Government role in the anti-Japan protests?

Definitely makes you wonder:

The last time such a march happened in Beijing was on May 9, 1999, when Chinese students marched from Haidian to the US Embassy, to protest against the US Airforce bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. During that protest, stones and molotov cocktails were thrown over the embassy walls, but the police chased everyone away once the point had been made.

The 1999 protests were organized with tacit consent and perhaps organizational encouragment from the authorities. It seems that today’s protest is similar: state-owned news agency’s Chinese website had an anti-Japanese headline for most of this morning…

You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to figure out what’s going on here.

The Discussion: 35 Comments

I’m going to agree with the previous poster nightal. The attempts to pass off the source of the protests simply to the government smacks of hollow reductionism. How difficult is it to process the fact that many Chinese just don’t like the Japs?

April 10, 2005 @ 12:24 pm | Comment

I don’t think the government is necessarily the source. But there is virtually no doubt that they have given the demonstrations their tacit blessings.

April 10, 2005 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

I just MSN-ed someone close to Chinese propaganda regime, and he assures me that everything is under control. He calls it ‘government action’.

Let’s put it this way: the anger is genuine, but the expression of it is prescribed and filled in the right dosage. Perhaps the most beautiful thing is, since everyone volunteered, the government doesn’t need to pay any overtime!

April 10, 2005 @ 1:01 pm | Comment

The Chinese government may very well have given their tacit approval (it seems likely) but I wonder if they will be able to control what has been unleashed?

April 10, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

so what if the government did give tacit blessing? should they crack down on the demonstrators? there were similar protests in south korea, i don’t see the media implying tacit blessing by the south korean government, so why is there pressure from the media for china to act differently?

April 10, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

Other Lisa: hatred for japs is not new, nor is it limited within china…

April 10, 2005 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

Of course it’s not new, and it’s easy to understand why it exists. What’s unique is how the Chinese on the Mainland deal with it compared with other victims of Japanese atrocities.

April 10, 2005 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

Other Lisa:

Things are always under control until it’s out of control ๐Ÿ™‚

The guy who broke it to me is more CCP-savy than I can be. He is part of the regime. He has been right many times before, so probably he is right again.

April 10, 2005 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

Richard:

Admit it: the Chinese protesters turn more thuggish and it begins to surface in world media, and YOU DON’T LIKE IT. Why not?

You need to psycho-analyse it.

April 10, 2005 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

there were similar protests in south korea, i don’t see the media implying tacit blessing by the south korean government,

Simple. The Republic of Korea is a free nation where people can take to streets and protest whatever they want. They protested against US military presence, against Kim Jung Il, for Kim Jung Il, etc etc.

April 10, 2005 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

I don’t think the government should “crack down on the demonstrators” but I do think the government should prevent violence and destruction of property. What happens if that gets out of hand? And how will a protest about another issue be handled? It’s dangerous, I think, to encourage protests when they suit a certain official objective and then turn around and clamp down when they don’t. That kind of cognitive dissonance does not encourage respect for authority…and of course, though I’d like to see the energy of these protests go in a more positive direction (freedom of expression, greater democracy, all that swell stuff), there’s no guarantee at all that they will…

April 10, 2005 @ 1:42 pm | Comment

anonymous: so what if the government did give tacit blessing? should they crack down on the demonstrators? there were similar protests in south korea, i don’t see the media implying tacit blessing by the south korean government, so why is there pressure from the media for china to act differently?

Funny (strange) comment. Who said they should crack down? The point is, those demonstrations would never have existed let alone gained so much support without a wink and a nod from the government, and even some active support, as referenced in this post. So an important aspect of this story is, I beliueve, how the CCP uses Japan-bashing as a tool, letting its people release steam while appearing to be tolerant (“Look, they let their people demonstrate!”). Of course, if they were demonstrating against the CCP’s censorship or suppression, I suspect the government would be far less accommodating. While the anger at the Japanese is to a large degree understandable, I think it is being used as a diversionary tactic. The CCP welcomes the opportunity to turn the focus off of themselves and onto a common enemy. If not, as I said, they would have nipped this in the bud, the way they do most other demonstrations.

Per your other point: Of course the media aren’t talking about Korea in similar terms — the Koreans are protesting this in an organized way, full of emotion and symbolic gestures, but not full of fantacism or violence (that I know of). And if you don’t think the Chinese appear fanatical to the world on this topic, you’d better do some research — little has damaged China’s appearance in the eyes of the world like its obsession with Japan.

April 10, 2005 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

Bellevue: Admit it: the Chinese protesters turn more thuggish and it begins to surface in world media, and YOU DON’T LIKE IT. Why not?
You need to psycho-analyse it.

I honestly don’t understand what you’re saying? What is there to psychoanalyse? Mindless violence sucks, no matter who is doing it.

April 10, 2005 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

“the Koreans are protesting this in an organized way, full of emotion and symbolic gestures, but not full of fantacism or violence (that I know of).”

On TV news, I saw a South Korean guy light himself afire, another chop his finger off…What do you call that?

April 10, 2005 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

On TV news, I saw a South Korean guy light himself afire, another chop his finger off…What do you call that?

April 10, 2005 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

oops, sorry…hit the wrong button.

April 10, 2005 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

I call it stupid self-mutilation. I suggest we all avoid such tactics. Of course, it hurts no one but the jerk who does it, but it doesn’t make them look very rational.

It’s good to see the media reporting these things and it’s proof they’re not just ganging up on the Chinese. Whoever acts in a way that’s strange, violent or disturbing will get their coverage, too.

April 10, 2005 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

I was going to say, “seriously unhinged” or “evidence that this person does not have enough going on in his life” but could not come up with sufficiently pithy snark.

The property destruction going on in these Chinese protests isn’t unusual for a demonstration, unfortunately (see the anti-globalization protests in Seattle, for example), but it seems that in general it isn’t the best way to win international support for your message.

April 10, 2005 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Richard: But you don’t see it as fanaticism on the part of South Koreans?

Quoting an eye witness (Willem van Kemenade) to the Beijing rally:

“The embassy yard was undoubtedly a garbage belt of assorted projectiles, but no major damage was done. Any press reports or Japanese news bulletins who imply or assert so, and I have seen some, exaggerate or misinform for whatever reason.”

IMO, the South Koreans are far more fanatic about the encroaching Japanese nationalism (see recent news on Dokdo, Yasukuni demonstrations).

Whether the demonstrators are pawns of the government is not revelant, because no one in the Chinese government prodded them to demonstrate. This is a problem brought on by the Japanese.

April 10, 2005 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

I admit I haven’t been following the demonstrations as closely in Korea. What I had read earlier said they were burning things in front f the Japanese embassy. If they are being violent I’m against that, too. But who is their violence directed against? It they, too, are emulating the Chinese example of random attacks against anything that looks Japanese, I’ll condemn that very loudly. If they are burning a flag or a figure in effegy near an embassy, that’s another story. (The truth is, however, that I focus on China and don’t watch Korea nearly as closely.)

Thanks for the report on the violence by the Koreans. It’s good to see that they are getting the bad publicity they deserve if they resort to mindless violence. Two wrongs never make a right, and I’m glad to see they’re getting criticized for it.

April 10, 2005 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

“Two wrongs never make a right”

i agree with that totally. my point is that the negtivity towards the japanese is deep-rooted not just in china, but most of asia as well. and as far as i can tell, most of the demonstrators behaved properly. i contend the source of the problem stems from the japanese, and can only be solved by the japanese. giving a formal apology for war time atrocities would be a good begining.

April 10, 2005 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

Okay; we’re getting somewhere. What you say is true. And the callousness of Japanese leaders toward this subject is shameful.

But there is the whole separate issue which I started writing about months ago, and that is the psychopathic rage of young Chinese men (and they’re usually men) who literally devote their lives to the cause of hating and deframing the Japanese. Web sites, hate literature, demonstrations, bulletn-board posts, etc., etc. — it’s what they live for, and now we see how it can get out of control. The textbooks are incidental. This hatred is always brewing, a noxious formula that can result in nothing positive because it’s fired by one of our ugliest emotions, vengeance. The textbooks gave them an excuse to bring the rage out onto the streets, where we can all see just how ugly it is.

That leads us to the second phenomenon, that of the CCP turning a relative blind eye and even subtly endorsing the demonstrations. This is also a topic I’ve tracked for some time here. The government usually displays a near-insane paranoia about demonstrations of any kind, lest it distrupt “harmony.” That it takes such a different approach to anti-Japanese demonstrations says something, at least to me — their very silence is encouragement. But I’ve made this point more than once alread; sorry if it’s redundant.

April 10, 2005 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

“Two wrongs never make a right”

i agree with that totally. my point is that the negtivity towards the japanese is deep-rooted not just in china, but most of asia as well. and as far as i can tell, most of the demonstrators behaved properly. i contend the source of the problem stems from the japanese, and can only be solved by the japanese. giving a formal apology for war time atrocities would be a good begining.

Posted by at April 10, 2005 03:07 PM

Well said, stranger. =)

April 10, 2005 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

Richard:

I mean maybe you are too emotionally invested, in my view, in the objects you are supposed to report.

You don’t like to see Chinese people to be shown in such a disgraceful way, right? Because you loved them! But they failed you.

April 10, 2005 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

I may not put it in exactly the same words, bellevue. I think they failed themselves. They’ve been convinced that this kind of self-righteous protesting will bring some sort of benefit, when in reality it’s just a tool to keep them diverted from things that really matter and to give them some release. It reminds me of Charles Johnson in Little Green Cesspoools whiping up hatred of Muslims, and his commenters really believe it’s a valuable exercise, havinng no idea how repellent it appears to the civilized world.

April 10, 2005 @ 5:15 pm | Comment

Other Lisa:

I’m sure you don’t need to worry about the authority there. It’s more than secured. If the mob turns against the government, CCP has tanks and machine guns and they will not hesitate a second to put them in use.

April 10, 2005 @ 5:15 pm | Comment

That parallel is more than accurate, Richard. On Chinese BBS there are lots of talks by the protesters themselves about they figured they could give the government some weight by providing ‘public support’ to veto the Japan UN bid. So they think their violence is for a noble cause. And, in Chinese thinking, some Chinese dressed up in kimono are more dispicable than true Japanese, and it warrants any kinds of violence.

April 10, 2005 @ 5:27 pm | Comment

The 1999 protests were organized with tacit consent and perhaps organizational encouragment from the authorities.

Accurate. For example, a then-Peking University student reports that the government provided transportation and other convenience for 1999 demonstrators. He saw it through, and in refusal to be a ‘useful idiot’ of the regime, he and other got there in taxicab to evaluate the damage. BTW, this guy scored a perfect GRE (2400) and now studies at Stanford. Thank God, America can always get the best and the brightest.

April 10, 2005 @ 5:39 pm | Comment

Bellevue you are such a tool. I know Richard doesn’t like people using his blog to rant in light of the conflict between Bingfeng and you which I was at first indifferent to. Now I realize that Bingfeng was right all along and you are a massive tool like those falun-dafa stooges. Don’t you have some fliers to be passing out on some street corner or some self-loathing TSU meeting to attend? Wu Sangui or Wang Jingwei, whatever names one can call you, they all fit. Keep wallowing in your self-serving self-righteousness all you want Bellevue.

April 10, 2005 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

Gagged

Regardless of whether the anti-Japanese protests on Saturday were tacitly government approved or not, the Beijing authorities are wary of things going too far too quickly: BEIJING MEDIA COLLECTIVELY SILENT ON PROTESTS MONDAY, 11 APRIL, LAST UPDATED 05:…

April 10, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

Wu Sangui or Wang Jingwei, whatever names one can call you

Jing,

Right on, I am glad other people beginning to see what we saw all along.
=)

April 10, 2005 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

Whoa, this thread has taken a decidedly interesting turn. Bellevue =
Wang Jing Wei et al. How is that supported or proven?

Bellevue, who says Richard is “supposed to report” anything. Is he a paid reporter? If not, I guess he can approach how he writes as he wants. I would say if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

anonymous.
It would be more courageous of you to give a name.

How can you be so sure “no one in the Chinese government prodded them to demonstrate?” Perhaps if the government did not, the CCP did. Do you have a comment on that?

Why is it no one wants to come right out and say, “the Chinese government and CCP not only condoned the anti-Japanese protests, but actively promoted and organized them.” You won’t, but I will. I truly believe these protests, on their scale and location, could not have happened without either the CCP, the government or both actively being involved. First location, during the Anti-Japanese war, Shenzhen may not have existed, except as a fishing village. Why didn’t the Chinese in Hong Kong do a protest where Japan businesses and goods
would have been a huge target. And for that matter, why didn’t the ethnic Chinese on Taiwan, in the Phillippines, Indonesia or Malaysia protest where tehy with the native population was brutalized. At least I have seen not reports of that.

Where were the most of the Japanese brutality and attacks? Well, there was Nanking, there was the Chunking bombardments, Shanghai saw its share of the worst of the Japanese soldiers and the central area of China was fought over for much of the Japanese occupation of China. Were there any protest in those cities or locations? Why isn’t the entirety of China in the Japanese conquored areas involved in the protests? I suggest because the controllers, the government/CCP did not want them to be.

April 11, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

Jing: Feel free to join those cowards chanting whatever you want, but be careful, don’t throw rocks. otherwise CCP’s collateral damage could include you. BTW, be sure to bring up your Zhanzhuzheng.

April 11, 2005 @ 1:21 am | Comment

recently i learned a new english word – “hate blog”.

i don’t know for others, but i am pretty sure that bellevue the gentleman’s future blog will 100% sure belongs to this “hate blog” category.

April 11, 2005 @ 7:53 am | Comment

How did Falun dafa get into all of this? Cult or not, they have the right to exist. Cult or religion is in the eye of the beholder and who’s to say if your personal belief or philosophy should not be considered a cult too? Tool or not, and I’ve always wondered about their seemingly substantial financial backing, there wouldn’t be anything to exploit if China was democratic and respected basic human rights. The problem is not just with the CCP, but a more basic one regarding Chinese society at large and its general disrespect for the sanctity of life. Throwing the hanjian label around to discredit those who you disagree with is not going to help make China a stronger nation or a better place.

April 11, 2005 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

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