“Carnival of Hate”

Do not miss this great post on the anti-Japanese protests on one of the smaretst blogs in China (though it’s not really a blog). Sample:

The kindest interpretation of these events is that Japan, and anti-Japanese sentiments, were actually a pretext, a figleaf concealing decades of accumulated rage and frustration. Protestors took advantage of a chink in the ideological restrictions of the government, and by singing the national anthem and calling for the return of the Senkaku Islands to Chinese sovereignty, they sought to position themselves as impeccable, irreproachable patriots. Beyond the flag-waving, the marchers were by no means pro-government. Rather, it seems that the government โ€“ well aware of the extent of the anger โ€“ thought it best to keep them on its side.

That is not to say that the anti-Japanese sentiments were not real. The hatred, of course, runs deep. Euphoric and ecstatic, thousands of students poured down Shanghai’s biggest streets and past its most significant commercial centres, chanting about ‘Japanese pigs’, ‘stinking Japanese’, ‘small Japanese’, chanting ‘kill kill kill’ and beaming beatifically as their plastic bottles, eggs and tomatos rained down on the many Japanese retail outlets on their route….

It was politics at its most terrifying – politics as mass mobilization, and politics reduced to the undifferentiated prejudices of the crowd. The government should be very worried about such violent potential. Outside the cities, the masses are rioting about less abstract concerns. They riot about poverty and injustice, about corruption and pollution. Outside the cities, these huge pressures are far more troubling to the authorities.

Definitely read it all. Lisa, thanks for the link – I thought they’d shut down, so I haven’t been going there lately.

The Discussion: 32 Comments

Richard, glad to provide – the Dog had been on vacation, apparently.

April 17, 2005 @ 8:49 pm | Comment

One disagreement that I have is that this demonstration is not “pent up decades of rage and frustration.” It’s actually the post-Tiananmen demonstration trying to make its mark on the world.

The thing about talking to someone who actually lived through the Anti-Japanese War is that with all their hatred for Japanese, there is a realization of how bad war is in general that tempers thing. Yes, they hate Japan, but I don’t know of any 60 year-old Chinese who wants to pick a fight with Japan now because they know how horrible things were. The same sort of thing is also happening in Japan, where people who remember the war are dying off, and are being replaced with people who don’t have first hand experience of war.

The Shanghai demonstrators haven’t lived through World War II, the Great Leap Forward, or the Cultural Revolution, and so tend to be a bit “redder than red.” There is a huge amount of raw energy in this generation. To what ends this energy gets directed is basically going to determine the future of the 21st century.

One thing that a lot of people are missing is that the demonstrations actually had an appreciable effect on PRC government policy. Last month, it was not out of the question that the PRC would allow Japan to get a semi-permanent seat in the United Nations. There is absolutely no way that the PRC government could do this now.

April 17, 2005 @ 10:00 pm | Comment

The other question is whether the UN can say no to Japan’s application. Let’s talk about history repeating itself … the death blow of the League of Nations was when Japan opted out … and if Japan decided to quit the United Nations, or at least stop contributing funds to it, that would the end of another world body.

I am not sure I totally agree with one sentiment in this article, and many others I have read. There seems to be an underlying assumption that the senior leadership in China is not fervently anti-Japanese. I think this is a mistaken interpretation. When Deng Xiaoping first started to ease relations with Japan, there was a sudden explosion of historical stories relating to Li Hongzhang … the message being that Li was a traitor to China for kowtowing to the Japanese, and hence so was Deng. That didn’t happen because of a few student radicals … it happened because many parts of the senior leadership were strongly opposed to Deng’s new Japan policy. A factor that I haven’t heard anyone discuss to date is that these protests are in fact a by-product of behind-closed-doors politiking … as factions in the leadership use it to pressure other factions in the leadership towards an anti-Japanese stance. I think that all the talk in the world media about how these protests are to put pressure on the world to stop Japan’s entry to the UN is a mistake. At most, this is a secondary concern. China, (much like the USA in fact), usually operates as a world unto itself, and foreign opinions don’t matter that much. My own judgement is that what we are witnessing is a power-play by factions in the government who want a stronger stance against Japan, and a stronger stance against Taiwan.

As I see it, based on China’s history, this could go one of two ways. First, the hardliners get their way. You start to see a shift in membership of senior committees in the military and government towards men inclined towards that policy position. You see a harder line being taken, and things just get worse from here. Contributing factors: the very real anger against Japan in the Chinese population making moderates afraid to hold their position, and the increasingly harder line being taken by Japan.

Second possibility: The hardliners overplay their hand. Demonstrations become a real threat to public order, and “luan” (Chaos) threatens to break out. Factions in the leadership who had been wavering between the moderates and the hardliners take fright, and swing solidly against those they see responsible for stirring up the civil disorder. The “moderates” (in terms of foreign policy that is) react in a very hardline manner, and restore order on the streets in a draconian fashion. Arrests, re-education, etc etc, the way that only the Chinese know how. Essentially, it’s the Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang scenario … they became the fall-guys blamed for outbreaks of “luan”. One or two prominent foreign policy hardliners get picked out for blame, and the rest duck their heads and pretend to be invisible. China’s foreign policy eases off, but freedoms in the domestic situation are further reduced.

Or perhaps, as is usually the case, you get some sort of fudged solution in the middle.

April 17, 2005 @ 11:01 pm | Comment

The CCP has been much closer to Japan than most of you think. Japan was one of the first countries to recognize and develop diplomatic relationship with the PRC over the ROC in the early 70s. The same was after Tiananmen square brutal crackdown in 1989. Japan did not follow the west to denounce the CCP and stay in touch with the CCP all thru the 90s. The CCP went out of its way to advertize and exaggerate the fact that Japanese PM had repeatly apologized to China in the 90s and 2001 to the public. (Note, Japan did make an OFFICIAL WRITTEN NATIONAL APOLOGY to Korea in 2001, but did not do the same to China.)

April 17, 2005 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

JR … not sure about this, but you seem to have missed the point I was making. Factions in the Chinese government have always been rabidly anti-Japanese … even when the paramount leader (such as Deng) are following a more friendly line, there are always groups wanting a radically different policy, and there is always the potential for the government to go in the other direction.

April 17, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment


All I am saying is that the CCP is not as anti-Japan as you may think. There was another evidence in the action of the CCP. According to right-leaning Fiancial Times, the CCP had ordered all the members in the communist party not to participate in any anti-Japan protests.

April 17, 2005 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Slightly off topic Richard, but I recently decided to start a blog of my own. So there will be less rants from yours truly on yours. I’m taking this opportunity to pimp my own blog for the very first time. Take a picture folks and witness the transformation from a slightly deranged commenter to full blown link whore. ๐Ÿ™‚

p.s. How do I get myself listed at Sinosplice’s China blog list, does anyone know? I tried visiting John’s site, but its completly down for some unknown reason.

April 18, 2005 @ 12:17 am | Comment

Jing, it’s a technical glitch, apparently, and he should be up again soon (I hope!). He has a form on the blog list that you can send in, or you can email him directly. It took him a little time to review my request but he is a busy guy and very conscientous about making sure the blogs submitted are actually about China – I guess he gets a lot that aren’t.

Congratulations on your blog, and I am looking forward to experiencing your derangement in full flower!

April 18, 2005 @ 12:21 am | Comment

That’s good Jing … but since you’re advertising your new blog, would you care to give us an address where we can find it?

April 18, 2005 @ 12:21 am | Comment

JR … all I can say is “read what I wrote again” … or more probably, “read what I wrote for the first time, and don’t just skim over it” as your comments seem to completely miss the point.

April 18, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment


My first comment was not directly responding to you. But I did ask you some questions in a thread below.

April 18, 2005 @ 12:34 am | Comment


For some reasons, I’ve always thought you are Chinese. You represent an interesting small minority of non Americans who support Bush. Where are you from and what are your reasons for supporting Bush? Is it the Christian family values you are yearning for or what? I am just curious.

Posted by JR at April 17, 2005 02:37 PM”

April 18, 2005 @ 12:35 am | Comment

I’m confused. A thread below? where?

April 18, 2005 @ 12:36 am | Comment

I found Jing’s blog, cleverly linked to his name…he claims his first post is off-the-cuff, but it’s a rather long, detailed and interesting discussion of the Catholic Church in China.

April 18, 2005 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Yeah just click on the html link that is my name. It no longer leads to a non-exstant blah@blah.com but rather directly to the site.

April 18, 2005 @ 12:59 am | Comment

JR … haha … well, that’s what happens when we’re both posting simultaneously.

I prefer not to say who I am, because I work in a teaching position, and I sometimes encourage my students to read this blog, amongst others. I want to remain free to express my own opinions in a way that I cannot do in a teaching role, hence I prefer to keep my identity unclear. Anyway, I’m a white male who lives in a western country, but who has lived and worked in Asia, if you want a mental image to hang onto me.
The question is … why do I favour Bush? Well, I don’t mind saying I’m an atheist, so you can dump the religion theory … frankly, the whole family values thing is just a motherhood and apple pie political platform, which any party will try to capture.
Ok, to your point: in foreign policy, you don’t have to agree with me, but I would say “thank goodness for Bush” … as far as I’m concerned, the world is a better place thanks to “America the world’s policeman.” I know that label is usually used by critics of the USA, but I think the world would be a far more dangerous place without it. I see leaders like Clinton and Kerry as the kind of policeman who stood around and told the thugs of the world “come on guys, just be nice to each other” and then wandered away to eat donuts. I see Bush as the kind of president who said “come on guys, be nice to each other, or I’ll start cracking heads”. Which neighbourhood would you want to live in? For all the faults of the American post-war handling of the Iraqi occupation, is there anyone who can honestly say that Iraq is not a better place without Sadam as its leader?

Did you by chance see the movie Hotel Rwanda? A really powerful movie. The reason I mention it here is one scene where an otherwise powerless man is trying to persuade a general to do the right thing. His most effective argument is: The Americans are listening to what you do from their satelites. There will be a reckoning. If there was a moral to that movie (in my view), it was that in the end all the talking in the world meant nothing. What was desperately needed was for someone, anyone, to come in and kick heads.

Now there are a lot of accusations levelled at the Bush foreign policy, and some of them are valid … but some of them are just plain stupid. For example … Bush is a unilateralist, and that’s bad, except when Bush insists on multiparty talks, and that’s bad too. The war in Iraq was just about oil … where do people get this crap? It’s an example of the “big lie” … if enough people repeat it often enough, it gets accepted as truth. But think on that one for a minute … what would have been the easiest way for the Bush administration to have guaranteed the flow of oil from Iraq? Easy … rehabilitate Sadam and the Baathists, and leave the poor Iraqi people to rot in hell. Lift all sanctions, make a few juicy arms sales, place a few bribes here and there … and Sadam would have sold USA all the oil it wanted, without it having to spend billions of dollars in the process. That was the path of ammoral realpolitik. The “evidence” to prove the contrary vue is mostly (again) just stupid … such as the way the Americans guarded the oil ministry. Now if you’re hoping to foster a stable and prosperous democracy in the middleeast, it would hardly be a good idea to allow the nation’s principle source of revenue to be destroyed. As for the war being “illegal” … technically, I’d even agree with that … but only because international law doesn’t recognise that being an evil bunch of bastards who brutalise their own people is a valid reason to remove a sovereign government. As far as international law in concerned, you can pretty much doing anything short of a Nazi holocaust, and it’s still not legal for another country to invade.

Personally, I contrast the world of the 1930s without USA, with the world of today, and I thank the god I don’t believe in that USA isn’t isolationist, and pray to that same non-existent god that America doesn’t turn its back on the world again. If USA had launched a war against Japan in 1931, and forced her to withdraw from Manchuria, would the world not be a better place? Would China not have been saved from untold suffering? If the militarists were still in power in Japan ten years later, and USA invaded the Japanese mainland, and installed a democratic government, would that not have been a good thing, for Japan and the world? Instead, USA was following the policy of “Hey guys, that’s not very nice. Hey, don’t do that.” The critics of Bush today could have raised all the same arguments against America in the 1930s if they had intervened against Japan or Germany. Would a lot of Chinese, Germans, French, Jews, Russians etc have greatly benefitted from such an assertive American foreign policy?
Well … damn … it’s a big question … and I’ve hardly given you a full answer to why I support Bush … but that’s some of it, simplified and summarised. Let’s just say for now, that I have no confidence in the foreign policies of the Bush critics, and nor do I believe that “war is always wrong”.

April 18, 2005 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Good point FS#9, but I doubt there can be any serious comparison between the world of the 30s and that of today, or inde3ed the League of Nations with the UN.

April 18, 2005 @ 3:57 am | Comment

Dear FSN,

As a person who most strongly disagrees with Bush’s foreign policy, I’d like to say that I do agree that sometimes war is necessary. I would argue that the actions in the former Yugoslavia were necessary, and I agree with you on Rwanda as well. The first Gulf War was justified because it was in response to an invasion of another sovereign nation, and the diplomacy running up to it was carefully handled (not including the whole miscommunication with Saddam and the US Ambassador however). But as I recall there were no bigger critics than Congressional Republicans over US involvement in Kosovo, among others; for years we heard nothing but criticism about the notion of “nation building.” I would ask once again why invading Iraq was in our national interest when Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorists who attacked us, when we still have a great deal of work to do in Afghanistan, host country of those who did. I’d ask how our economy is going to recover from these soaring deficits and a plummeting dollar. I’d ask a bunch of other questions, but I need to get to work!

I did see an interesting article that I’d like to track down for further discussion about the most effective ways to encourage democracy. It talked about funding opposition parties (which some people have problems with, and which need to be done carefully) but made it clear that in order for countries like the US to encourage democracy, there must be several conditions for it to work. There must be a home-grown reform movement and there must be a relatively unified opposition. we had none of those things in Iraq, and the continuing chaos there is evidence that it is very difficult to establish democracy at gunpoint.

I have to hope for the best in Iraq because the consequences of failure are horrible to contemplate, but I hold to the belief that all of us would have been better off if that invasion had never happened.

April 18, 2005 @ 9:57 am | Comment

I know the topic has propbably run its course (until the next violent demo when Japanese fax machines are replaced by Japanese-scent-driven dobermans) but a nice commonsense argument from Bill Powell of time: http://www.time.com/time/asia/covers/501050425/viewpoint.html

April 18, 2005 @ 4:34 pm | Comment


Sorry, can’t write ‘hey Filthy’. I always thought the Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations was a nonstarter when the US refused to join up. Anyways, your analysis is one of those ‘oh yeah’ I wish I thought of looking at it that way. I was foolishly looking at it as a monolithical ‘Chinese leadership’ issue and now I see it’s potentially far more complicated than that.

My initial thought when the protests began was that it could easily get out of control since it seems to me that the society is waiting for that one straw to break the camels back and plunge China into a chaotic state. Remembering the trouble in getting the American crew back from the downed intelligence plane I was thinking in terms of a military versus civilian leadership struggle. Of course it’s more than that. Seperate power centers in Beijing and elsewhere and none in complete control. Perhaps it’s even more fragmented than that.

An internal power struggle of Machiavellian proportions with implications for Japan, the United States, Taiwan and the rest of the world. Perhaps the protests against Japan having been started by hardliners to keep Japan from a seat in the Security Council or to warn Japan about the oil and gas rights in the disputed territories and or to punish Japan for siding with the US as they did with regard to Taiwan being part of the security concern for both allies. The textbook thing, – really now, Japanese textbooks have always been light on the responsibility aspect of WWII. A lot of reasons for China to react in some way. It seems though that events are spiraling out of control.

April 18, 2005 @ 8:13 pm | Comment

I personally think the Chinese government is rather worried about the potential for the grassroots protests to get out of hand but are encouraging the protests up to a point because of the new security alliance between Japan and the US over Taiwan.

But maybe that’s just me…

April 19, 2005 @ 12:44 am | Comment

I don’t mind if people want to call me “Hey Filthy” but I think it would be more accurate to call me “Hey, Number 9” … it was the communists who categorised my social status in the 9th position, and a general nickname developed to call us “stinking number 9s”. Any lower, and I’d be an enemy of the people … I guess I should thank them for at least granting me “person” status.

April 19, 2005 @ 3:22 am | Comment

RE: UN Seat

You probably don’t know this, but there is a strong feeling of opposition in Japan to the possibility of the country getting a perminant UN SC seat.

In order to be a member Japan will need to renegotiate article nine of its constitution, in which it renounces war and aggression in all forms. This effectively means that it is illegal for Japan to engage in peacekeeping missions or to defend a UN member if they are attacked or another state for that matter. China could sacked Taiwan tommorow and kill a million people, and the Japanese government couldn’t legally raise a rifle to do anything about it.

Many Japnaese people also don’t want the country to have this seat because it would draw Japan in world conflicts that have absolutely nothing to do with it and could make Japan a target.

There are also fears that Japanese self defense forces (Japan has no offensive capabilities) would be used to supliment US troops in places like Iraq and Afganistan, and that the Japanese government is too close to Washington on too many issues.

Look at the fuss that was created when non combat troops were sent to Iraq, now imagine what would happen if Japanese troops were sent to a war zone, particularly one that Imperial Japan has previously mutuilated.

It might sound strange, but I kind of hope that Japan doens’t get this seat, and that it goes to India.

India could better counter both the US and China than Japan could, and it could balance things out a lot more than Japan could. Countries would also not automatically oppose ideas from India as readily as they would oppose ideas from Japan.

April 19, 2005 @ 3:28 am | Comment

I would say that both India and Japan should get a permanent seat, if anyone is going to have one. Though frankly, the very concept of permanent seats undermines the principles the UN is supposed to stand for. Better if there were none at all. Or that you got votes based on how much your contributed to the UN in money, resources and manpower.

Besides, ACB, in the last poll I heard about in Japan, I think it was 61% of Japanese were now in favour of altering their constitution. I may be wrong about this … but I’m certain that there is not an overwhelming majority opposed to it anyway.

April 19, 2005 @ 4:09 am | Comment

Number 9,

Reminds me of one of my favorite shows of all time ‘The Prisoner’ starring Patrick McGoohan. ( seen more recently as ‘longshanks’ in Braveheart ) In The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan was called Number 6. The Prisoner doesn’t like the number designation and cries out “I am not a number, I am a free man!” At which point the voice of authority laughs and laughs. The nickname seems more logical and more suited to your writings now that I can think of you more of a ‘Number 6’ than an Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’ character. ๐Ÿ™‚

April 19, 2005 @ 6:14 am | Comment

My guess… The CCP orchestrated and allowed the anti-Japanese demonstrations.

The CCP every so often, uses this method to supposedly increase a sense of nationality.

It’s not really about what it is about.
This is just a side-show. A grand and wondrous side-show.

Richard, is your site blocked from China?

April 19, 2005 @ 11:34 am | Comment

To my knowledge this site is not blocked in China; they rarely block blogs in English. I have been told many times that my site was blocked for a few days, or that it loaded with agonizing slowness when I wrote about controversial things like the TS massacre. This site is too small for the CCP to bother with.

April 19, 2005 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

I agre with you about the ethics of having the most important body in the UN assigned on a permanent basis to 5 countries. But to give it to those countries that, as you suggest, give the most money, resources, manpower etc. would mean that only MEDCs could get a look inside. Are you suggesting that we resort to accepting bribery in selectingsuch countries?

April 19, 2005 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

Japan should get a seat at the security council, but only if Germany and India get it too. The only reason the US is so actively supporting Japan is because thanks to Bush they can no longer count on France as an ally and tip the balance of power in their favour at the ‘party of five’ at the UN. Realpolitik is an equal opportunity game played by all. China is not the only country with a political motive.

April 19, 2005 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

***COUGH*** schtickyrice …
Because of Bush, USA can no longer count on France as an ally … ***COUGH***
Are you kidding? WHEN has France ever been a reliable ally for anyone?

April 19, 2005 @ 11:13 pm | Comment


Frailty and the intelligentsia do go hand in hand.. you should see a doctor about that nasty cough of yours. Freedom fries aside, I do see your point about France’s track record regarding teamwork. All I am saying is that Bush has seriously damaged US relations with continental Europe, which I believe is an unnecessary mistake.

April 20, 2005 @ 5:00 pm | Comment

True enough that France has always been a loose canon and tough to deal with. But let’s give them one thing — they were completely right when they said there wasn’t adequate proof of WMDs in Iraq to justify war.

That aside, America has alays managed to maintain good relations with France even at the most trying times. It is only under Bush that our relations with Europe in general and France in particular has disintegrated. You can’t blame it all on the French. Well, I guess you can, but you’d only be fooling yourself.

April 20, 2005 @ 5:22 pm | Comment

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