Unfortunately, it’s harder to do once you let the genie out of the bottle, as the CCP did in recent weeks when it facilitated and all bu topenly encouraged the protestors. Now they’ve got to got to get the genie back into the bottle.
China launched a new effort Saturday to prevent anti-Japanese violence before a sensitive anniversary, warning against protests and calling on the public to express patriotism sensibly.
Chinese leaders, warning of possible damage to important economic ties with Tokyo, have demanded calm following weeks of protests that left the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and a consulate damaged.
Those demonstrations were prompted by new Japanese textbooks derided for allegedly whitewashing Tokyo’s World War II-era abuses, opposition to Japan’s campaign for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat and disputes over control of the East China Sea.
Official concern is especially acute as China marks the upcoming anniversary of an anti-Japanese protest on May 4, 1919, that has become a symbol of resistance to foreign domination.
“Express patriotism rationally. Don’t take part in illegal protests. Don’t make trouble,” said a text message sent Saturday by Beijing police to millions of mobile phone users in the Chinese capital.
Warnings also were spread by text message and state media in several other cities.
Wednesday’s anniversary is awkward for Chinese leaders because the protesters in 1919 complained that China’s leaders were weak in the face of Japanese aggression – a charge that current rulers are eager to avoid.
How ironic, after providing transportation and things to throw, to see the CCP begging its people to take a rational approach to Japan. Chalk one up to the foreign correspondents in China, many of whom said the anti-Japanese demonstrations would inevitably backfire, forcing the CCP to clamp down and condemn them. It’s exactly what happened.
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.