The Chinese and Japan’s Tsunami

I’ve been confined to my bed the past four days, unable to do anything but watch TV and I feel totally tsunamied-out. But I wanted to take a moment to point readers to an excellent post over at Granite Studio about how Chinese “netizens” are reacting to the horror in Japan, and why Chinese feelings toward Japan are so complex.

I am several days late with this, but there is also a superb post over at Shanghai Scrap on Chiness reactions, and how the expected fenqing who welcome the calamity with open arms are being countered with a lof of compassion by other, more mature commenters.

I understand China’s complex attitude toward Japan. There’s plenty of reasons for it. But I’m glad to see a lot of Chinese people putting these feelings aside and expressing their compassion for the innocent victims of this incomprehensible tragedy.

I’m also ashamed of some Westerners who are making jokes about the Japanese people’s suffering. Imangine cracking Jokes about September 11th as the tragedy unfolded. Reprehensible.

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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: 188 Comments

Vaara, very nice to see you again. What’s in a person’s mind when they say these things? Especially someone in government?

March 16, 2011 @ 12:34 am | Comment

It’s a well-balanced piece by Yajun. She acknowledges the ongoing complicity of the Chinese government in fomenting hatred towards the Japanese through ‘patriotic education’, textbooks, and classroom tales from the crypt. Add to that the nightly serialisations of evil bayonet-wielding Japs hovering over defenceless Chinese maidens and you’ve got yourself a hard-wired dehumanised enemy. If you want a comparison with Nazi Germany, Goebbels’ portrayal of the Jews is it. This is what MUST end; and there is an opportunity here for Zhongnanhai to begin setting the record straight on exactly how responsible, civilised, and friendly Japan has acted towards China in the post-WW2 era. Anything else is not only a shameful lie, it is also perpetuating feelings that could all go horribly wrong.

March 16, 2011 @ 12:34 am | Comment

What’s important is balance. The horrors shouldn’t be forgotten, but neither should the seething rage be nurtured 60 years after the fact, after Japan has done so much to make amends. And Japan isn’t blameless, with its own revisionist history and baiting the Chinese back in 2005 with the PM’s visits to the Yakasuni shrine. Maybe the current tragedy will help both sides realize we’re all human beings, in the same boat together, and there’s a time to put the past behind us.

March 16, 2011 @ 12:42 am | Comment

What westerners are making jokes about this? Outrageous!

March 16, 2011 @ 12:55 am | Comment

See Vaara’s link above, and the last link in my post. Sad but true.

March 16, 2011 @ 1:05 am | Comment

I wonder, why when you mention Chinese reactions, you praise the ones that show sympathy and you say the reasons for all kinds of reactions are complex etc. But when you mention Westerns, you feel ashamed and link to an article about one silly person making tasteless jokes. Don’t you feel that’s unbalanced? I mean, hello? Chinese netizens have been saying the most vicious things about Japanese these days, it is mind boggling to me. The way you wrote your article looked more like you’re condoning it. If any, this tragedy showed how far behind China is in terms of compassion and humanity. Of course it’s no surprise here, I wouldn’t expect any other reactions from people who live under a fascist regime (and probably support it). Frankly, I’m disappointed.

March 16, 2011 @ 1:17 am | Comment

I’m not condoning anything. I said there were “the expected fenqing who welcome the calamity with open arms” and I hope it’s obvious I think they’re idiots. But I wanted to make the point there’s more to it than that, as Shanghai Scrap makes clear. And so far three public American figures have made asinine jokes about the catastrophe, and I see nothing wrong with calling them on it. I’m not equating them with the Chinese in any way. They are in a class by themselves.

March 16, 2011 @ 1:24 am | Comment

Mississippi Republican said something stupid? Well I never!

While I agree that I lot of Chinese are being decent, I get the feeling that some cleanup may be being done. I don’t say that just out of cynicism about the mentality of Chinese people, either; I saw nearly 100% “hang in there Japan” type comments on the Global Times of all places, but more of a mix on overseas sights beyond the reach of the censors. Also, the first headline I saw from the Global Times was “8.9 earthquake in Japan Majority of Chinese internet users wish Japan well.” I think, first of all, that this was a terribly tasteless focus for a top headline about this huge news story. Secondly, their highlighting this response seems to indicate that they want to make this image known and may have played a part in creating it. I’m sure that the scale of the tragedy has probably legitimately touched the consciences of people who might have even made flippant comments about Japanese people dying in other circumstances, but I’m still skeptical that all the readers at a place where calls for genocide of the Japanese are not unusual suddenly found their humanity.

March 16, 2011 @ 1:28 am | Comment

Wish you had an edit feature, I made some embarrassing mistakes there.

March 16, 2011 @ 1:29 am | Comment

If you want to post the cleaned-up comment I can delete the one above.

I’ve heard a lot of bad things said about Japan by Chinese friends, of course, but never a call for genocide. I’m sure some may harbor that attitude but hopefully they are a small minority.

March 16, 2011 @ 1:31 am | Comment

It is impossible to legislate, impose, or ensure unanimous humanity or even basic decency among the masses. So just as some Chinese FQ may have cheered 9/11 and may be jubilant now about Japan, there were probably wingnuts of different stripes who felt that Sichuan was what China deserved. And wherever the next natural calamity may occur in the world, somebody somewhere will probably choose to see it as poetic justice, or variations of “they had it coming”. THat, unfortunately, is just how some people are, and it’s counterproductive to spend too much time worrying about those folks.

I don’t think showing sympathy to Japan at a time like this is worthy of kudos either. It merely represents a minimum level of compassion for fellow man.

March 16, 2011 @ 2:16 am | Comment

Richard,

I’m sure people who talk about wiping out the Japanese are engaging in hyperbole, its just that this kind of hyperbole is too common and people are rarely called out for it.

March 16, 2011 @ 2:47 am | Comment

Gilbert Gottfried is a shock comic who didn’t really pull punches on 9/11 either.

March 16, 2011 @ 4:01 am | Comment

What’s in a person’s mind when they say these things?

Some people lack empathy. As you said, joking about the 2001 Trade Center Attacks would have promoted outrage from the same sort of people who made jokes about what happened in Japan. These sort of people exist in many countries.

Although this isn’t in the same league, a few years ago a pretty awful Scottish commedian called Frankie Boyle made some very cruel jokes about double Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington because of her big nose – saying she looked like someone who looked at themselves in the back of a spoon (plus sexual innuendo). He then said she looked like a beagle after he was given a slap on the wrist by the BBC.

Some comedians only make jokes about notable individuals if they’ve done something silly/criminal/dodgy/etc, but normally stay clear of mocking most people about their physical characteristics. Others like Boyle (I don’t know Gottfried’s style) are happy to make light of anything, including people who suffer from crippling diseases and people dying. When challenged they don’t apologise but either get aggressive or try to make it all seem like a big joke.

The same applies to members of the general public. Some are sensitive, others only think about themselves and a select group of people.

March 16, 2011 @ 4:56 am | Comment

As you said, joking about the 2001 Trade Center Attacks would have promoted outrage from the same sort of people who made jokes about what happened in Japan.

In light of slim’s comment, I could be wrong on that front (missed it when I first posted).

March 16, 2011 @ 4:58 am | Comment

And then there’s Glenn Beck…

March 16, 2011 @ 6:15 am | Comment

On a different, but slightly related tack, this news got fairly mixed reviews here in NZ
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10712382
My wife was as shocked as me by the destruction and death we saw unfolding on the news. Live death, as it were. “Oh my god…and this is real, not Hollywood” to use my wife’s words. Don’t forget, she’d have been taught that the Japanese were not nice and grew up with war movies where the Japanese were the enemy etc. But the sympathy was heartfelt.
As for the compensation story, she was also against that. The compensation given would be high in Chinese terms…though obviously not even begin to cover the loss of your child. The dominant view was that the one child policy was a Chinese government policy and so the CCP should pay.

As for the joking – how can anyone do that when you practically saw people dying live on TV? There’s some sick people out there…but we know that already so shouldn’t really be shocked by it.

March 16, 2011 @ 6:21 am | Comment

“So just as some Chinese FQ may have cheered 9/11 and may be jubilant now about Japan, there were probably wingnuts of different stripes who felt that Sichuan was what China deserved”

With respect, this is more than a ‘wingnut’ phenomenon. The near universal hatred for all things Japanese encountered in China has another, more sinister explanation.

March 16, 2011 @ 8:07 am | Comment

To Stuart,
I think Richard touched on that, as well as some of the links, which mentioned some of the stuff in old textbooks and movies etc, that encouraged, fostered, and ingrained a special kind of hatred directed at some Japanese stereotypes and caricatures. It is encouraging that, at a time like this, the current CCP government chooses to focus on the fellowship of mankind rather than historical grievances. Without doubt, some Japanese committed some unmentionable atrocities during WW 2. And those who suffered under Japanese occupation can understandably feel hatred towards their tormentors. What I don’t get are the people who foam at the mouth, who weren’t even figments of the imagination at the time those atrocities were committed, and who never suffered anything at the hands of some Japanese. I often wonder what secret reservoir they’re tapping into to access their sense of hatred. Not only that, but current Japanese are not the same Japanese who did the tormenting and committed the atrocities. Hating some Japanese for what their Japanese predecessors did requires a special kind of prejudice.

March 16, 2011 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

I remember when a German college, in his thirties, apologized to me because of the support provided by Nazi Germany to Franco’s regime.

I stared blank at him. What the heck! You were not even born then.

Also remember an American very much worried about the Vietnam War who I met when travelling that country. If there is any hatred in Vietnamese people against America or Americans in particular, I am totally unaware of it.

It seem Chinese school education need some upgrading. Promoting hatred is a dangerous thing, any European that knows history is well aware of it.

March 16, 2011 @ 7:52 pm | Comment

@ By S.K. Cheung

Agree with everything you say in #20.

I also don’t think criticism should stop until the CCP take concrete action to stop nurturing the hatred of Japanese as a cultural imperative.

March 16, 2011 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

Is there a mushroom cloud yet?

March 17, 2011 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

I do not feel any sorrow for Japan!
Mother Nature is just getting her own back!
I watched a documentary on Japan and it was disgusting!!!!!!!
How they slaughter dolphin and whales as well as every other animal they can get their sick hands on!!!!!!!!

After they pull the dolphin from the ocean onto the beach they still have the audacity to stand on them while they are lying dying!!!!!
It was the most disgusting I have ever seen in my whole life, and as I said I do not feel any sadness or sorrow for them as they do not feel anything for all the amazing animals they have killed!!!!
Mother Nature is getting her revenge and it’s about time because if it was she left it any longer we would not have any dolphins or whale soon! Look up the animal population in their country; it is nearly the lowest in the world due to them eating everything that has legs and fins!!!!!!!!!

March 17, 2011 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

What I don’t get are the people who foam at the mouth, who weren’t even figments of the imagination at the time those atrocities were committed, and who never suffered anything at the hands of some Japanese.

There are stupid people everywhere. What reason to Japanese right-wing nationalists have to despise every single Chinese person that exists, call them criminals and “third worlders”, discriminate against them and Zainichi Koreans, look down upon poorer neighbors, etc?

Is that a product of “government propaganda” too?

March 17, 2011 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

@HX
You won’t see a mushroom cloud. I dare say you won’t see anything. It’ll just be a release of radioactivity into the atmosphere to be carried where the wind and rain blow and fall. Even then it’ll not be the apocalypse you so fervently pray for. Chernobyl atributed deaths are estimated to be 4000 people over 20 years…don’t have the reference at hand but shouldn’t be too hard to look up.
You might like this
http://passport.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/17/salt_buying_spree_in_china
“I understand the fears of radiation — even from a disaster 1,300 miles away. But this fear of airborne danger is a little strange in China, a country where an estimated 760,000 people die prematurely every year because of air and water pollution. Even using the highest estimates, that more than seven Chernobyl disasters every year. Again, it’s natural to be scared but it’s unfortunate that more quotidian ecological catastrophes aren’t taken so seriously.”

@Chantelle
Grow up.

March 18, 2011 @ 3:49 am | Comment

To Mike,

well said.

To Chantelle,

what you said is no different from Glenn Beck saying that the earthquake was God trying to tell man to change his ways. Or from some global warming types who try to suggest that an earthquake is a manifestation of global warming. Either way, it’s quacky.

March 18, 2011 @ 4:04 am | Comment

@Ecodelta – The Polish poet, Zbigniew Herbert, famously wrote “do not forgive, truly it is not in your power to forgive in the name of those betrayed”. I think this is true – you cannot forgive those who have offended others, because it is not in your power to do so. However, a parallel to this is surely that you cannot apologise for the actions of others, in which you had no part.

It is foolish to believe that an apology from Naoto Kan, on top of the other expressions of regret that have already been made, could have any meaning at this juncture.

March 18, 2011 @ 4:59 am | Comment

@ Mike. Re: the salt rush. (Trying to break the posting habit, so have been holding back.) I must have submitted a dozen posts about how the existing political order would most probably be challenged by text and chatroom rumours leading to social disorder, making particular reference to rumours relating to impending bank failure and their inability to honour ordinary bank accounts.

“I hear there was also a huge earthquake in Taiwan and it will hurt salt supply,” a woman is heard saying.” CDT.

When general belief in govt media and levels of genuine civic education are about 1 in a rating scale of 5, lets not be surprised that rumour is such a powerful catalyst for (disorderly) crowd behaviour. Another variant is the minor incident which spins out of control, pace Tunisia and the self immolation of a street vendor.

In fact, rumour and fact are information currencies of **equal** value in such an environment. Here we have a dual concern for the powers that be in Beijing.

The negative comparisons made by some Chinese people after observing the stoic and self-disciplined/organised response by their historic arch enemies Japan during a rolling series of major disasters. Secondly, civic solidarity in China is virtually non-existent.The Chinese people unified by the CCP and official media is litle more than wishful thinking. Mob behaviour rules when rumours (such as the efficacy of iodene) gain traction.

Not a sure sign of a fundamentally stable social formation.

March 18, 2011 @ 5:51 am | Comment

@ King Tubby

Aren’t the existing political order in China using the self same techniques to ensure social harmony? Certainly they are paying enough to make sure that the information disseminated is “harmonious”.
Of course, one can’t make people believe everythig they hear or read – I think the hardest part is making sure that people believe the message they are meant to believe (if you understand what I am poorly trying to say!).

March 18, 2011 @ 9:08 am | Comment

After Katrina, I was having lunch with a group of coworkers and I was the only nonwhite. A coworker said “that city (New Orleans) really needed a bath” and all the other coworkers nodded in agreement.

I think nowadays china-bashing is the easiest entertainment since China was the loser in the great ideology war of the 20th century. Just like it’s been easy to bash KuoMingDang for fun in mainland since they lost the war so any shit can stick on their face.

What Japan did to China in WWII was on the same level as Hitler did to Jews. Of course China doesn’t have the same level of voice on the international stage as the jewish community so not many people care. Plus, Japan is the friend now and China’s stealing our jobs.

Why the fuck China cannot remind its people about what Japan did to us while Japan is persistant on its revisionist history?

March 18, 2011 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

To #30:
what some Japanese did to some Chinese during WW2 was obviously wrong, just as what some Germans and Hitler did to some Jews was unfathomable. However, would you condone or encourage Jews to hate Germans today? If not, then it should not be much of a reach to realize that it is similarly bizarre for China to encourage systematic Chinese hatred of Japanese today.

If you do condone ongoing Jewish hatred of Germans, then you would at least be internally consistent in supporting continued Chinese hatred of Japanese. But then I’d have to ask, on what basis do current Chinese hate current Japanese? Remember that it’s not today’s Japanese that did those horrible things. And it’s not today’s Chinese that suffered them (though admittedly there may be WW2 survivors today, and their families. I would make an exception for those who actually suffered at the hands of japanese, though it still makes little sense to direct hatred not at the tormentors, but simply at the descendants who happen to share an ethnicity/nationality).

March 19, 2011 @ 5:36 am | Comment

To #31:

The answer should be “It depends”. As what Germans have been doing in term of redemption, no Jews should hate Germans any more. BUT, if every German Chancellor pays annual tribute to a shrine that with Hitler’s “achievements” prominently displayed IN HIS/HER official capacity, I am not sure if Jews would not stop hating Germans as what they do now.

March 19, 2011 @ 6:08 am | Comment

To NotFQ,

Much has been said and written about those shrine visits. I need to learn more about what that shrine means to Japanese people (as opposed to the usual rhetoric that gets thrown around when the subject comes up). I agree there is no justification for glorifying war-time atrocities. However, I don’t think it is inflammatory for a country (even a losing country in a war) to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of that country. Paying respect to war dead need not equate to tacit support for the terrible things that some of those war dead may have committed. And if it’s paying respect to war-dead, I don’t think it’s obtuse for a national leader to do so in an official capacity.

March 19, 2011 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

@SK Cheung – I’ve been to the Yasukuni Shrine, and I find it very objectionable. The twisted presentation of history there, the enshrinement of war criminals, the display of nationalism outside it, are all totally at odds with its supposed function as merely being a place for those who sacrificed for their country. I think it was wrong of the Japanese prime minister to visit the shrine, and right for other countries to protest the visits.

The European equivalent would be for Angela Merkel to visit a war memorial in which – alongside the names of all the other German war dead – the names of Hermann Goering, Klaus Barbie, Josef Mengler, and all the German war criminals were listed. Whilst neo-nazi parties stage demonstrations outside. And with a museum attached that portrayed German aggression as being justified.

March 19, 2011 @ 5:17 pm | Comment

Hi FOARP:
just did some reading about Yasukuni. First off, the museum portion does sound revisionist, and is certainly objectionable based on my reading of how they try to justify Japanese imperialism of the 1930s and 1940s. But it sounds like that is a different building than the shrine itself, and it’s something the politicos do avoid.

As for the shrine itself, it far predates WW2. And since the end of state Shinto and with separation of church and state, it is now a strictly religious establishment. Certainly true that war criminals are among those enshrined, though that was not a government edict or decision. It seems to be a religious place to house the kami of war-dead, and even war criminals have kami. I would have no problem with the stated purpose of the shrine itself (apart from the museum as mentioned). What the right- and ultra-right-wingers make of it also seems in poor taste, but is a necessary concession in a society with freedom of expression.

The easy thing to do would be for Japanese politicians to avoid the place (while they’re in office). But for China to make a big deal of it when Japanese politicians do visit the place is also the easy thing to do. For the shrine to remove the war criminals and house their kami in a separate building would also be the easy thing to do. But in the words of JFK, sometimes you do things not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard. You don’t NOT pay respect to all your war-dead because of the inclusion of several dozen bad apples.

March 20, 2011 @ 4:00 am | Comment

S.K.Cheung, so if Germany has a memorial that honors German soldiers during world war 2 for their sacrifice and valor, not as a way to revise history, but simply to honor those who “made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of that country”.

And besides that memorial, there’s a museum in which Hitler and his associates are some of the people being honored, and in which the Nuremberg trials are called a farce, and in which the Holocaust are being cast doubt on.

And every German chancellor for the past 15 years pays visits along with their cabinet to the shrine (but not the museum that sits right next to it).

So, then, if Israel and many jewish community around the world loudly protests this, you’d offer the same argument as you just did:

“The easy thing to do would be for German politicians to avoid the place (while they’re in office). But for Israel to make a big deal of it when German politicians do visit the place is also the easy thing to do. For the memorial to remove the war criminals and house their kami in a separate building would also be the easy thing to do. But in the words of JFK, sometimes you do things not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard. You don’t NOT pay respect to all your war-dead because of the inclusion of several dozen bad apples.”

You’d stand by these same arguments, yes?

March 20, 2011 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

“You’d stand by these same arguments, yes?”
—do you even have to ask? I’m not internally inconsistent like you folks. So yes, I have no problem with politicians paying respects to the war dead of their country. And like I said, the museum is wrong and I disagree with it. A museum parallel in Germany would be similarly wrong.

However, before you trip over yourself and spit out your rice in a hurry to draw parallels, I’m not sure if Germans subscribe to the same religious concept of kami as the Japanese do. You’d have to ask them. But if they do, then yes, I would feel the same way.

You do like comparing. It seems to be the only thing you can do. But as I’ve suggested to you before, you need to make sure the things you compare are in fact comparable. So in that vein, also make sure this hypothetical German museum contains not just WW2 war-dead, much like Yasukuni does. And while you’re at it, you might want to check if holocaust denial is legal in Germany, since it’s illegal in many other countries, and that hypothetical museum might not get away with saying that. Herein endeth the lesson for today, with some homework for you to boot.

March 21, 2011 @ 5:27 am | Comment

Don’t people think that maybe perpetuating events of almost 70 years ago a bit….off? Sure, maybe the Japanese can say sorry – will that help any? Really?
How about the CCP apologising for the millions of deaths attributed to their disastrous policies?

Maybe the Japanese scapegoating is just something to keep the weak minded otherwise occupied….

March 21, 2011 @ 6:27 am | Comment

There’s an interesting site that tries to tabulate the number of deaths attributed to whoever.
To the Japanese
http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Japanese
“TOTAL:
Chalmers Johnson: “…the Japanese slaughtered as many as 30 million Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese, at least 23 million of them ethnic Chinese.” [http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n22/john04_.html]
Rummel blames the Japanese for 5,964,000 democides
POWs: 539,000 (400,000 Chinese)
Forced Labor: 1,010,000 (142,000 Chinese)
Massacres: 3,608,000 (2,850,000 Chinese)
Bombing/CB warfare: 558,000 (all Chinese)
Imposed Famine: 250,000 (none in China)
Rummel also estimates that General/Prime Minister Tojo Hideki was responsible for a lifetime total of 3,990,000 democides.
Some guy on Internet [http://www.jca.apc.org/JWRC/exhibit/Index.HTM]
Nanjing Massacre: 155,337 dead bodies
Chinese official estimate: >300,000
Japanese scholars:100-200,000
Datong Coal Mine, China: 60,000 slave laborers killed
Forced labor camps in Japan: 6,830 imported workers died
Singapore: 5,000 Chinese k — another estimate: 50,000-60,000 k.
Burma-Siam RR: 12,400 POWs + 42,000 Asian wkrs ”

Yep, that’s a lot of Chinese, I’ll have to agree. Now, how about that warty faced dude one can see on banknotes and whose visage “benevolently” gazes down on all in Tiananmen Square (you can even go see his preserved corpse)
http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Mao

40 000 000. Forty million – that’s like….twice the number that the Japanese killed! And here’s the kicker – the people who killed less are seen as the embodiment of evil, yea even unto the third generation, but the party who killed twice as many of their own people, who the victims are taught to love!

So, spare us the “We must hate all Japanese, even unto the xth generation because of what they did to us 3-4 generations ago” until you face up to what your favourite party did to your parents and grandparents.

March 21, 2011 @ 12:24 pm | Comment

You’ll also notice I didn’t include the Chinese on Chinese toll attributed to Generalissimo Cash My Check….

March 21, 2011 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

It’s tricky to compare Japan’s and Germany’s ways of dealing with past warcrimes and crimes against humanity, Cheung. It starts with the ways of communication within and without the two countries. Explicit apologies are a normal part of communications here in Europe among individuals – in international politics, they can be motivated in similar ways, but demands for apologies can also be part of a concept of power.

What made it easier to understand the magnitude of Germany’s crimes was the growing awareness here that much of what had been done to people had actually been done to German nationals – not least Jewish Germans, and political dissenters. Human rights and democracy had been no “alien” concepts here, before the twelve nazi years.

I don’t think that the continuing Chinese demands for Japanese apologies make sense, except for keeping certain “morals” up within China. If Beijing got one apology after another from Japan (there’s been a number of these), it still wouldn’t make people feel better. It would be in Japan’s own interest to keep “museums” of the kind FOARP describes away from the Yasukuni Shrine, and it would be best if there was no significant number of people in Japan who would want to be flattered and lied to about the past at all. But then, if that concept became entirely foreign to Japan, what should Beijing harp on next to try to keep its people afraid?

The way Japan has acted in more recent decades doesn’t suggest that it would be a threat. There seems to be a lot of resentment not only in China, but also in South Korea and in the wider region, about the Japanese war. But if China fears Japan, it’s probably the only country that does so. The last time other countries were really afraid of Japan was when it became a huge international competitor, and reshaped entire global industries.

March 21, 2011 @ 4:28 pm | Comment

Hope I don’t get too much flak for this….

One of my theories about one of the main reasons that fuels the continual hatred towards Japan by China is, is that they cannot bear that what they consider a small backward little nation, which according to them basically took all its culture from the… great country of Tang, basically overpassed them in industrial and scientific development, was able to defend itself from western colonialism and interventionism in the 19th and 20th centuries, and last but not least was able to bring China to its knees.

(I have only seen such kind of itchiness; reality conflict with cultural assumptions; when DNA studies suggested that the Samurai warrior caste had its origins in Japan’s original Ainu population. Like a teacher at MIT said to me, they itched in a place they could not scratch)

Actually, if the US hat not intervened in WWII they way it did, or kept the pacific theatre at a low priority versus Europe (what Japan hoped), Japanese would be much more spoken in some (former?) parts of the heavenly Kingdown. And who knows? There might even be an Emperor ruling much of China now….

March 21, 2011 @ 6:59 pm | Comment

@Ecodelta – Reminds me of a conversation I had with a Japanese lady I knew. I mentioned the Ainu and she said “they still exist?”.

@SKC –

“You don’t NOT pay respect to all your war-dead because of the inclusion of several dozen bad apples.”

Except it is quite possible for Japan’s leaders to pay their respects to Japan’s veterans and war dead without honouring war criminals. That they continued to do so up until the present government was certainly a problem.

March 21, 2011 @ 10:38 pm | Comment

To JR:
I had no intention of comparing Japan and Germany. But Red Star brought it up, as he is known to do as a big fan of “comparing”, and I merely humoured him.

I fully agree with you (and Mike who alluded to it earlier). I mean, how many generations removed from the event is a country expected to “apologize” and atone for the misdeeds of some members of prior generations? I agree also that the CCP continues to make a big deal of it because it plays nicely into the victim mentality that the CCP yearns to tap into when it suits them. ‘Oh poor China, victim of Japanese aggression’, never mind that it was 70 years ago (longer than the CCP has been around, ironically). I also agree that, when it comes to Asian countries, it’s more of that “face” game where the side receiving the apology might be perceived to be gaining “face”, and the side issuing it might be thought of as losing “face”. So for one “face”-crazy nation to needle another about more and more apologies is to simply engage in more of these silly “face” games.

It would be nice if there weren’t ultra-right fanatics in Japan who feed off of revisionist history. It would also be nice if China had fewer FQ. But one can’t always get everything that one hopes for. I also agree that, for the CCP to keep the masses fearful of everything non-CCP, she would simply dream up something else for CHinese to dread even if Japan appeased them with every apology they could ever ask for.

To FOARP:
yes, I read there was a secular site where people could also go to pay homage to war-dead. My litmus test boils down to this: are they honouring a bunch of war-criminals, or are they honouring their war-dead, the vast majority of whom are not war criminals? Even with the shrine, I feel it is clearly the latter, which is why I wouldn’t have a problem with it. As mentioned, the museum does seem cringe-worthy.

March 22, 2011 @ 8:00 am | Comment

@ SK
Never mind Japanese aggression, we still have to hear about how the British forced the Chinese to become opium addicts…..

March 22, 2011 @ 8:16 am | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe, the CCP simply asks people to not forget history, to use history as a mirror. Is it wrong to call on people not to forget history, to use history as a mirror? When did CCP, in any public statement, said “Japan is an evil country, we must hate Japan!”. When did the CCP in any of its propaganda makes fun of the regular Japanese people? Tell me one example of CCP propaganda that makes fun or insults regular Japanese people. No, there’s not a single example. CCP is always careful to single out Japanese ultra right wingers and militants, but never the regular Japanese people. I will wait for your example.

Also, about the amount of Chinese people killed by the CCP. How is it related to asking the Japanese to recognize its own history, to be accountable for its crimes? There’s a precondition that says if the CCP killed more Chinese than Japanese , then the Chinese people have no right to demand the Japanese for accountability? Where’s the logic in that? You’ll tell the Chinese people, “Your own gov’t killed more of you, so go f*** off before criticizing the Japanese over the Nanjing Massacre?” Do you even have brain left. Did the Japanese nuclear leak radiate away your brain cells?

March 22, 2011 @ 10:23 am | Comment

Kind of ironic, HX, because in the post about the murder of Zhao Wei the very first thing you did was compare his murder to that of a US citizen by the police. Very first thing, despite there being no grounds at all for comparison. With you, these comparisons are reflexive. In this instance, while the situations aren’t parallel, I don’t think it’s unfair when noting China’s oft-heard call for more apologies from the Japanese to consider the CCP’s own policy of not apologizing for its own wrongs.

Mike Goldthorpe, the CCP simply asks people to not forget history, to use history as a mirror. Is it wrong to call on people not to forget history, to use history as a mirror?

I guess you forget 2005, when Chinese police officers handed out eggs to hurl at the Japanese embassy. The protests lasted exactly as long as the government wanted, and was cut off after the point was made. It was a vintage example of a purely government-led exercise in rage against Japan, which is always kept simmering, though now it serves the interest of the government to keep it on the back burner on a low flame. History to the CCP is whatever serves its own ends. Like its journalism, it is manipulated, censored and at times downright fictitious.

March 22, 2011 @ 11:00 am | Comment

Poor HX, brain obviously addled by overingestion of salt….
CCP-Japanese example provided for by Richard.
And if you really can’t see the gist of my comment regarding the CCP looking at it’s own crimes before pointing out the crimes of others then I guess you’re really fucked. Like I said, probably too much salt. Bet it wasn’t even iodised….

March 22, 2011 @ 11:08 am | Comment

http://www.chengduliving.com/anti-japan-demonstration-ignites-chengdu/
Don’t forget, this is in a country where one can’t even go for a stroll outside McDonalds… ;-)

March 22, 2011 @ 11:15 am | Comment

“40 000 000. Forty million – that’s like….twice the number that the Japanese killed! And here’s the kicker – the people who killed less are seen as the embodiment of evil, yea even unto the third generation, but the party who killed twice as many of their own people, who the victims are taught to love!”

Absolute load of rubbish. The facts are these. China experienced the most dramatic reduction mortality and accompanying rise in life expectancy in all of human history, between 1949 and 1982. Every serious demographer, even Western (even hostile Western ones like Judith Bannister) do not, and cannot, deny this fact.

Stanford research:
http://tinyurl.com/39xow94

Harvard research:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/review/rvw_summerfall06/rvwsf06_bloom.html

The worst mortality figures were during the years of the Great Leap Forward. But even during that tragic period the average annual mortality was still way less (about 26/1000) than what it had been at any point in Chinese history up until 1949 when it was (38/1000). And 26/1000 per year during the GLF was not significantly above that of India (23/1000) or Indonesia (24/1000) over the same period.

Your figures for Japanese killings of Chinese only include deliberate killings. What about all the deaths which occurred as a result of Japanese invasion – the collateral damage, the retardation of China’s developent? And we could no doubt say the same for a century of Western imperialism. The excess deaths from the opium trade would surely be just as horrendous.

As you count ‘excess’ deaths to Maoist policies as murder, then you should do the same for Japanese imperialism. If you were to do so the numbers would be absolutely astronomical and dwarf the so-called 40 to 70 million apparently ‘murdered’ by Mao.

The simple fact is this. Under Mao China added more to her population than in the entire century before Mao. This at a time of falling fertility. Whats the only explantion then for the population explosion under him – a huge fall in mortality.

March 22, 2011 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe: the US government has certainly killed more of its own people, far far more, than Islamist terrorists ever have. So the US people should just forget about 9/11 right?

March 22, 2011 @ 1:13 pm | Comment

We mustn’t forget history, for there is much to be learned from it. So it is absolutely vital that we learn from history, to avoid repeating past mistakes.

On the other hand, I’m not sure there is much benefit to simply dwelling on history, since you can’t change it, and while it might inform you about what wrongs not to repeat, it needn’t be an artificial anchor preventing you from achieving things tomorrow.

So what can China learn from past Japanese wrongs? Well, for starters, don’t let them happen again. What can Japanese learn from prior Japanese wrongs? Don’t commit them again. Does this process require ongoing Chinese hatred towards Japanese people? I wouldn’t think so.

And as Richard and Mike say, if Chinese/CCP are to learn from history, well, suffice it to say that there are things to remember about Japanese people, and there are things to remember about themselves.

March 22, 2011 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

@SKC –

“My litmus test boils down to this: are they honouring a bunch of war-criminals, or are they honouring their war-dead, the vast majority of whom are not war criminals?”

My interpretation is this: They were signalling to moderates that they were doing the latter, whilst signalling to extremists that they were doing the former. I cannot see this act as unambiguous, and given the tendency of Japanese leaders to be very careful about symbolism (even the clothes worn by Koizumi when he visited the shirne were carefully analysed), this ambiguity is intentional.

It was within the power of the LDP leaders to eliminate this ambiguity, but they did not. Instead they courted it because they wanted the nationalist vote.

March 22, 2011 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

Also, about the amount of Chinese people killed by the CCP. How is it related to asking the Japanese to recognize its own history, to be accountable for its crimes?

Richard has pointed out how the CCP manipulates how much Chinese people care about past events. For example, I can’t remember the last anti-British protest over the Opium Wars, despite the fact that we haven’t given any especially humble apologies and reparations.

Does this mean that in around 50 years Chinese people will automatically stop complaining about Japan? Or just that we haven’t done anything to annoy the CCP that would cause it to rouse some anti-British sentiment?

However, we have to credit Chinese people with having free thought (even if the CCP tries to manipulate it). Chinese people know that the CCP killed tens of millions of their relatives, but they know that if they try to protest or even kick up a mild fuss there can be trouble. On the other hand it’s so much easier to criticise foreigners, especially if your Police are handing out the eggs.

Life seems to have a different value in China depending on who was responsible for taking it away.

March 22, 2011 @ 9:45 pm | Comment

Let’s not get into a revisionist dialogue about the Great Leap Forward, Wei. First read this article about how it was Chinese investigative journalists who came up with the high numbers, and don’t try to counter that mass murder with figures about China’s blossoming mortality rate. Irrelevant. We’ve been through this too many times before.

From the January NY Review of books, on the author of Tombstone:

What Yang Jisheng adds to this picture is comprehensive scope and authoritative detail in overwhelming amount. When he began research for the book in the early 1990s, he was already a prizewinning senior reporter with the official New China News Agency, a status that allowed him access to archives that were closed to others. He approached his work quietly, in order to avoid suspicion.2 He was able, in the end, to specify such things as exactly how much grain was held in public granaries at the height of the famine (about 22 million tons); how reports of the famine went up the bureaucracy only to be ignored at the top; and how authorities ordered the destruction of statistics in regions where population decline became evident.

Yang records how starving people ate tree bark, weeds, bird droppings, and flesh that had been cut from dead bodies, sometimes of their own family members; how they wandered into neighboring counties in search of food, only to find adjacent areas equally destitute, and then, when caught, found themselves charged as “criminal fugitives,” deniers of the truth that “there is no famine.” Punishments for this kind of offense included public humiliation, plus flogging. Parents who left their children at roadsides, hoping that perhaps a stranger might save them, were accused of “assaulting the Party.” As the famine worsened corpses became more visible at roadsides. There was no problem of dogs eating the corpses, Yang notes, because humans had long since eaten all the dogs—and toads, and lizards, and rats. People learned not to kill rats immediately; it was better to tie a string to a rat’s leg, follow it to its hole, and kill it then. That way one could eat the rat as well as dig down into its hole to recover whatever grain it might have stored below.

Police guarded county bus stations to prevent people from fleeing. Sometimes entire villages were put under lockdown. In the archives of local post offices, Yang found personal letters that had been confiscated during the famine because they had “cast aspersions on the excellent situation.” And where was all the resistance coming from? It came, said Mao, because “the democratic revolution has not been thorough enough.” “Right deviationists” needed to be punished, and the punishments needed to be public in order to warn others. Yang lists cases of people buried alive or suspended from beams in commune mess halls, and cites countless examples of the severing of ears. Some punishments acquired ghastly sobriquets. To strip a person bare, tie his hands, string him from a beam, wrap him in cloth, douse the cloth in oil, and set it afire was “lighting the celestial lantern.” To bury a living person with the shaved head exposed, then smash the skull to splatter the brain, was “opening the flower.” At times it is hard to read Yang. You have to set the book down, take a break, and come back later. This review omits the most difficult examples.

The main reason why the Great Famine continues to haunt China fifty years after it happened is that people are obliged—forcibly, if necessary—to continue to accord the famine’s primary perpetrator, Mao Zedong, a position of honor. Mao’s portrait still hangs at the center of Tiananmen, where it overlooks his embalmed body, which lies supine in his mausoleum within the giant square. And Mao remains the spiritual godfather of today’s regime.

Today’s Chinese textbooks and museums omit mention of the famine (noting, at most, “three years of difficulty” caused by “bad weather”), and young Chinese sometimes express the view that vague stories of a famine must be the fabrications of foreigners. Still, many people remember. Inside families that experienced the famine, word passes from generation to generation. What remains largely unknown is how widespread the famine was. People who know that their own family or village suffered terribly may not know that as many as 36 million (Yang Jisheng’s figure) died in other places. If that fact were well known in China, the consequences for Communist Party rule would be severe. The Party’s ban on Yang’s book is not irrational.

March 22, 2011 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

Hey, looks like revisionist history is not purely the domain of Japanese.

March 23, 2011 @ 12:42 am | Comment

Not sure how a post about the tsunami became an argument about the Yasukuni Shrine but there it is. I’ve never been to Yasukuni but I have been to the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima and I encountered something similar to what FOARP described, a revisionist history that absolved Japan of any wrongdoing. As bad as I felt for the civilians who died in the attack, I was equally annoyed that a famous museum supposedly dedicated to world peace couldn’t even offer an accurate description of the causes of the war itself. Thank goodness there are popular authors such as Haruki Murakami that are willing to face the issue in his novels. I don’t condemn the Japanese people themselves but I do take issue with the way the government has handled this over the last few decades. If the Yasukuni Shrine deals with the subject in the same way as the Peace Memorial Museum and from what FOARP wrote it sounds like they do, I’d have exactly the same issue with it.

BTW, all the people I personally know in Japan have an issue with the way the government has handled the explanation. They all acknowledge that the Japanese government committed war atrocities in China, but there is an element of Japanese society that is very reactionary and also dangerous, so people tend to keep their mouths shut. One did not was Akiko Izumitani whose documentary Silent Shame interviews both Japanese soldiers who committed and later apologized profusely and worked with China to try and make amends for what they had done, and Allied POWs who were victimized by the Japanese in the camps. I had the opportunity to meet her in San Diego at a lecture and if you are interested, her website is here:http://www.silentshamedocumentary.com/

By the way, the greatest single day man made atrocity in WWII was committed by Jiang Jieshi’s KMT in the Yellow River Flood when anywhere from 500,000 to 900,000 Chinese civilians died: http://1938-yellow-river-flood.co.tv/ They usually forget to put that one in the history books.

March 23, 2011 @ 2:15 am | Comment

I am very much afraid, that one of the major roadblocks for political reform and openness in China, is the sheer number of skeletons the CCP has in his closet.

If they allow the closet to be opened a little bit, bones will start to fall down , and once started it will be very difficult to stop.

It is funny, one of the may arguments against political reform id the possible turmoil that may come with it, but the main driver of such turmoil would be CCP`s past actions.

One could possibly compare Mao/CCP situation with Stalin/CPSU. But Russia dealt long time ago with Stalin and Stalinism. And it was the party that dealt with it. They even took Stalin corpse from Lenin´s mausoleum.

Mao still presiding in TQ. And he is a corner stone in the CCP’s legitimacy set-up.

One could say that Maos, dead as he is, still has a great influence in the destiny of China and the CCP.

I think he would have liked to know it.

March 23, 2011 @ 2:18 am | Comment

@steve
Something similar happens with Austria and WWII. They present themselves as victims. though they played a great part in the atrocities.

March 23, 2011 @ 2:23 am | Comment

@myself
“One could say that Maos, dead as he is, still has a great influence in the destiny of China and the CCP.
I think he would have liked to know it.”

He might be smiling in his coffin when nobody sees….

March 23, 2011 @ 2:28 am | Comment

Certainly there was a famine, but nowhere near the scale of what Yang Jisheng proposes. Say there were 5 or 6 million famine deaths. One could find plenty of horror stories to write about.

The point is even using the so called ‘facts’ proposed by Yang Jisheng, one can easily see that he is a reprehensible liar and distorter of the truth.

The most easily seen piece of bs is his adopting a ‘normal’ annual mortality figure of 10.47/1000 (similar to that adopted by Frank Dikotter), in order to max out his body count for the GLF.

His calculations can be found here:
http://luhaibo201.blog.163.com/blog/static/57374499201038112643538/

Now think of this. The best estimate of mortality in 1949 was 38/1000 (Judith Banister).

Yang says 10.47/1000 should have been what was ‘normal’ for the years of the GLF (anything above this Yang counts as a famine death).

The problem is this: mortality even at the same time in the most developed countries in the world, the US and Great Britain was about 10 and 11/1000 respectively.

Even taking into account differences in age profiles of the respective populations, using 10.47/1000 as a baseline to calculate excess deaths is manifestly absurd – especially when considering the fact that India and Indonesia’s average death rate over the same period was about 23, 24 per thousand (typical of developing nations of the time).

Using Yangs own figures, one calculates an average annual death rate of about 26/1000 annual mortality. These are Yangs figures, not mine.

But 26/1000 is obviously lower than 38/1000 in 1949, and lower than event the urban death rate of 32/1000 in urban Hong Kong in the 1930s.

So Yang, (and Frank Dikotter and Jung Chang), max out their death counts against Mao, precisely because Mao had done so much to reduce mortality up to the GLF.
Because the GLF was a huge set back relative to the impressive strides up to it in reducing mortality, Mao is cast as a mass murderer.

This is not a revisionist at all – because in my argument I have used the ‘facts’ provided by Yang Jisheng and Jung Chang and Frank Dikotter, to reach my conclusion.

This is the main point (even using the ‘facts’ of Mao’s wildest detractors):

Over any chosen four year period before 1949 in China’s entire history, more people died as a proportion of the population, than died during the four year period of the Great Leap Forward.

March 23, 2011 @ 4:51 am | Comment

Life expectancy of the three largest Asian nations:
http://tinyurl.com/4kbzhsa

The evidence converges.

Note that even at the height of the GLF in 1960, 1961, China’s life expectancy was slightly higher than that of India’s and Indonesia’s.

And note that for each year of the Cultural Revolution, about one year was added to the life expectancy of the Chinese people.

So by 1976, the year of Mao’s death, life expectancy was 64.9 compared to India’s 51.6, and Indonesia’s 52.9.

Yet in 1949, life expectancy and mortality were about the same for all three countries.

Mao must have done something right.

March 23, 2011 @ 4:59 am | Comment

@Wei
“Mike Goldthorpe: the US government has certainly killed more of its own people, far far more, than Islamist terrorists ever have. So the US people should just forget about 9/11 right?”
No – but the US government does not hide the figures of deaths of it’s nationals due to it’s policies. It might not make them “in your face” but any government site will have accessible records. The US does have to tone down it’s “War on Terror” though – I think this is an accepted view outside of the Tea Party (and, dare I say it, even within the TP)

And, by the way, Wei, they’re not my figures. Read the website and you’ll not see my name anywhere. My point, which is obviously way beyond your ken, is that one should not throw stones when living in a glass house, as it were. But you’re only a 50-Center – not well known for brilliance in arguments and intelligent replies…

March 23, 2011 @ 5:06 am | Comment

Mr Goldthorpe:

The GLF was certainly the most tragic period in revolutionary China’s history.

But even so I challenge you to deny the following:

Over any chosen four year period before 1949 in China’s entire history, more people died as a proportion of the population, than died during the four year period of the Great Leap Forward.

If you cannot I would suggest you go and revise some of your views on the true record of revolutionary China under Mao.

March 23, 2011 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Wei, I shall. Though I dare say it will not alter my views that the worst scourge of the Chinese people is…the Chinese leaders, whether Emperor, nationalist or Communist. If more people died before the GLF, then it lessens the impact of the Japanese and indeed of the British and other Europeans.

All this has what to do with the topic of tsunamis etc?

March 23, 2011 @ 5:43 am | Comment

@Steve – I was with you up until the Fingleton/Huayuankou ref:

1) The breaching of the Huanghe dykes is justifiable as an act of self-defence, and is not by any stretch of the imagination a “massacre”. If an atrocity was committed, it was the Japanese invasion which necessitated the flood that caused the starvation which lead to so many deaths.

2) Many history books mention this event, including my childhood encyclopedia! Fingleton’s ridiculous assertion that they don’t, and that Chinese history experts in the US do not know of this event, is a reflection of his knowledge of Chinese affairs rather than anything else.

I could go on with the other problems with Fingleton’s writing on this subject, but I’ve already written about it on my own blog:

http://foarp.blogspot.com/2011/02/eamonn-fingleton-just-how-wrong-can.html

March 23, 2011 @ 5:48 am | Comment

Mike, you otherwise seem an intelligent fellow. But you are obviously evading the point here.

You brought up the point that the communists ‘murdered’ more than the Japanese, and imply that the Chinese should hate Mao more than the Japanese.

I have presented some facts (even using the ‘facts’ provided by Mao’s very worst detractors – so indeed even these facts I use are most likely not ‘facts’) to show this is manifestly ridiculous.

And I have also provided links to completely mainstream Western demographic research (Stanford and Harvard research no less), to back up my claims.

In all politeness I would like to see you address them.

If more people died before the GLF, then it lessens the impact of the Japanese and indeed of the British and other Europeans.

By what contortion of logic can you claim this. The imperialists were basically in charge up to 1949 – with extraterritoriality say abolished only in 1943 (for the British) and 1946 (for the French).

The demographic impact of Japanese imperialism would have been huge.

March 23, 2011 @ 5:49 am | Comment

Note that population growth under Mao was three times greater than in the two decades (more or less period corresponding to Japanese aggression) directly preceding the Mao era.

Yet under Mao, all the demographic research shows an overall decline in birth-rate.

So what gives?

Obviously a dramatic lowering of mortality.

Or —a huge demographic impact from murderous foreign imperialism.

March 23, 2011 @ 5:54 am | Comment

Just to drive home my point about the transparent lies of those Mao haters. Here is what Jung Chang says:

death rates in the four years 1958-61 were 1.20 per cent, 1.45 per cent, 4.34 per cent and 2.83 per cent, respectively. The average death rate in the three years immediately before and after the famine was 1.03 per cent–1957: 1.08 per cent, 1962: 1 per cent and 1963: 1 per cent. The death rates over and above this average could only have been caused by starvation and overwork during the famine.
—–
– Jung Chang, MAO: THE UNKNOWN STORY, p. 438.

Average mortality claimed by Jung Chang during GLF is thus (1.2 + 1.45 + 4.34 + 2.38) / 4 = 2.34% death rate (or 23.4 deaths per 1000).

So Jung Chang claims 23.4/1000 deaths during the GLF – which actually is about the mortality rate of India and Indonesia at the same time.

More ridiculous Jung Chang (as does Yang Jisheng and Frank Dikotter) uses a mortality of about 1% (10 deaths per 1000) as ‘normal’. Any deaths above this can only be due to ‘murder’ by Mao.

Funny thing is though. 1% was the death rate of the most advanced Western countries in the world at the time. And mortality was 3.8% only eight years before in 1949.

Something fishy here?

March 23, 2011 @ 6:09 am | Comment

Wei, in typical troll fashion, took one assertion in a thread about a totally different topic and used it to hijack the thread. We’ve rehashed this topic in other threads at great length. Some will say the famine killed 50 million, others 20 million, some idiots will even say 70 million. In this thread, about Chinese feelings for Japan, I see the number as irrelevant. The original reference was in regard to whether the Chinese government, like the Japanese, has something to apologize for, i.e, the carnage of the GLF. The answer, whether the number was 10 million or 50 million, is yes, it does.

I’ve always distrusted Jung Chang’s figures. I trust Yang Jisheng and other reputable journalists/historians who have nothing personal to gain by falsifying the statistics. And the GLF wasn’t only about the number of those starved to death. It’s about a man-made disaster that brought about near-unimaginable suffering, including cannibalism and families murdering their own members in desperation. Much of it was unnecessary, and Mao knew it, but still he pressed ahead with the most ill-conceived sociopolitical experiment of all time.

Between that and the Cultural Revolution, there is no forgiveness for Mao, ever. I don’t pardon mass murderers and nurturers of violence and death.

March 23, 2011 @ 6:31 am | Comment

@Wei
What is your personal feeling about the recent earthquake and tsunami? How do you feel about the plight of the survivors?

March 23, 2011 @ 6:39 am | Comment

@Richard
“Mao, The Untold Story” absolutely drips with bile and anger. I would not use it as a serious history book…

March 23, 2011 @ 6:42 am | Comment

Mike, that’s why I’ve never cited the book once as a resource. Much as I enjoyed Wild Swans, Chang has a monumental chip on her shoulder.

March 23, 2011 @ 6:47 am | Comment

@Wei

I can believe that “Over any chosen four year period before 1949 in China’s entire history, more people died as a proportion of the population, than died during the four year period of the Great Leap Forward.” I mean, I haven’t checked serious studies, but I find it at least plausible.

Still – just because China suffered terribly under the KMT and the Qing, why does that mean we should see Mao in a better light.

After all, I find it equally plausible that fewer people died as a proportion of the US population during 1941-1945 than over any chosen five-year period before then. (I don’t know but I think it could be true.) Would that mean WWII just wasn’t that much of a traumatic event for the US? :) I would disagree…

March 23, 2011 @ 7:19 am | Comment

Thanks, Poet. Well stated.

March 23, 2011 @ 7:23 am | Comment

When It Comes to Japan, I Believe Many Chinese People Are Too Clouded With Emotions

There are many patriotic Chinese who expressed their feelings towards Japan and its crimes against China. Of course, they are immediately criticized by many for being too extreme, too narrow-minded, too nationalistic, etc, etc. Well, I feel there’s been too much emotional talk about Japan, and not enough engineering-mindset talk. In other words, all the discussion has been about “I hate Japan, I want to kill all Japanese!”, etc, etc. I’m not interested in that kind of talk, I have an engineering mindset. In my mind, there’s no such thing as “love” or “hate”, there’s only “how to do this”, “how to do that…”. So, this post wants to discuss China-Japan relations not from an emotional viewpoint, but from a “operational” viewpoint.

There’s a big difference between emotions and operations. If you let your emotions decide your operations, then it is very harmful. And I feel many Chinese are letting their emotions determine their operations regarding Japan. For example, if you are a Chinese Go Player, you are playing a match with a Japanese in an International Tournament. Now, you very much hate Japan for its crimes against China, that is justified, and you will probably be very emotionally hostile to Japan. But for this Go match, you should not be affected by your emotions. Given a situation on the Go board, you should analyze it from a purely technical perspective, and forget about all your hatred of Japan. On this Go board, the only mindset you should have is an engineering mindset about how to win.

Mao Zedong, for example, was never affected by his emotions. He had a famous military saying, “If the enemy advances, we will retreat”. He also said “If we can win, we’ll fight, if we can’t win, we’ll retreat.” This statement is a purely technical statement, and it does not care if you feel “emotionally sad” if you retreat. There’s a famous Chinese military movie called “Nan Zheng Bei Zhan”, in it, there’s a low-level soldier who complained to his commander that “we retreat so often, this does not feel heroic enough, it feels like we are losers”. His commander said, “I also want to wake up tomorrow and wipe our all the KMT’s forces, but that is unrealistic”. This is a great refllection of the emotionless and purely engineering-mindset thinking.

Now let’s go back to Japan. If there are two people, one is a soldier in the PLA, and like all Chinese, he hates Japan very much, but instead of shouting anti-Japanese slogans and writing fantasy anti-Japan stories online, he remains quiet and simply trains very hard everyday, doing pushups, standups, running, shooting, hand-combat, explosives, swimming, kidnapping, arson, beheading, etc etc. These training is very boring, very dry, and does not sound very “exciting” and “sensational”. But it substantially contributes to the combat abilities of the PLA. When every soldier contributes his part to the PLA, the PLA’s strength will increase everyday, and it will slowly form a threat to the Japanese army. This, I believe, is the “engineering mindset” style of operations. Now, there’s another humanities major who also hates Japan very much, but he rents a boat, and sails to Japan, and starts shouting anti-Japanese slogans on the streets of Tokyo, before finally being arrested by the Japanese police, and sent home. Now, when he gets home, the media, which loves these sensational and humanity-major style “stories”, will celebrate him as a hero, and he’ll get on TV and become popular. But is he a real hero? No. From an engineering-mindset, that silent soldier is a real hero with regard to dealing with the Japanese, that humanity-major is simply wasting time.

So who are the real anti-Japanese heroes? They are the engineers who are researching ways to build a better TV than Sony, a better car than Toyota, a better missile than the Japanese Navy. They are mathematicians who can develop more in-depth theories than their Japanese counter-parts. Instead of smashing Toyota cars on the street, they are trying to make a better quality Chinese car that can outsell Toyotas. Those are the real anti-Japanese heroes, not the ones who shout loudly and throw eggs on Japanese embassies.

Humanity majors are like children. Why are they like children? They let emotions determine their operations. Why do children fight each other so much? Simply because children let their emotoins determine their operations. But as people grow older, they know that to let real calcuations and engineering-mindset determine their operations.

Therefore, I agree that those emotional anti-Japanese rant and protests are too extreme, too childish, and too humanity-major like.

Fortunately Hu Jintao and his advisors do have an engineering-mindset. They hate Japan as much as we do, yet they are not ordering nuclear strikes on Tokyo, or marching onto the street and shouting like children. They recently even met with the new Japanese prime minister, and even strategically called for China-Japan friendship. They are very mature, they know how to operate based on calcuations instead of emotions.

March 23, 2011 @ 7:27 am | Comment

“I’ve always distrusted Jung Chang’s figures. I trust Yang Jisheng and other reputable journalists/historians who have nothing personal to gain by falsifying the statistics.”

Yang Jisheng does have a chip on his shoulder. His step-father died in the GLF (as did my mother-in-law).

Both Frank Dikotter, and Yang Jisheng carry out their calculations in a way very similar to Jung Chang. I refer to the link (in Chinese) which I provided above. The calculations are presnted in detail. Common to all these calculations is the assumption of a ridiculously low mortality rate (1%)in order to max out excess death calculations.

But all calculations show, just as importantly, that mortality in China, even during the GLF was more or less at around that of India’s and Indonesia’s of the time ie. typical for developing countries of the time.

But then so what? Three of my aunties died in the early 1940s. Does not mean I blame Chiang Kaishek for it – although Japanese imperialism no doubt had an indirect effect.

All Chinese have suffered terribly over the past century and a half.

But only in 1949 did their suffering start to be alleviated, and things started trending for the better (except for a reversal during the GLF).

March 23, 2011 @ 7:40 am | Comment

“What is your personal feeling about the recent earthquake and tsunami? How do you feel about the plight of the survivors?”

Of course it is enormous sympathy —the most poignant image of when a Japanese woman finds her 18 year old daughter dead in a car (as I have a daughter of similar age).

Personally have nothing against the Japanese people (nor the American or British people). I have issues with the Japanese claims on Chinese territory, certainly, and an unwillingness to face up to their atrocities of the past (because unlike the Germans they were not forced to…no event similar to de-nazification in Germany was forced upon the Japanese —-perhaps because their victims were in the main Asian?).

Note that the China in the past has even supported Japan’s claims in respect of the Kurils (vs Soviet Union), and many Japanese war orphans in North East China were adopted and raised by ordinary Chinese families (whereas the Japanese bayoneted Chinese children).

This shows that by and large the Chinese people are a just-minded and fair people.

March 23, 2011 @ 7:47 am | Comment

I was wondering when Math would get into the act. A little late this time, don’t you think, Mr. Engineer?

Wei, you can say that every Chinese person has a potential chip on their shoulder about Mao. Every one. Everyone’s family was affected in some way by Mao’s policies such as collectivization, the famine, the CR and other delightful contributions to China’s decades of misery.

March 23, 2011 @ 8:09 am | Comment

I would not celebrate this Japanese earthquake, because my basic humanity demands that I do not (unless the Japanese soldiers who particpated in beheading contests while occuping Nanjing, with the winners featured photos in newspapers back home).

As for sympathy? No thanks. Sympathy for your enemy is cruelty to your friends. I definitely do not to be cruel to my friends.

My attitude towards this earthquake is similar to my attitude if a few fruit flies died. Will I celebrate no? Death is sad no matter what.

March 23, 2011 @ 8:10 am | Comment

“whereas the Japanese bayoneted Chinese children”
Do you know this? Did you see this with your own eyes? Or is this something you were told (with pictures included)?
“many Japanese war orphans in North East China were adopted and raised by ordinary Chinese families”
Same comments as before apply. You say many were adopted…this implies not all were. What happened to those not adopted?

Read your comment, look at your language. Some Japanese kids were adopted, so all Chinese good. Japanese (no distinction as to whether these were soldiers, civilians, men or women) bayonetted all Chinese children, so all Japanese bad. While you have no personal animosity against the Japanese, there is some historical animosity still within you, ignited by events that finished before you were born and fueled by what you were told (same happens everywhere – I know, I am European of English and Austrian ancestry..). The trick is to overcome it, like France and Germany did in the 50s to form what is now the EU otherwise it can threaten to bubble over as seen in the Balkans, in Rwanda and other places.

As to territorial demands, what makes a speck of dirt belong to a country? Is China today the same as the original China, the China of Qin? If China accepts some territory as Japanese as opposed to belonging to someone else, why not the teritory China claims? Historical documents, you will say. Funnily enough, there’s historical documents showing the globe splashed with bits of pink everywhere…but who is calling for the restoration of the British Empire? Historical documents are just that, a snapshot of history, not a claim to territory.

March 23, 2011 @ 8:36 am | Comment

“Sympathy for your enemy….”
Last time I looked, Japan and China were trading partners, not enemies. Mehtinks you’re about 70 years out of date…

March 23, 2011 @ 8:37 am | Comment

Last time I looked, Japan and China were trading partners, not enemies. Mehtinks you’re about 70 years out of date…

So were Germany and France in 1938.

March 23, 2011 @ 8:45 am | Comment

My attitude towards this earthquake is similar to my attitude if a few fruit flies died.

Hong Xing never fails to disappoint – always the same hateful bigot spewing bile and abandoning even the pretense of human decency. Which isn’t to say we don’t all love you…

March 23, 2011 @ 8:45 am | Comment

“Wei, you can say that every Chinese person has a potential chip on their shoulder about Mao. Every one. Everyone’s family was affected in some way by Mao’s policies such as collectivization, the famine, the CR and other delightful contributions to China’s decades of misery.”

As with all revolutions, there were excesses. But all in all China’s revolution, as a proportion of its population was no more bloody than that of the French, China’s post 1949 development far less bloody than the development of the United States, and the victims of Western imperialism.

And Western imperialism still murders right up to today.

To say the Mao years were decades of misery is a ridiculous overstatement.

Many many Chinese are alive today because of Mao’s policies. And many many Indians, Indonesians, and indeed people of developing countries died because they did not have a socialist revolution.

Vastly more people benefitted from Maoism than suffered.

The accounting shows a net gain in lives under Mao, vastly outstripping the performance of comparable developing countries of his time in power. The benefits of Maoist policies flow through to today, according to this recent and authoritative Harvard study:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/review/rvw_summerfall06/rvwsf06_bloom.html

March 23, 2011 @ 9:04 am | Comment

“Many many Chinese are alive today because of Mao’s policies. And many many Indians, Indonesians, and indeed people of developing countries died because they did not have a socialist revolution.”
And how many Chinese today are not alive due to Mao’s policies? And many, many Indians and Indonesians are alive today becasue they did not have a socialist policy.

Sorry, pure conjecture on your part. A veritable tsunami of ill coceived and poorly ill thought “logic”.

“Vastly more people benefitted from Maoism than suffered.”
How do you know? Really? How?

“To say the Mao years were decades of misery is a ridiculous overstatement.”
Many East Europeans still pine for the old days. Of course, not many would willingly return, given the choice…

How many Chinese would like to return to the 60s? Blue suits, little red books et al? Would you like to go back? Certainly not of my in laws want to go back to those days, idyllic as they are when seen through rose tinted glasses. I can also not see any of the students in the campus here living like that. Hell, getting them to give up their sports cars and LV bags would be a mission and a half…

“And Western imperialism still murders right up to today.”
No shit, Sherlock. Guess what, Chinese socialism murders right up to today too. Everyone still murders right up to today. And tomorrow, you’ll never guess…they’ll still be murdering. What does that all have to do with the price of fish?

March 23, 2011 @ 9:18 am | Comment

How many Chinese would like to return to the 60s? Blue suits, little red books et al? Would you like to go back?

Ridiculous statement. The comparison is not today with the 60s but the 60s with the 30s.

Were Chinese in the 60s better off than Chinese in the 30s. Yes. Almost in every way imaginable.

That Chinese are so better off now is due in no small part to the foundations laid by Maoist policies.

And how many Chinese today are not alive due to Mao’s policies? And many, many Indians and Indonesians are alive today becasue they did not have a socialist policy.

I refer you to Amartya Sen’s (Noble prize winning economist) work —India on average has had about 4 million excess deaths over China every year since 1949. Indian ‘democracy’ killed about 100 million more than Chinese socialism (refer Chomsky – google it).

Even today, India’s life expectancy is still lower than what it was in 1976, the year of Mao’s death. That means enormous numbers of lives saved by Mao relative to ‘democracy’ in the most directly comparable country with China.

March 23, 2011 @ 9:36 am | Comment

No shit, Sherlock. Guess what, Chinese socialism murders right up to today too.

Like a few thousand executions a year – of criminals.

Compared to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions killed by US imperialism alone these past two decades.

China’s record against the US is like comparing Mother Teresa to Adolf Hitler respectively.

March 23, 2011 @ 9:40 am | Comment

The trick is to overcome it, like France and Germany ….

Do you think things would have been ‘overcome’ if Germany had not admitted to its sins and thoroughly denazified? Of course not.

Forgiveness can only come after the wrongdoer has fully admitted his crimes (even if there is no punishment).

In Europe they put anyone who even questions the full extent of the Holocaust in prison.

Yet in Japan the Mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, today is a denier of the Nanjing massacre, the equivalent of a David Irving or a Jorg Haider.

In Japan he is popular and fully accepted as a mainstream politician.

So you see, the Chinese are really no more sensitive than Europeans would be under the same set of circumstances.

March 23, 2011 @ 9:48 am | Comment

Haha, yes the famous Tokyo Govenor.

In 1990, Ishihara said in a Playboy interview that the Rape of Nanking was a fiction, claiming, “People say that the Japanese made a holocaust but that is not true. It is a story made up by the Chinese. It has tarnished the image of Japan, but it is a lie.”[23] He continued to defend this statement in the uproar that ensued.[24] He has also backed the film The Truth about Nanjing, which argues that the Nanking Massacre was propaganda.

Tell me, is it unimaginable for a Western politician to openly deny the Holocaust and go on to hold major office?

March 23, 2011 @ 10:10 am | Comment

So sad to read these comments. China is screwed if what you say are indicative of mainstream Chinese thought….

March 23, 2011 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Ridiculous, laughable, absurd, from Mr Goldthorpe. In his own words “A veritable tsunami of ill coceived and poorly ill thought “logic””:

“Do you know this? Did you see this with your own eyes? Or is this something you were told (with pictures included)?”

No. Actually I did not. Was born way after the events. Using your standard of historical proof I suppose the Battle of Stalingrad never took place, William the Conqueror did not invade in 1066, and Julius Ceasar never existed…right???????

March 23, 2011 @ 11:00 am | Comment

China is screwed…..

All considered China is doing quite well. We are in fact 80 times the per capita GDP of 1949. So that is substantial progress.

And it is only because China is doing OK that people like Mr Goldthorpe are so exercised over her rise.

March 23, 2011 @ 11:02 am | Comment

@ Wei
Sorry, all I could hear was a Chinese Horst Wessel Lied…
So, in comment 44, you are trying to tell me China today is at the same stage Germany was in 1933?

“No. Actually I did not. Was born way after the events. Using your standard of historical proof I suppose the Battle of Stalingrad never took place, William the Conqueror did not invade in 1066, and Julius Ceasar never existed…right???????”
No…but you can’t make positive assumptions about the events. Regarding 1066, we are told Harold Godwineson was killed by an arrow to his eye (“Hic Harald interfectus est” lies right above the picture, you see) – but we don’t know for sure that is indeed the case. You stated that the Japanese bayonetted Chinese children…implying all Japanese killed all Chinese children. They may have done…or they may not have done. You don’t know – you were not there.

However, you are too stupid to make any distinction. You just write what you are told like a good little boy :-D

March 23, 2011 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

Math: Thanks for your well-written and interesting piece. I read what you write with great interest and agree that we should all be unemotional. I’m an engineer myself. 88

March 23, 2011 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

Does this site attract both extremes or what?

I gathered from my time in Japan that the Japanese are just normal people. Childish, shy, and insular people, but not evil like so many stereotypes portray. I can say with 100% certainty they treated me nicer than other Chinese treat me in China. Rage if you must. Yeah they’ve got nationalists, but it’s not really the grassroots nationalism we see in China, more like nutty fringe. In general I wasn’t feeling the “Japan-is-our-worst-enemy” vibe. In fact, the time is ripe for ASIAN UNITY. Seriously, the world is falling into factions and it’s no time for regional conflicts. Just picture it, an East Asian sphere a la EU. Unstoppable. Glorious.

March 23, 2011 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

@Wukailong – You’re not saying that you actually agree with Maths* are you? The basic subtext of his piece is “prepare to beat Japan”. As for me, I am a physicist, and see my self as being above all such nonsense.

*I insist on using the British spelling

March 23, 2011 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

Man, if I didn’t read math and red star, I wouldn’t have realized that Japanese people are still the enemies of china. Here I was thinking that that was 70 year old news. Learn something new every day. But some things never change. Not only must china win, but somebody has to lose. Depending on the topic, sometimes that somebody is the US. Other times, it might be japan. And there’s never a bad time for that point of view, not even 10 days after the largest earthquake in Japanese history.

To Wei:
the only way to know how many people died during glf would be if someone kept track of it at the time. Nobody did with any accuracy, and that’s Mao’s fault, since he was the guy in charge, and the buck stops with him.

I agree that any of the calculations you listed were fraught with methodological and other biases. To infer excess deaths based on differences in observed mortality rates in comparison to some norm value based on some other country is not rigorous. At this point, it is difficult to know how many people died that would not have otherwise.

However, by saying that the glf rate was similar to India at that time would seem to suggest that the glf caused no excess deaths. I don’t think too many people would go for that either. If you try to determine excess deaths using mortality rates alone, the variable you would need is the mortality rate had the glf NOT occurred, all else being equal. Obviously, a question with no answer.

March 23, 2011 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

To foarp:
I am pretty sure WKL is just being sarcastic. I think the “88″ would be the giveaway.

March 23, 2011 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

To foarp:
I am pretty sure WKL is just being sarcastic. I think the “88″ would be the giveaway.

March 23, 2011 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

I think wei should migrate to Bangladesh. A paradise according to him.

March 23, 2011 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

To Cheung:
Talking about Mao,now he has to share that square with the one he tried to eradicate completely:
http://shanghaiist.com/2011/01/13/confucius-tiananmen-square.php
Things will change.

March 23, 2011 @ 5:44 pm | Comment

“However, by saying that the glf rate was similar to India at that time would seem to suggest that the glf caused no excess deaths. I don’t think too many people would go for that either.”

I’m not saying that. I’m using the figures adopted by, or implied by, Jung Chang, Yang Jisheng, and Frank Dikotter.

They simply don’t know how stupid they make themselves look.

A very interesting paper On Measuring “Famine” Deaths : Different Criteria for Socialism and Capitalism? by Utsa Patnaik
http://indowindow.com/akhbar/article.php?article=74&category=8&issue=9

Patnaik points out the following: “….because China in the single preceding decade of building socialism, had reduced its death rate at a much faster rate (from 29 to 12 comparing 1949 and 1958) than India had, this sharp rise to 25.4 in 1960 in China still meant that this “famine” death rate was virtually the same as the prevalent death rate in India which was 24.6 per thousand in 1960, only 0.8 lower. This latter rate being considered quite “normal” for India, has not attracted the slightest criticism. Further, in both the preceding and the succeeding year India’s crude death rate was 8 to 10 per thousand higher than in China.”

March 23, 2011 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

An excellent analysis of how GLF deaths are blown out to ridiculous proportions by anti-communist hacks like Chang and Dikotter and Rummel is provided by an Amazon reviewer:

http://www.amazon.com/Chinas-Bloody-Century-Genocide-Murder/dp/088738417X

After reading this, anyone who will confidently bandy around death tolls of 30 or 45 million etc for the GLF, just looks like a friggin idiot – a completely innumerate fool.

March 23, 2011 @ 6:56 pm | Comment

@wei
1 Review. With only a star

A prime example of how data is mishandled in this book can be found when the author goes off on page 248 by first telling us that 9.5 million had died in the famine of 1877-8 and then contrasting this with a range of estimates which he quotes from various people about the famine of 1960. He then settles on concluding that 27 million is the best estimate for this. Going on he mentions briefly the issue of natural disaster and claims that a similar type of disaster “might have caused a million or so deaths had it occurred in the 1930s.” Pfft! Very dishonest, I must say.

First of all, as a small detail, the Chinese famine of 1936 is usually ascribed a death toll of 5 million, not just million. But let’s not quibble too much over that. Let’s allow that Rummel have included this with the phrase “or so.” What is really absurd, and becomes clear to anyone who takes the time to actually go over what exists as demographic data, is that all of the attempts to ascribe a death toll in the tens of millions to the 1960 events rest upon assuming a normal mortality standard which is far below anything which had existed in pre-revolutionary China, or even pre-revolutionary Russia.

Czarist Russia is a good point for comparison here simply because we have more complete data on it than we do on pre-revolutionary China. All of the reports about China, coming from sources which are in no way connected to the Chinese Communist Party and in fact assembled their data before the CCP had become a notable political presence, agree that China had been a land of perpetual famine. See the 1926 publication of the American Geographical Society by Walter Mallory, CHINA: LAND OF FAMINE, for more on this. But since there is no broad statistical information gathered together, it helps to consult data on Czarist Russia while remaining aware that actual mortality rates in pre-revolutionary China were certainly much higher than what occurred in Russia. Death rates among the population of those provinces in Czarist Russia that remained within the USSR after 1917 are given by Frank Lorimer, THE POPULATION OF THE SOVIET UNION.

Year__________Deaths per thousand among the population
1899__________33.4
1900__________32.3
1901__________33.6
1902__________33.1
1903__________31.1
1904__________31.1
1905__________33.2
1906__________31.6
1907__________30.2
1908__________30.2
1909__________31.6
1910__________33.3
1911__________29.2
1912__________28.7
1913__________30.9

You can find some books which give the number 30.2 for the year 1913 instead of Lorimer’s 30.9. That has to do with the 11 other provinces of Czarist Russia which broke away from the USSR in 1917. Either way, we can safely assume that mortality rates in China during the early 20th century were significantly higher under even the most normal conditions than any of these numbers which hold for Czarist Russia. China was widely regarded by western observers of that time as the land of perpetual famine. It is against the background of these types of very high ordinary mortality rates that one must consider something like the evaluation of the 1936 famine which assigns it 5 million victims. That estimate of 5 million is made against a backward which assumes higher death rates from the onset as normal.

But when one starts going through the literature to seek information about the demographics of China in the late ’50s and early ’60s, it becomes apparent that every author has assumed mortality rates which are far below what would have been the norm in pre-revolutionary China. They then proceed to count every death above this much lower assumed normal mortality rate as a famine death to be blamed on Mao. This is exactly what one must aware of when reading on page 248 that “according to the demographer John Aird, an unpublished U.S. Bureau of the Census study, and other informed estimates, during the late 1950s and early 1960s in communist China possibly as many as 40,000,000 died by starvation.” Since his references don’t give us access to any general demographic constructions it’s pointless to try to make too much of this. But I can most certainly assure anyone that any estimates of a famine death toll in these years which approach 20 million are made by assuming a standard of mortality which is far lower than the pre-revolutionary deaths rates.

The closest thing to an authoritative published demographic study of China since the revolution is Judith Banister’s CHINA’S CHANGING POPULATION. Banister’s given numbers are as follows:

Year__________Deaths per thousand among the population
1949__________38
1950__________35
1951__________32
1952__________29
1953__________25.77
1954__________24.20
1955__________22.33
1956__________20.11
1957__________18.12
1958__________20.65
1959__________22.06
1960__________44.60
1961__________23.01
1962__________14.02
1963__________13.81

Data like this makes it clear just how completely meaningless and deceptive Rummel’s comments, where he tosses around numbers like 27-40 million and yet maintains that only about 1 million would have died in a similar famine in the 1930s, really are. Even some of Rummel’s fellow hucksters, when presses for actual data, end up giving numbers as estimates for a standard of mortality which are obviously far too low. Jung Chang, MAO: THE UNKNOWN STORY, claims that the mortality rate of 1957 in China was 10.8 per thousand. Jean-Louis Margolin in THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM gives a similar number with a misprint where he says “11 percent” for what was clearly meant to be “11 per thousand.” Banister’s estimate of 18.12 per thousand as the death rate of China in 1957 is more realistic and probably closer to the truth. But the thing to get here is that all of these numbers given as estimates for the death rate of 1957 in China are much lower than anything which was ever attained in Czarist Russia, as the statistics given above from Lorimer show. They are certainly far, far lower than anything which had ever existed in pre-revolutionary China. That is why it is not all honest to attempt to compute famine death tolls for 1960 using the lower mortality rate of 1957 and then compare them to something like the 5 million death toll usually estimated for the 1936 famine. You’re comparing apples to oranges when you do that.

If one actually sits down with a calculator and goes over Banister’s population estimates for China on a year-by-year basis, and combines this with the estimates of death rates for each year, Banister’s numbers suggest that about 25.4 million people died in the years 1958-61 that would not have died had the death rate remained at the level which Banister assigns to 1957. At the same time, Banister’s numbers tell us that the death rates in China for the years 1958-9 and 1961 were significantly better than what was the norm in Czarist Russia. They were certainly better than anything which had existed in the old China. The only year here which stands out by the standards of Czarist Russia is 1960, to which Banister assigns a death rate of 44.6 per thousand. If compared with the number of 38 which Banister assigns to 1949, that implies a death toll of 4.35 million. This suggests that the famine of 1960 was actually not all that unusual by the standards of the old China. What was unusual after 1949 was that China ceased to be the “land of famine” which it had been known as.

To repeat the essential point then, Rummel’s attempts to draw comparisons between wild estimates for the 1960 famine, reaching as high as 40 million, and his claim that “a million or so” might have died “had it occurred in the 1930s” is not based upon an honestly drawn standard of comparison. It has been deliberately skewed for ideological reasons. If we agreed to count every death which happened in 1936 beyond the level of 18.12 per thousand as a famine death then the usual estimate of 5 million would skyrocket. This could be done with many other famines which regularly occurred in China although not as bad as the 1936 famine. But Rummel skewed the data so that the uninformed reader will not realize this.

March 23, 2011 @ 7:30 pm | Comment

@wei

1) anti-communist hacks
2) bandy around
3) just looks like a friggin idiot
4) a completely innumerate fool

Four ad hominem in one post.

If someone used such arguments in our engineering meetings here he/she would be kicked out in no time.

But it may just be our latin temper…

March 23, 2011 @ 8:24 pm | Comment

@FOARP #67,

Nah, I wasn’t endorsing Fingleton’s or anyone else’s particular take on that disaster, (just wanted to avoid using Wiki) but I couldn’t disagree with you more on your viewpoint. The Chinese who initially died from drowning and then others who died of starvation might differ with you if they were still alive. With any wartime strategy, there are consequences that result in the deaths of civilians but never on this scale. To say that it was a “whoops” moment (to the tune of between 500K and 900K Chinese deaths) is nonsense. Jiang’s history showed that he didn’t really care that much about casualties, he cared about getting and maintaining power so in that respect he was no different from Mao.

Are you trying to say that he had no civil engineers to tell him the probable results of his action? The history of Jiang in WWII was to avoid fighting the Japanese, thus resulting in the loss of respect and legitimacy from his own people and the alienation of the Allied commander in the theater. His wife was no better.To assume that Jiang had no idea of what would result from his act is simply naive and I’m surprised you’d even consider the thought. I’m not going to get into a long, drawn out argument here but I did write my senior political thesis on this particular era, so I’ve researched it far more than anyone else I know. I just don’t buy your argument, which is unusual because I usually agree with you when it comes to historical detail. And as for knowing about this event, I’ve never yet met a Chinese person that would bring up anything other than the Nanjing massacre when talking about a one day disaster in this era. When I mention this I usually get a bunch of blank stares. The only reason I ever bring it up is when I get the “we must keep the memory of the Nanjing massacre alive because no one knows about it” when everyone I’ve ever met knows all about it. It’s as well known as the Holocaust, for God’s sake. This particular act and the lives lost because of it is not. Maybe you learned about it in school, but you’re part of a very small minority, at least in my experience.

When Jiang got to Taiwan, nothing changed. Yeah, we all know about 228 but there was plenty more where that came from that never made the papers. I know this because of family history, since my father in law was taken in and questioned several times (not pleasant but fortunately not disastrous either) for promoting basic human rights and the eventual move towards democracy. When my brother in law was an independent senator before the time of multi-party elections, Lee Teng-hui tried to recruit him into the KMT. He turned him down, having known of too many atrocities committed by that party on various Taiwanese that were swept under the rug. If you expect me to believe your sources over my personal family members, sorry, I can’t go there. In this case we’ll have to agree to disagree. My opinion of Jiang was and is, entirely negative. The trail he left is simply too long to ignore or explain away.

BTW, when you lived in Taiwan did you ever get a chance to hike the Caoling Historic Trail? I did a combination of that and the Taoyuan Valley trail starting from Daxi (the one north of Ilan) and ending up in Fulong a couple of weeks ago. It was spectacular! If you ever get the opportunity to do it, I heartily recommend you give it a try. Being winter, the best part was that I had it entirely to myself.

And once again, my favorite meal was in Miaoli. You can’t beat good Hakka food!

March 23, 2011 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

Xian, above (and please see his comment, #97):

Does this site attract both extremes or what?

Yes. Always has, for better or worse.

March 23, 2011 @ 11:41 pm | Comment

I missed that one.

To get such posts compensate for a million trolls and 50-centers

A pity there no way to automatically highlight them. (must give some thought, maybe some pattern matching…)

Like the Asian union idea. The straits China versus Japan versus Taiwan(ROC) versus Vietnam versus India versus… whatever, it just play to the benefit of others.

There was a time where a fight for a just an inch of land or other minor differences created a real mesh in Europe. Took time but we learned in the end… the hard way.

March 24, 2011 @ 12:12 am | Comment

His comment got stuck in the moderation line so it posted way up above.

March 24, 2011 @ 12:21 am | Comment

@Steve – I’m not at all in love with the KMT and am not under the impression that they were perfect, or even by-and-large on the right track. It’s just that I cannot blame people for being willing to sustain civilian casualties in return for inflicting harm on an aggressor, however haplessly.

No-one blames the Russians for those who starved to death during the siege of Leningrad. No-one blames the Yugoslavs for the civilians killed in reprisals for partisan attacks. No-one blames the British for not evacuating Coventry even though they knew the Germans were going to bomb it. The blame lies with the aggressor, but as you point out, there are plenty of other reasons to be down on CKS, his sons and family, and supporters.

History eh? You can’t escape it, I was reminded of this again last friday listening to the Irish Rugby fans sing:

“low lie,
the fields
of Athenry . . .”

A song I’d only previously known as a song sung by Liverpool fans, with different lyrics.

PS – Your Bro-in-law was Dangwai? Awesome.

March 24, 2011 @ 4:32 am | Comment

PPS – Haven’t been back to Taiwan since spending a couple of months there back in 2009, miss it lots, often speak to my friends there, and hope to return one day. Haven’t walked the Caoling trail but certainly plan to give it a try.

PPPS – Miaoli still rocks. I recently spoke to a friend of mine who lives there about a mutual friend of our there who died recently (Kenny Xie/Sheh, he was the barman at Scorpio, and latter at Mexico bar) and spent hours lost in reverie about the times we had spent there.

March 24, 2011 @ 4:45 am | Comment

Your Bro-in-law was Dangwai?

Funny how so many of the white fellows (I assume white) have Asian wives or gf.

What’s up – can’t you get a girlfriend from your own race?

March 24, 2011 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Wei, you’re new here so I’m going to be nice – for the moment. But that last comment kind of tells me you’re a troll. Maybe Mongol Warrior?

Be careful.

March 24, 2011 @ 9:11 am | Comment

“your own race?”

Race? Who uses that outmoded 19th century expression nowadays? Last people to take that seriously were Nazis….oh, wait…

;-)

March 24, 2011 @ 9:16 am | Comment

Xian, comment 97
Nice one, bro!
I’m waiting for all humanity to think of ourselves as one. A bit of rivalry (like footbal or rugby)to get people to try harder but everyone working to a common goal – no more enemies anymore.

Then the fuckwits burst my bubble…oh well :-)

March 24, 2011 @ 9:28 am | Comment

To Wei #104,
“….because China in the single preceding decade of building socialism, had reduced its death rate at a much faster rate (from 29 to 12 comparing 1949 and 1958) than India had, this sharp rise to 25.4 in 1960 in China still meant that this “famine” death rate was virtually the same as the prevalent death rate in India which was 24.6 per thousand in 1960,…”
—once again, the comparison to India represents a completely different issue. If the china mortality rate went from 12 to 24.6 per thousand, then 12.6 per thousand multiplied by china’s population at that time might represent excess glf deaths, however many millions that calculation would represent. This would assume that the china mortality rate would have stayed at 12 per thousand had there not been a glf. Of course, we could never know that for sure. But that likely underestimates glf deaths, since mortality rates were decreasing and may have continued to decrease had there NOT been a glf, rather than dramatically increaae as they did.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:06 am | Comment

I’m waiting for all humanity to think of ourselves as one.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:09 am | Comment

I’m waiting for all humanity to think of ourselves as one.

That will never happen so long as Westerners continue to foist their ways on others, to use violence to control the world’s resources, and steal the stuff of non-white people.

That will never happen as long as the likes of Mr Goldthorpe earn about 50 times more than the average Chinese, and who wishes to perpetrate the same system that maintains this disparity.

That will never happen when coloured folk have to put up with fat white geezers having sex with their women (and even children), and just having to put up with it.

The world is still geared for the happiness of people like Mr Goldthorpe. Until there is a more or less even playing field you can forget about the ‘world as one’.

That is just a device for white people to maintain their privileged position in the world.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:12 am | Comment

Wei, I’m going to ask you to end the personal swipes. Actually, not asking you; telling you.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:19 am | Comment

If the china mortality rate went from 12 to 24.6 per thousand, then 12.6 per thousand multiplied by china’s population at that time might represent excess glf deaths, however many millions that calculation would represent. This would assume that the china mortality rate would have stayed at 12 per thousand had there not been a glf.

But then also, if the normal mortality was actually 12 per thousand then that was a stupendous achievment to get the mortality down to that level in the first 8 years of communist rule for a developing country. So you then have to credit tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of lives saved by socialism before the GLF, and then after the GLF.

The point is this. If you assume a low death rate to max out GLF excess deaths, then Mao gets credit for having most of the time during his rule, a very low mortality compared to third world countries. On the other hand assume a higher ‘normal’ death rate, and your GLF deaths are small, perhaps even eliminated.

Can’t have it both ways.

The real trend of course,regardless of what way you look at it, (independent of the actual absolute numbers) is socialism made great strides forcing down mortality, improving living standards, improving life expectancy.

They slipped up certainly during the GLF, but even that slip up was nowhere near as bad as before socialism, and not that much worse than conditions typical of other developing nations of the time.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:19 am | Comment

post#20: “perpetrate” should be “perpetuate.”

March 24, 2011 @ 11:22 am | Comment

“Slipped up”? as in, “Oops”? We’re talking about one of the most deranged and lethal social experiments in the entire history of mankind, right up there with Stalin’s collectivization and forced starvations of the kulaks and Ukrainians. Right up there with Pol Pot’s grotesque vision of weeding out intellectuals and class enemies. Right up there with the formation of a well-known fascist state in 1933. Right up there with Kim Jong Il’s utopian paradise. Your attempts to sanitize and whitewash an indisputable aberration that led to incalculable death and misery are amusing for their contorted logic and willful denial, and pathetic for their simplisticness and deceit.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:25 am | Comment

We’re talking about one of the most deranged and lethal social experiments in the entire history of mankind

Nowhere as lethal (proportionally speaking) as the trans-atlantic slave trade, the near extermination of the Native Americans and Australian Aborigines.

China’s population (including Tibetans and Uighurs) went up dramatically under Mao.

Coloured populations tend to dramatically decline – like to about 5 to 10% of their former numbers under Western ‘democracy’.

And then of course there is the Indian ‘democracy’ which has on average killed 4 million more people per year (more if we take into account population size differences) relative to China (according to Amartya Sen), and over the decades have seen about 100 to 150 million more people die than would likely have been the case had they adopted a true socialist revolution along the lines of China (Chomsky).

And in any case the worst mortality figures put out by Chang, Dikotter, Yang, are barely more than those typical of developing capitalist countries of the time. YOUR numbers. Not mine.

So it is simply nonsense to state the GLF was one of the most lethal social experiments in the entire history of mankind.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:35 am | Comment

Or Richard – do you have access to mortality figures which prove my central assumptiosn wrong?

March 24, 2011 @ 11:36 am | Comment

Wei, I’m not getting sucked into the game you’re playing. I’ve written about this topic many times and provided figures. You’ve already derailed this thread. And now, of course, you offer the lamest argument of all, that America did worse. Always the fenqing default argument.

You completely showed your hand up above with this remark: Funny how so many of the white fellows (I assume white) have Asian wives or gf.

What’s up – can’t you get a girlfriend from your own race?

You are just another troll.

March 24, 2011 @ 11:45 am | Comment

“The point is this. If you assume a low death rate to max out GLF excess deaths, then Mao gets credit for having most of the time during his rule, a very low mortality compared to third world countries. On the other hand assume a higher ‘normal’ death rate, and your GLF deaths are small, perhaps even eliminated.”
—agreed. In fact, the estimates of high glf deaths have always done this, because by assuming a lower than perhaps believable ” normal” mortality rate, they have stipulated that it must have dropped substantially during Mao years. So that catch 22 is nothing new. Likewise, by you arguing that glf caused fewer excess deaths, you have had to minimize Mao’s credit. So no you can’t have it both ways, but that also cuts both ways.

But here is the kicker. So Mao reduced mortality rates in the early years for the benefit of Chinese people. That’s nice. But isn’t that what he was supposed to do? Wasn’t he supposed to try to make things better for Chinese people, as their leader?

On the other hand, as the leader of Chinese people, was he supposed to kill millions of Chinese people who otherwise didn’t need to die? I’ll leave you to contemplate that one.

March 24, 2011 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

Wei’s last few comments won’t be published. I am almost certain he is Mongol Warrior, so please don’t get suckered into his narrative.

March 24, 2011 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

@Richard – I’d be willing to bet cold, hard, cash that Wei is Mongol Warrior AKA Wayne Lo AKA a million other monikers. For some reason “Wayne” particularly loves to troll this forum, send death threats to China bloggers, and otherwise behave like a fascist dick-wipe. In truth he’s probably just another American who probably still lives with his Mum, and we are the closest thing he has to friends. The crazy defence of the GLF through random stats is pretty familiar as well – who was the last person to do that?

March 24, 2011 @ 2:11 pm | Comment

Agreed. You should see some of the comments that I deleted. This is one angry (or lonely) dude.

March 24, 2011 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

Come on Guys. You’re being a bit hard on MW. We all know that the PRC’s health service doesn’t cater for the mentally ill, so their families keep them locked up in the pig/chook pen. Show some empathy here. MW must have done another jail break, and this was an attention seeking cry for help.

All the same, he reminds me of Charlie Manson, another unreconstructed social virus.

March 24, 2011 @ 2:38 pm | Comment

Looking through all comments in all media, I wonder if it is just a handful of guys trolling the fora. I have heard of people dying after marathon sessions on the computer – though the official explanation is that they are game playing, I wonder if the real reason is death by internal contradictions.
I wonder what these guys are really like – I work with a heap of Chinese nationals, as well as recent immigrants from China, and they are all…normal. Really normal, like you and me normal. You can argue with them and they don’t get screwed up. Sometimes they even agree or come with a coherent argument to change your mind.
I guess 50 cents don’t get much these days, mind….

March 25, 2011 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Maybe we can talk about Libya for a little bit?

March 25, 2011 @ 7:32 am | Comment

I hear Libya has great Roman remains :-)

March 25, 2011 @ 8:19 am | Comment

And couscous!

March 25, 2011 @ 2:09 pm | Comment

It’s very sandy

March 25, 2011 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Okay, how about this:

“The military intervention in Libya is just one more hypocritical, hegemonic plot by America and its running dogs to take over the Middle East. It’s all about oil!”

May I have my fifty cents, please.

March 25, 2011 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

Do you accept 50cents Portuguese bonds?

March 25, 2011 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

Sorry, nobody in Asia or Oceania is that desperate. Look, I’ll take a couple of Fado cds and forget the difference, deal?

March 25, 2011 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

Diplomacy out the window. Shanghai Scrap is a crap site and the overlord is a wuss. Gets trolled a bit by #8 comment and shuts down the thread. A totally sexless castrated site, which tries to walk both sides of the street at the same time. Not worth an iota of respect and basically AM makes the HH crew look good.

March 25, 2011 @ 4:18 pm | Comment

@King
“Sorry, nobody in Asia or Oceania is that desperate”

Why? It is not such a bad investment. Look at it this way. The EU is not going to let Portugal default or leave the Euro. Portugal is small enough to make a rescue affordable. So you get a good % with a strong enough guarantee.

I only recommend good investments :-)

Disclaimer: I have no positions in Portugal or any fund/ETF/Whatever related to it. ;-)

March 25, 2011 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

Also, Libya has a very long coastline, and the most common greeting is “aalaamu alaikum”.

March 25, 2011 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

Mike #82: “whereas the Japanese bayoneted Chinese children”. Did you see this with your own eyes?
Maybe I can help. Photos have been circulating by email among Chinese about atrocities committed by the Japanese. Do you really want to see such stomach churning photos? Apparently taken by soldiers or reporters as souvenirs. There are 18, all horrendous photos.

Some of the captions:

1.bayoneting of 3 year old baby
2.Carving out the leg muscles of a Chinese soldier
3.Falling off of a beheaded head. Numerous such shots had to be taken to obtain this picture
4.Chinese mother still clutching on her baby after her head was chopped off by Japanese soldier
Etc

March 27, 2011 @ 8:06 am | Comment

mkwanhk
I have no doubt atrocities were committed. Happens in war. You’ll no doubt have seen this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8408506/Fight-as-woman-dragged-from-press-by-Gaddafi-forces.html
My point was teh use of language. Just because some Japanese committed atrocities does not mean all Japanese committed atrocities.

How come you lot always really believe the pictures and news that agree with your viewpoints and not the news and pictures that contradict your views? You sure those circulated photos were real?

March 28, 2011 @ 6:25 am | Comment

I don’t understand why so many posters want to tell Chinese they feel about Japanese atrocity in the war. I wonder that’s same crowd who tell African American feeling about slavery. The superior complex is appalling.

March 28, 2011 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

Type too quickly this morning. Here is revised version.

I don’t understand why so many posters (non-Chinese) want to tell Chinese how they should feel about Japanese atrocity in the war. I wonder those are same people (non-African American people) who tell African American how they should feel about slavery or (non-Jew people) who tell Jews should feel about holocaust. The superior complex is appalling.

March 29, 2011 @ 12:59 am | Comment

Whose superiority complex are you referring to? This post is about a Chinese person’s attitude toward Japan, and how/why I agree with her. Sorry if you find the thread “appalling.”

March 29, 2011 @ 1:02 am | Comment

@Jim
The superior one, if that is what you are looking for, is the Chinese who wrote that post.

March 29, 2011 @ 1:28 am | Comment

Mike #145: “You sure those circulated photos were real?”
Allow me to describe them.
1. bayoneting of 3 year old baby. The baby is impaled on the bayonet and raised high over the Japanese soldier’s head for all to see.
2. Carving out the leg muscles of a Chinese soldier. All flesh on the leg is missimg, only the bones can be seen.
3. Falling off of a beheaded head. The severed head is caught halfway to the ground. Two streams of blood are spurting upwards from the severed neck to a height of some 8 inches.
4. Chinese mother still clutching on her baby after her head was chopped off by Japanese soldier. The samurai sword is caught halfway into her neck.

There are many more.

No one will forget such scenes after seeing them or be told about them. Not after 70 years. Do I understand such acts are allowed in war? Many people obviously have warped minds.

.

March 29, 2011 @ 6:58 am | Comment

Ymk, not surprisingly you totally misunderstood Mike’s ironic question. Right over your head.

March 29, 2011 @ 7:04 am | Comment

To Jim #147,
people should rightfully denounce wartime atrocities, just as they should denounce slavery, or the holocaust. In fact, an African anerican can denounce Japanese atrocities, a Chinese citizen can denounce the holocaust, and a Jew can denounce slavery. Those things are wrong, and you don’t need to belong to a certain race or nationality to denounce them. However, historic wrongs hardly serve as a sane or plausible reason for today’s Chinese to hate today’s Japanese, etc.

To hate someone today for what their predecessors did is at best illogical, and at worst prejudicial.

March 29, 2011 @ 8:31 am | Comment

You can’t trust everything you read on the web
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8411041/Desperate-mothers-walk-of-shame-revealed-as-publicity-stunt.html

Mind you, this is a pretty radical concpet to some…and that’s being clamped down on, if this is to be believed :-)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8411055/Peking-University-to-screen-students-for-radical-thoughts.html

March 29, 2011 @ 10:18 am | Comment

S. K. Cheung, I just don’t agree with your logical. At best, your logical is illogical, and at worst it is bigotry. Using your logical, you seems to say that you know how African American feel about Slavery and even worst suggest they should feel the way you feel about the situation? Yet that’s something you clearly not qualified to talk about. That’s definition superior complex, It is same logical many neocons using to talks about slavery and holocaust.

March 29, 2011 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

To Jim,
Listen, probably best if you stick to your ” logic”, such as it is, cuz you sure aren’t grasping mine.

I don’t know how an African American feels about slavery, because I am not an african American. But I am quite capable of finding slavery to be deplorable. Are you neutral about slavery simply because you are not African American? Similarly, are you on the fence about the events of the holocaust simply because you aren’t Jewish? If you are, then I should stop here because there is no point talking to you.

On the other hand, if you can grasp that you dont need to have a shared ethnicity with the victims of some of history’s crimes in order to find those crimes deplorable, then we can move forward.

So, one can be repulsed by slavery, the holocaust, or Japanese war crimes, without being African American, Jewish, or Chinese, respectively. Now is that repulsion directed towards today’s Americans, Germans, and Japanese? If yes, then please explain, cuz today’ s Americans, Germans, and Japanese did NOT commit those vagrancies.

Now, going back to what you wrote in #147 regarding how Chinese feel about Japanese wartime atrocities. I think it’s quite understandable to be repulsed by those crimes. However, today’s Japanese didn’t commit them. So tell me, would it make sense to harbor hatred against today’s Japanese baesed on the crimes that a relative minority of their predecessors committed? Now, Chinese can feel how they feel, and I do not pretend to suggest to them in this regard. However, I will happily them them they are being illogical, if they have hatred towards Japanese circa 2011 for the crimes of a few Japanese circa 1940s. That has nothing to do with ” superiority”. It is just about being logical, and engaging the ol’ noodle. I suggest you do the same.

March 29, 2011 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

S. K. Cheung, there is a limit for human being to grasp the event based on the his/her own experience and his/her races. That’s why we all have our own bias . Surely, I can feel in some levels what African American feel about slavery and condone that act because I am human being, but I cannot nor I pretend to understand the WHOLE effect (or even 50%) slavery has affected on African American, even today. yet your whole argument is based that you can understand other races completely. That’s very pretentious and very dangerous.

March 29, 2011 @ 10:39 pm | Comment

Since when did I state or imply that I understand other races completely? My point is that any person of any race can and should rightfully denounce slavery, wartime atrocities, or the events of the holocaust. Nota complicated argument.

Besides, slavery and the holocaust are not the point. The point is that it is illogical for Chinese to have hatred towards today’s Japanese on the basis of wartime atrocities, because those atrocities were not committed by today’s Japanese. If you feel such hatred is logical or justified, well, you have yet to explain why. I am looking forward to it. And it should be a straightforward enough request, no?

March 30, 2011 @ 9:03 am | Comment

“Since when did I state or imply that I understand other races completely?”

So you are telling me that you are going to give your strong opinion regarding forgiveness even though you don’t know others’ situations and don’t understand how others feel about particular atrocities. Whether it is telling African American regarding Slavery or Chinese regarding Nanjing Masscre or Jewish regarding Holocaust, you are just going to give your stopping worry about past and just think about future speech. If they don’t agree with you, you think that they are illogical or ignorant.

It is one thing to have my belief or view on certain atrocities based on the limited information I know. But I certainly won’t tell others to how to forgive and forget if I don’t know other’s complete scenario. Maybe that’s difference between you and me.

March 30, 2011 @ 11:37 am | Comment

Jim
I know the subject of certain things are not to be forgotten…but how does, say, the feeling of people in Hong Kong about the Nanking massacres affect them? Or the people in Lhasa? Or Kashgar? Or even Peking?
By all means remember them, commemorate the events and have a day of mourning (there is a Remembrance Day in the UK commemorating the end of WWI and NZ and Australia commemorate Anzac Day), but this should not be a day to open old wounds and keep the hatred festering.
There was a lot of blood spilt in Peking on June the 4th 1989. I don’t think that’s even mentioned….

March 30, 2011 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

“So you are telling me that you are going to give your strong opinion regarding forgiveness even though you don’t know others’ situations and don’t understand how others feel about particular atrocities.”
—what is it with you people? Can you not read? This is what I had said (actually, said repeatedly): “My point is that any person of any race can and should rightfully denounce slavery, wartime atrocities, or the events of the holocaust. Nota complicated argument.”. And this: “The point is that it is illogical for Chinese to have hatred towards today’s Japanese on the basis of wartime atrocities, because those atrocities were not committed by today’s Japanese.” So after you’ve read it again, let me summarize for you: I am not talking about forgiveness. I am saying that it is illogical to “hate” today’s Japanese since they had nothing to do with historical atrocities. Forgiveness is a somewhat different issue. One can refuse to offer forgiveness without engaging in hatred. One can also choose to forgive without forgetting. That said, today’s Japanese also don’t require forgiveness, since, once again, they’re not the ones who committed the wrongs. In that sense, either way, you’re still talking about some Japanese circa 1940, and not Japanese circa 2011. Is this really such a complicated concept for you?

“you are just going to give your stopping worry about past and just think about future speech”
—huh? Seriously, can you read? More importantly, can you process and comprehend what you read? Cuz it doesn’t seem like it. When did I say people should “stop worrying about past”? What I’ve said is that it is illogical to hate today’s people for yesterday’s wrongs (committed by yesterday’s people). I’m using analogy here, so let me know if you’re confused.

“If they don’t agree with you, you think that they are illogical or ignorant.”
—I’ve already told you (several times) the basis upon which I judge whether someone is being illogical (in the context of the current discussion). You have yet to address those bases. Instead, you’ve kept yourself busy by arguing against stuff I haven’t said. Why is it that you people have to resort to that type of antic, almost all of the time? Is being disingenuous a rewarding pastime for you?

“Maybe that’s difference between you and me.”
—actually, one difference between you and me is that I can read, whereas you may not be doing so at an acceptable level. You should also note that, until this post, I had not even mentioned the concept of “forgive and forget”. But you’re already arguing against it. You types are just peas in a pod.

The other characteristic you folks share is the tendency to run away and hide from questions for which you have no answer. So just to help you out, here it is again: (already asked in #157, but not yet answered, as usual) “The point is that it is illogical for Chinese to have hatred towards today’s Japanese on the basis of wartime atrocities, because those atrocities were not committed by today’s Japanese. If you feel such hatred is logical or justified, well, you have yet to explain why.” (btw, in case it’s not abundantly clear, the challenge to you is in the second sentence of that quote. Thought I’d spell it out for you to avoid any further confusion on your part).

March 30, 2011 @ 4:48 pm | Comment

I stated my points four times. If you don’t get it, you don’t it. Go back and read my statement. You are the one who keeping on bringing up “it is illogical for Chinese to stop hate past Japanese”. That statement is irrelevant in all my arguments. My point is that stop telling people your belief if you don’t know their special scenario or understand them completely. If other people want to hate (whether it is logical or not), it is their choices. By the way, hate is emotional feeling why we keep arguing whether it is logical or not. It is ILLOGICAL to tell them to stop the hating Japanese if you don’t know the complete picture.

S.K. Cheung, Hope you got my point. If not, let’s stop it.

Mike Goldthorpe, of course, we should not encourage hate. That’s certainly true. However we don’t have right to tell others not to hate since we don’t know their special scenarios. For past crimes of communist party, people in China should not forget those as well. I am not defender of Communist party, as Cheung seems to suggest (and incorrectly by the way). In most my posts, I tend to support ordinary Chinese’s interest because I understand or try to understand them.

March 30, 2011 @ 6:34 pm | Comment

That nation have experienced the worst that could occur in their society in the past. Yes the earthquake, did kill lives, but it was not like the Haiti, where the entire nation was taken down with one shot, or Katrina, where mother nature, ethnically cleansed the area. Their is even South America, who was far more prepared then both of those nations.

China has political issues, in consideration to the coastal region of Japan.
They have toxic shit, pouring inside of the villages, policemen willing to roll out the tanks, and etc. Compared to Japan who has culture ( art ), technological advancements that are not borrowed, and society that could be salvaged.

Everybody knows that construction ( as always ) been a problem, over their, and the real issue here is their nuclear power plant, that already had warnings in the past, and now the threat is real.

Okay lets have a Zhōnghuá cultural exchange program next, so we can more hating.
Then people will be like…oh that is East Asian, that is no stupid Devil American.

March 30, 2011 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

“My point is that stop telling people your belief if you don’t know their special scenario or understand them completely.”
—what “special scenario” would logically justify hating TODAY’S Japanese for the crimes committed by some Japanese 70 years ago (when many of today’s Japanese weren’t even born yet)? This I would love to hear. And you seem shy about sharing your “logic” here.

“If other people want to hate (whether it is logical or not), it is their choices.”
—um, where did I seek to limit other peoples’ choices? If people want to be illogical, that’s their prerogative. I am merely pointing that fact out to them, and to you. Sometimes, when people realize they are not acting logically, they change their ways. I am not as hopeful with you, based on what I’ve seen so far.

“By the way, hate is emotional feeling why we keep arguing whether it is logical or not.”
—emotions can be logical or illogical. And as I say, if you want to be illogical, be my guest. I’m just here to point that out to you.

“It is ILLOGICAL to tell them to stop the hating Japanese if you don’t know the complete picture.”
—how is it illogical? If someone said “I hate the Japanese who committed those war-time atrocities”, I think that is entirely logical. If someone said ” I hate Japanese today because of the Japanese who committed those war-time atrocities”, well, i’ll leave you to figure that one out in terms of logic.

March 31, 2011 @ 2:13 am | Comment

Jim
“However we don’t have right to tell others not to hate since we don’t know their special scenarios.”
We do have the right to tell others not to hate – we don’t have the right to make them not hate. We also don’t have the right to tell others who or what to hate either…

Hope you see where my argument is going :-)

March 31, 2011 @ 5:37 am | Comment

People are not responsible for violent acts committed by people 70 years ago. But in the case of Japanese soldiers in the invasion of China they were acting collectively for their country on the order of, and in the name of, the Japanese Emperor. Whatever they did was sanctioned by the Japanese nation. The atrocities were therefore actually committed by the Japanese nation and are etched in history forever. The present day nation of Japan is responsible for these acts just as Germany is responsible for the Holocaust. Germany has made appropriate amends to the Jews. But Japan has done nothing. On the contrary they are trying to alter history in their history books.

Richard @ 151. I tried to answer the question “Are those photos real?’ by describing them and hoped people would see that such scenes could not possibly be faked. No ulterior motives.

March 31, 2011 @ 7:46 am | Comment

“The present day nation of Japan is responsible for these acts just as Germany is responsible for the Holocaust”
Sorry, but why? And when do the people stop being responsible for the sins of their fathers?

March 31, 2011 @ 8:01 am | Comment

But Japan has done nothing.

Absolutely false, and a good indication that dialogue with you will be fruitless, as you have your own facts that do not synch with actual history. Maybe Japan hasn’t done enough in the eyes of crazed fenqing. But no one who knows his or her history can say with a straight face that Japan has done nothing.

Also, by your “logic” it seems that in the case of any nation that does something bad and that the nation doesn’t apologize for adequately it’s okay to keep on actively hating the individual citizens of that country even 70 years or even centuries after the actual event took place. Of course, the argument is made even more absurd because Japan has apologized many times. Yes, some birdbrain historians there are writing some revisionist histories of WWII (thank God China doesn’t practice history revision), but that has nothing to do with hating the younger generations of Japan 70 years after the crime of their parents, and more likely their grandparents. .

This is one of the most maddening subjects to attempt to discuss. It brings out so much willful ignorance and blind rage.

March 31, 2011 @ 8:04 am | Comment

Mike, good question. Only the immature and the indoctrinated go on hating the current generation of Japanese, or Germans, or whomever, so many generations after the crime.

March 31, 2011 @ 8:07 am | Comment

To YM:
“But in the case of Japanese soldiers in the invasion of China they were acting collectively for their country on the order of, and in the name of, the Japanese Emperor.”
—that is a better, and certainly more logical, argument. Since the soldiers who committed war-crimes were doing so in service of the emperor, and by extension, in service of the entire Japanese nation, you can forward a better argument that all Japanese people (and not just the war criminals) of 70 years ago share culpability. However, there are still issues with this. The Japanese people didn’t elect their emperor (which, ironically, distinguishes them from the Germans of the Nazi era). Also, it assumes that war criminals were acting under direct orders of the state to commit those atrocities, as opposed to being “off the reservation”, so to speak. I don’t know if there is evidence of direct state sanctioning of the war-crimes of which the war criminals were convicted.

Furthermore, to conclude that the atrocities were committed by the entire Japanese nation of 70 years ago is one thing. And certainly, that will never change. But the extension to present day Japanese people is far more tenuous. They certainly didn’t offer direct, indirect, or tacit support of any illegal war-time activities, since they weren’t around. And if you argue that present day Japanese are equally culpable, then is there an end-date to that argument? Or would you suggest that, from here till eternity, Japanese people will be culpable for the actions of a few from circa 1940?

In addition, you acknowledge right off the bat that people shouldn’t be held responsible for what other people did 70 years ago. So in essence, are you suggesting that it is reasonable to harbour continued hatred towards the Japanese nation, and not the Japanese people? It would be something like “hate Japan, but don’t hate the Japanese”. It would be a logical, but extremely subtle, distinction.

March 31, 2011 @ 8:18 am | Comment

The present day nation of Japan is responsible for these acts just as Germany is responsible for the Holocaust. Germany has made appropriate amends to the Jews. But Japan (#165)

I’m not sure if commenters who habitually draw these parallels – or differences – between Japan and Germany understand that many of “the Jews” they mention were actually Germans, many of whom had fought for their country in World War 1. Some jewish survivors stayed in Germany after the nazi era. Making “amends” was both an international, and a domestic issue.

Chinese nationals who are so obsessed with the Japanese past might consider taking a look at their ruling party, and the amends it has or has not made for the “Great Leap Forward” or the CR, too.

March 31, 2011 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

Richard,

I’m aware that you may have reasonably considered my last post to be of merely peripheral interest to this thread but did it really deserve to be deleted? Was it that bad?

March 31, 2011 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

S.K.Cheung #169

“So in essence, are you suggesting that it is reasonable to harbour continued hatred towards the Japanese nation, and not the Japanese people? It would be something like “hate Japan, but don’t hate the Japanese”. It would be a logical, but extremely subtle, distinction.”

I’d point out that, similarly, there are some on here who appear to hate the Chinese nation while at the same time claiming not to hate the Chinese people. I agree with you that the distinction is a logical one. However, if, as you say, it’s also an “extremely subtle” distinction, perhaps we can understand why some of our fenqing friends, who tend not to be strong on subtlety, react to criticisms of China in the way they sometimes do.

March 31, 2011 @ 11:19 pm | Comment

Stuart #3

“…the ongoing complicity of the Chinese government in fomenting hatred towards the Japanese through ‘patriotic education’, textbooks, and classroom tales from the crypt. Add to that the nightly serialisations of evil bayonet-wielding Japs hovering over defenceless Chinese maidens and you’ve got yourself a hard-wired dehumanised enemy. If you want a comparison with Nazi Germany, Goebbels’ portrayal of the Jews is it.”

With due respect, that is an utterly witless comparison.

March 31, 2011 @ 11:26 pm | Comment

Richard, re “I’m also ashamed of some Westerners who are making jokes about the Japanese people’s suffering. Imagine cracking Jokes about September 11th as the tragedy unfolded. Reprehensible.”

There’s been a lot worse than jokes by Westerners about the Japanese disaster, I’m afraid. Have you had the misfortune to come across any of the Facebook & Tweet pages on the net stuffed with hundreds of gloating, hate-filled comments by (apparently) Americans exulting over what happened, jeering at the victims & hailing the earthquake as Divine revenge & fitting retribution for the attack on Pearl Harbour? True, those posters are just internet nonentities (but then I’d never heard of Gilbert what’s-his-name either). There are idiots in every country.

April 1, 2011 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Jer, I did not delete your comment. Email it to me and I will make sure it gets posted.

If a moderator is deleting comments please let me know. Thanks.

April 1, 2011 @ 12:42 am | Comment

Richard

I posted it several days ago. It appeared on this page as normal but by the next morning it had disappeared. It had been showing as somewhere between #135 & #140, I think. Apologies for assuming that you had deleted it.

I don’t know how or whether it’s possible to retrieve it for reposting but it may have been no great loss to this thread anyway.

For what it’s worth, I was responding to wei’s comment (#122) that “if the normal mortality was actually 12 per thousand then that was a stupendous achievement to get the mortality down to that level” (ie a level barely above that of developed countries like the UK or USA).

I pointed out that he appeared to have failed to take into account the age structure of China’s population at the time, which like that of nearly all developing countries would have shown a preponderance of younger people. The older people are, the more chance they have of dying. Thus the mortality rate in, for example, Ghana is lower than that in Sweden but nobody thinks that this is because the people who live there are healthier or better fed. They’re just, on average, younger. Therefore, even a lowering of the death rate is in itself not necessarily a “stupendous achievement”: a spike in the birth rate for example would suffice to achieve this result, (all other things being equal &, in particular, assuming a less than astronomical perinatal mortality rate).

(The above argument does not exclude the possibility that the Chinese government’s actions & policies did in fact contribute to a reduction in the mortality rate during the first few Maoist years.)

A pedantic point, perhaps, but one that I felt merited at worst a yawn rather than a deletion!

April 1, 2011 @ 2:13 am | Comment

To Jer #176,
now that you mention it, I do recall reading that a few days ago. Didn’t realize it had disappeared.

You bring up a good point, since countries with older populations can naturally be expected to have more deaths due to old age than countries with younger populations. So countries with younger populations should be expected to have lower mortality rates, unless their mortality rates are being driven by unexpected/premature deaths.

In that vein, i wonder if life expectancy is a better assessment of the overall health status of a nation. A truly healthier nation with low mortality rate will have improved life expectancy, and the metric wouldn’t discriminate against nations with older populations.

To Jer #172:
another excellent point. I certainly agree that having a grasp of logic or subtlety is not a characteristic in abundant supply among the FQ. I think most commentators have no animosity towards Chinese people. I further don’t think that many have animosity towards China as a nation. I think the disdain is directed towards the CCP and her system of governance. There is more than a subtle distinction between the CCP and China as a nation, to compound upon the subtle distinction between China as a nation and Chinese as a people. So it’s really two degrees of separation on the subtlety scale. Sadly, as you note, that is still too subtle for the FQ to process.

April 1, 2011 @ 6:23 am | Comment

@jer Your #177 second para. That must be minor section in the US. In my neck of the woods, there has been pretty well universal sympathy and admiration of the stoicism of the Japanese people, and this in spite of the barbarities inflicted on our nationals during WW11.

Then again, we have pretty serious media hate crime legislation, which people accept as necessary for the maintenance of a ‘civil’ civil society. Sometimes things get a little too politically correct, but overall such legislation has long-term societal benefits ie we are all human beings and deserve consideration as such.

April 1, 2011 @ 7:00 am | Comment

1. Never forget what we allege Mao did!!!

2. World War 2 is in the past, forget about it already! It was no big deal!

April 1, 2011 @ 11:46 am | Comment

1. Never forget what we allege the British did in 1840!!!

2. What the PLA in 1989 is in the past, forget about it already. It was no big deal!

Seems to work for some political parties, eh?

April 1, 2011 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

To Mike,
that is beautiful. Of course, we shouldn’t strive to bring ourselves down to YF’s level all of the time, but it can certainly be amusing every now and then.

Besides, who knew that adopting a logical mindset equated to “forgetting”? I guess the FQ really do operate in a unique universe. I wonder if they have gravity…

April 1, 2011 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

And I hate to ruin your straw man fantasies (your other skill beyond anecdotes), but I definitely believe Japan has suffered enough. Especially those who weren’t alive in WW2.

Maybe if an a-bomb is dropped on London and Manchester we can start letting them off the hook.

April 2, 2011 @ 1:44 am | Comment

“but I definitely believe Japan has suffered enough. Especially those who weren’t alive in WW2.”
—whew, what a relief! There is at least one FQ who doesn’t promote random hatred of Japanese people. One is better than none, I suppose. Not exactly proof of concept, but at least a sign of genetic plausibility.

On the other hand, flippant talk about dropping a-bombs anywhere shows that there is still a long way to go before civility can be approached. I should add that to my list in #177 of the things FQ possess in short supply.

April 2, 2011 @ 7:28 am | Comment

King Tubby #178

“That must be minor section in the US.”

I hope & believe you’re right…but there seem to be an awful lot of them!

This has got to be the best one: “Those damn Krauts (sic) deserve to be hit by an earthquake tsunami for nuking (sic) Pearl Harbor”. (Punctuation, spelling & grammar corrected.)

I certainly don’t think these idiots are representative of the wider American public any more than I think the gloating Chinese cyber-nonentities are typical of China. I have faith that most people in all countries are normal, decent people. But there are idiots everywhere.

I agree with you about the long term benefits, overall, of effective media hate crime legislation. However, for better or worse it’s difficult to police internet based social media.

April 2, 2011 @ 8:13 am | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe #166

““The present day nation of Japan is responsible for these acts just as Germany is responsible for the Holocaust”
“Sorry, but why? And when do the people stop being responsible for the sins of their fathers?”

I hope YMKwan won’t mind if I try to answer your (semi-rhetorical?) questions for him.

I think I’m right in saying that a nation state has a continuity of responsibility across generations for things done in its name & under its authority. However, the individual, personal responsibilities of the people living in that state at any given time are a different matter. The current generation of people in Japan are neither morally nor legally responsible for the sins of their fathers: they have no case to answer. The state of Japan, however, is still responsible & (potentially) legally liable, (provided the atrocities were carried out under its authority, which I presume is not what you’re disputing).

It’s pointless therefore to ask YMKwan why he thinks Japan is responsible. It’s not a personal opinion of his that he can or needs to justify.

And as to your second question, the answer is that they never were responsible for the sins of their fathers, but they might have to pay for them.

As you’re aware, it’s the state of Japan that the former comfort women have been suing recently, not the sons of the fathers who committed the sins against them all those years ago.

BTW, I gather that Germany is still paying reparations to the state of Israel for the Holocaust. And I read somewhere that Germany did not complete paying reparations for the FIRST World War until October last year! That’s more like their great grandfathers’ sins they were still paying for!

April 2, 2011 @ 10:19 am | Comment

To Jer:
“they never were responsible for the sins of their fathers, but they might have to pay for them.”
—I like that. And since it might hit them in the wallet, this distinction would be much less subtle than the earlier ones.

April 2, 2011 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

Most of the agreements between Germany and Israel were made within a decade after the war, i. e. between 1949 and 1953. There was another round of negotiations in the first decade of this century which was mostly meant to help survivors in Eastern Europe. Both sides were under the impression of German atrocities 60 to 65 years ago. The recent consideration was to help people who had been left out after the war, and during the cold war.

The cold war has probably facilitated such negotiations between Germany and Israel, and made them difficult or impossible between Japan and China.
A short history of Japanese aid to China (beginning in the late 1970s) can be found on Wikipedia, “Foreign aid to the People’s Republic of China”.

My impression is that such negotiations work best when the survivors or the bereaved are at the center, as individuals. When national identity comes into play, and when both sides talk as mere collectives, things tend to become politicized, and that is likely to lead to rather negative attitudes.

My view of Japan today – #42.

April 2, 2011 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

To be fair China rejected state reparations from Japan on both counts, once under Mao and again under Deng. So did S. Korea and Taiwan for some reason. The Japanese civil court should pay reparations to comfort women though, and more Japanese today are agreeing that they should. Hell it’s not even a lot of money on a state level, they should just drop the pride and do it for the sake of Asian friendship.

April 2, 2011 @ 3:40 pm | Comment

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