need to acquire, invent, etc techniques to tackle all japanese annihilation program. We need to philosophize just like an ancient time to stimulate our brothers Chineses to sustain their stamina against japaneses to recover our dignity by sacrificing all the japanese heads before our suffered ancestors. So You Chineses, would you leave your scars called humiliation upon your descendants or would you be the ones to recover dignity for your descendants by annihilating all japaneses. So we all Chinese would stand together with you until we achieve our motive to regain our glory days. We need an sophisticated organization(similar to Mossad organization in Israel) which would analyse the need to be implemented including philosophy and sophisticated weapon systems to be applied on the japan empire. So we encourage the able one man to lead us all chineses to regain our dignity and the able leader name will be inscribed as our chineses’s savior for the dignity forever. So I hope that day won’t be faraway anymore according to the chineses situation right now. I hope all chineses not to be like an apt japanese by serving japaneses and buying japaneses’s products to prolong the existence of all japaneses. You, all my brothers and sisters, have the power to control the situation of japan by boycotting japaneses’s products and contributing ideas and finance to the japanese annihilation group which would be organized soon by one brilliant god whom I don’t know but I hope to be. We chinese are not humiliated easily for example Khun Sa (Chang Chi Fu), the golden triangle opium leader was an chinese. We are blessed as much as God’s people Israel. And once we were as the driving force of invention in an ancient time and we are going to be now too. We chineses have many achievements in all over the world right now. Very soon we no need to stay in foreign countries anymore but to go back our mother land to serve our country and to regain our dignity back. So at that time, war between China and japan won’t be avoidable anymore. But these countries assisting to the japan, be careful for we won’t forgive you but we won’t fight your country but Isolate you forever. I urge Chinses Government to allow The Japaneses Annihilation Organization be allowed to perform their duty and remember Government must know we want our dignity back so as the protector of us chineses during the invasion of japan, you Government couldn’t do anything to annihilate all japaneses until now to compensate for us. So this time, let’s cooperate with you, Government in this annihilation mission for the dignity of our descendants not to be despited anymore.
Let’s begin our mission, all Chineses

February 12, 2005 @ 9:18 am | Comment

Jang, I found your viewppint very interesting and dedicated a new post to it – I hopeyou can see it. Can you let us know your nationality?

February 13, 2005 @ 10:09 am | Comment

An island too far

On the first day of Chinese New Year Japan formally took control of a lighthouse on deserted Uotsuri Island, part of the Diaoyu chain. Problem is sovereignty over these islands is contested by both China and Taiwan. China has naturally less than impres…

February 13, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

bei jing duck is so nice

March 24, 2005 @ 9:44 pm | Comment

I think the Japanese apology is not enough … by the way who cares about their apology if it isn’t a truely one.. Chinese people should always remember the shame and pain we have been through because of the Japanese. And do our best to improve our economic and military standard, and someday we will revenge!

April 1, 2005 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

Careful – revenge is a very ugly and base emotion.

April 1, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

Richard,

I’ve read through some of the msgs posted on this board. I totally agree with you in what your saying about revenge being ugly in any form. And many Ex-Japanese Asians feel the same way – and we try hard not to harbour any hatred. But for you to comment on this issue as a 3rd person about something that is very personal to most Asians still, I feel is out of boundary. It is easy for you to talk about peace, but it is something that takes much effort from us to swallow and practice, knowing the history as we do, knowing what happened to our very grandparents and how it affects us still.

I always force myself to think about forgiveness and moving on when conflicting situations occur. But there was one occasion when I found myself getting very disapponted at a fellow Korean, when she showed her admiration for Japan. She married a foreigner (an American) and overall they had high esteem for Japan. I did not feel any emotion toward her husband for feeling that way (he had no reason to feel otherwise) but when i heard her say, we are wrong to dislike Japan and praise Japan for all its great achievements, it frankly made me want to throw up and also made me look at her in a different way, because her praises, contrary to what you may think, made me realize how narrowminded and disrespectful she is. It showed her lack of respect for her ancestors, and when I say ancestors, it’s as close as my father’s generation. What Japan did during its invasions and colonization was a crime against humanity. I would not hate a Japanese person per se, and must admit I have some close Japanese friends that I adore, but Japan as a whole (although I wouldn’t say it openly), I detaste. How can you isolate what it did in the past from what it is today. Culture is a collective thing and it inevitably gets influence by past history. It is a country that worships its leaders that used noble human lives for astrocit experiments – cut up people’s intestines while they are still alive to see the affect of their chemical experiments without anestesia, letting them just die in that tragic state, forcing innocent woman into sexual slavery – making them face 50 man a day in cruel sex. and I’m not just talking about tatoos on their bodies, they were not able to come back to their families or even their home country and they live till this date with horrifying memories. Millions of Koreans who died in harsh labor, forced to go to Japan, were not able to come back and they till date live in Japan under discrimination as second tier people. These are to you just someone from a different country, many who has already died, no relavance to me, right? But to me they are my brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents.

But Japan is saying today, stop winning about something that happend in the past, and you know what? it didn’t even happen. They apologized? ONLY IN EMPTY WORDS, which is worse than mockery. The very same day they apologize, they go to warship the very people who commited astorcities to our grandfathers.

It is not HISTORY, not something that happened 65 years ago, but something that is still happening today.

We CAN forgive, Richard, but we shouldn’t FORGET. We shoud NOT forget but remember what has happened, out of respect for our ancestors and to console their sorrows. If we don’t, it only makes the millions of tragic deaths more meaningless.

As I said before we should not try to harbor hatred but it is also important not to forget, especially when so many has been wronged and so little has been set right till this date.

Joanne

May 10, 2005 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

why i am sensitive?

why i am sensitive?

June 13, 2005 @ 3:23 am | Comment

What about the tortures that was carried out by the Chinese against the Chinese? Any chance of an apology?

July 23, 2005 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

Dear reader,

Could any one of you send me the fact on the text book and shrine issue and background. i am unableto gasp much from opinion with out background. it can be the article or website. my email is
govinda@kais.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Thank You
Govinda Rizal

August 31, 2005 @ 5:00 am | Comment

interesting blog, lots of different perspectives and opinions always enjoy your site! the anger that many chinese and others feel towards the japanese are legitimate because the japanese government has not given fair compensation to the many victims of imperial japan, that includes the many POWS from canada and australia in particular, who were enslaved and brutalized in the worst ways imaginable! often the japanese government has even promoted outright lies or simply ignored the facts in there school teskbooks.

November 23, 2005 @ 6:55 pm | Comment

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