Japan apologizes to China – again

Japan apologized for the umpteenth time today about its brutality to the Chinese during WWII. Needless to say, it won’t change anything because there will always be a condition attached by the CHinese.

Japan’s prime minister apologized Friday for his country’s World War II aggression in Asia in a bid to defuse tensions with regional rival China, but a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the apology needed to be backed up with action after Japanese lawmakers made a controversial visit to a war shrine.

Just hours before Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized, a Cabinet minister and more than 80 Japanese lawmakers visited a Tokyo shrine to Japan’s war dead. China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction over the negative actions of some Japanese politicians” in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which also honor’s Japan’s executed war criminals.

“That President Koizumi expressed this attitude in this arena is welcome. We welcome it,” ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters at a summit of Asian and African leaders. “But to express it is one aspect. What’s of much more importance is the action. You have to make it a reality.”

So Japanese leaders have to stop visiting a war shrine — if they just do that, then everything will be dandy. But the Chinese know this isn’t something they can negotiate. To the Japanese, I suspect it would be similar to asking a US president never to go to Arlington National Cemetery. (And don’t tell me how evil the people buried there are — I know. The shrine is still a symbol of national honor and to give in on this would be intolerably humiliating, and we all know it.) It’s a self-imposed sticking point designed to keep the tension alive for either present or future use.

I believe based on what I’m reading that Hu genuinely wants to come to an agreement with the Japanese and end the present hostilities. It’s good business. But I see virtually no evidence that the Chinese truly want to let this go.

Japan bashing is a cottage industry to which some have dedicated their lives. If they don’t have this outlet, where do they focus their energy? It has played a successful role in rallying the troops, and the leaders won’t just give it up, no matter how much they say they only want a “sincere” apology. When I read a story like this, I have to suspect that is exactly what the government doesn’t want.

The Discussion: 119 Comments

There’s also the fact that the shrine isn’t actually owned by the government, a point obviously lost on the CCP, so even though it is a historically important place, the government can’t order the owners to remove certain people from the honor roles there. It can request it, it has requested it, and the request has been ignored. And that’s where it ends. Not surprisingly, this isn’t understood in China, where rule of law doesn’t exist.

Another point lost on the CCP is that neither the Prime Minister nor the government can control individual politicians or political sub-factions if they want to go somewhere or disagree strongly enough with someone. Open plurality of political opinion doesn’t exist legally in China, but in a democracy it’s encouraged and tolerated even if one disagrees with the opinions rendered.

April 22, 2005 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

http://tinyurl.com/9p4xq

April 22, 2005 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

“Another point lost on the CCP is that neither the Prime Minister nor the government can control individual politicians or political sub-factions if they want to go somewhere or disagree strongly enough with someone. ”

Frankly, this kind of argument is simply nonsense. It is the “official” visit to the shrine by Japanese prime minister that really plunged china-japan relationship to today’s low point. To claim the prime minister can not do much is, to put it mildly, laughable.

Please remember, the motion to set up separate national shrine with those class A criminals was voted down repeatly with prime minister’s support.

April 22, 2005 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

You’re proving the point JR, that you’ll only accept an apology on terms you know Japan cannot accept. Could it be because the Japan bashing actually feels good in a way? Like, it’s something some people don’t really want to give up?

April 22, 2005 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

I think it’s not completely out of the question for the prime ministers of Japan to stop visiting the Yasukuni shrine. After the class A war criminals were enshrined in 1979, the Emperor of Japan stopped paying visits to the shrine. Between 1979 and 2000, only 2 of 12 Japanese prime ministers paid visits to the shrine: Nakasone (1985) and Hashimoto(1996) each paid one visit. The current prime minister Koizumi has gone far beyond what anyone else have done by visiting 4 times (2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004). This, IMO, is largely responsible for the sudden rise of anti-Japan feelings in China and Korea in the last few years.

April 22, 2005 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

No need to worry about CCP and its cronies. They won’t accept it as an apology that they are ready to accept, never ever. Why should they want to be deprived of such a convenient WMD – weapon of massive deception?

April 22, 2005 @ 6:30 pm | Comment

The recent violent demonstrations are misguided and disgraceful, but lets not minimize Tojo & co.’s internment at the Yasukuni shrine. The Arlington national cemetery analogy is dead wrong. I don’t know if there’s a German equivalent but if a monument did exist for the victims of WWII, I doubt Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels & co.’s presence would be tolerated by the rest of the Western world.

This is why the mindless violence of late is so damaging. Koizumi’s annual pilgrimage should be met with silent candlelight vigils in front of the Japanese embassy. Period.

April 22, 2005 @ 6:51 pm | Comment

Wait a minute — I never said Arlington is equivalent to Yasukuni. Here is what I said:

To the Japanese, I suspect it would be similar to asking a US president never to go to Arlington National Cemetery. (And don’t tell me how evil the people buried there are — I know.

Key words: “to the Japanese.” There is no comparison in terms of who is buried in the respective cemetieries. One is good, one is bad. I was just comparing them as places that hold strong emotional sway to their people. Of course, by putting so much emphasis on the shrine, the Chinese are going to force the Japanese to dig in their heels and hold their ground, if only so as not to lose face.

April 22, 2005 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

It is not just about the 14 class A war criminals in the shrine and the politicians worshiping them.

The majority of the 2.47 million soliders died in other countries’ lands and the large number of ordinary Japanese spontaneously make their pilgrimage to them.

April 22, 2005 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

What happened in WWII (in both Asia and Europe) should never be forgotten. These were very painful lessons for all of humanity. The current tension between Japan and her Asian neighbors is an argument over the meaning of these lessons. The constant trivialization of this aspect by Westerners is frustrating and puzzling to me. Why is there so much attention focused on the behavior of a handful of hooligans when the vast majority of the marchers were completely peaceful? If the Chinese are silly for making such a big deal about a textbook used in less than 1% of Japanese schools, then why make such a fuss over the behavior of less than one in a million?

April 22, 2005 @ 7:56 pm | Comment

What the f*ck! If anything, the Chinese government should apologize to their own people for the mass murders (we are talking about tens of millions of Chinese) they committed during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and for killing thousands of people during the peaceful pro-democracy movement in 1989. I don’t see them take that damn picture of Mao off the wall at Tiananmen Square??? What hypocrites!!! Wake up, you are being brainwashed and controlled over and over again and don’t even realize it!!!

April 22, 2005 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

If you do something stupid and hurt yourself, you remember it and try to avoid having it happen again. You don’t apologize to yourself. If someone assaults you and hurt you, you expect a sincere apology before you can become friends or have normal relations with that person again.

April 22, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

“Could it be because the Japan bashing actually feels good in a way? Like, it’s something some people don’t really want to give up?”

The joy of country-bashing? Is that some new form of S/M fetish. I can understand but I DONT want to know.

๐Ÿ™‚

April 22, 2005 @ 8:50 pm | Comment

As I said, Hui Mao, China will simply never find Japan’s apology sincere enough. There’s nothing the Japanese can do. They fucked up, they were evil, the had two atomic bombs dropped on them in return and became a good global citizen even if some of their textbooks were right while some were wrong. And there’s no excusing the wrong ones. But they have apologized, and it’s up to the Chinese now to demonstrate their maturity and intelligence by accepting it. That’s all they need to do, and the eyes of the world would look on them with far more approving eyes, with some real respect. But no, China can’t do that It has too much invested. And so the BS goes on and on and on, a never-ending vicious circle of childish shrieks and taunts.

April 22, 2005 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

Richard,

How about the Korean people, are they just as biased as the Chinese??? And will never japans apology sincere enough?

“Outside Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed deep remorse for Japan aggression against neighboring Asian countries at the Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta on Friday.
At the same time, however, 80 Japanese lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine to pay homage to the Japanese war criminals from World War II.

A legislator says, โ€œThe prime minister was not available to come here since he is on a trip.โ€”

For me, I was happy last night when I heard the pm apologize to the war victims… UNTIL this morning, I read that they also visited the war criminal shrine the same day. Does that signal a defiant/ reluctant kind of an apology? I don’t know. But if it is meant to be insincere, I prefer them not to apologize at all, do you disagree?

Koreans have spoken out as quoted above but what is the CCP official reaction? Did they say anything in response to that apology.

April 22, 2005 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

There are more than just Japans soldiers from WWII enshrined at Yasukuni.

“The shrine was founded in 1869 as Tokyo Shokonsha, and was renamed Yasukuni Shrine in 1879. It was built in order to commemorate and worship those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives to help build the foundation for a peaceful Japan (the meaning of Yasukuni is “peaceful country”). ”

I’ve yet to hear Prime Minister Koizumi say anything about specifically visiting the shrine in order to pay respect to soldiers for killing Chinese people.

Other countries may view the soldiers enshrined at Yasukuni to be “war criminals”, but to Japan they are simply soldiers who served their country.

The Chinese should understand this, they still worship Mao.

Japan should tell China to take its own advice: “Stay out of ‘our’ internal affairs”.

April 22, 2005 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

Hiu Mao, what you are saying sounds like: “It’s okay for one’s own family to abuse and hurt their own children but when someone else does it, you expect an apology, but you yourself don’t apologize to your own children for what you did wrong.” If you don’t do the right thing for your own country, how can you expect other countries to respect you.

April 22, 2005 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

Thanks for the smart points, NEO and Gordon.

April 22, 2005 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

Neo,

If you don’t do the right thing for your own country, how can you expect other countries to respect you. Does your statement also answer why US is not respected by the world anymore?

April 22, 2005 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

JR,

Exactly! I’ve never supported the Iraqi War and I despise Bush for it!

April 22, 2005 @ 9:38 pm | Comment

Gordon,

Japan should tell China to take its own advice: “Stay out of ‘our’ internal affairs”.

Should we also let the German neo nazis get out of hand also?

April 22, 2005 @ 9:38 pm | Comment

NEO,

I am 100% with you on that.

April 22, 2005 @ 9:40 pm | Comment

“China will simply never find Japan’s apology sincere enough. There’s nothing the Japanese can do. They fucked up, they were evil, the had two atomic bombs dropped on them in return and became a good global citizen even if some of their textbooks were right while some were wrong. ” It’s easy for you to think Japan as a “good global citizen” because this country never dared to do anything to harm or humiliate your country even if your country dropped two A-bombs on its land and killed and raped Japanese citizens time and again on its own land. It’s really hard for a reasonable person not to regard such a graceful country which is so peaceful as to be willing to pay foreign troops to defend its citizens for more than half a century as a “good global citizen”.

“It’s okay for one’s own family to abuse and hurt their own children but when someone else does it, you expect an apology, but you yourself don’t apologize to your own children for what you did wrong.” Who tell you that Chinese people had forgiven this govt for the crimes committed and don’t want an apology? They are still waiting for the right time, the only reason they don’t get it is only because now is still not the time for them to rise up, to demand an apology from the govt openly because you know what might happen if they do so and I don’t believe a foreigner who really cares about China and its people would be thrilled to see another TAM slaughter.
To put it simple, being humiliated by the govt while remaining silent doesn’t mean that they should remain silent when being humiliated by Japan. You know why if you have a heart. If only the blood of tens of thousands of Chinese can justify a demonstration, then I doubt there will be any justifiable demonstration in China. If you want us to bleed more only to meet your standard of a matured country, then I doubt whether you are matured enough.

April 22, 2005 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

If you do something stupid and hurt yourself, you remember it and try to avoid having it happen again. You don’t apologize to yourself.

See, the real problem is here. The millions of Chinese and Tibentans died because of CCP atrocity, not due to self-inflicted wound. Since when those victims have become CCP’s another ‘self’?

If you can not seek justice on individual basis, you always risk justifying killings on a collective ground. That’s exactly what CCP has been doing. Remember the most disgusting CCP-is-the-mother-who-wronged-her-children line? Seems like someone still buys it. Well, chances are he/she is one such child!

April 22, 2005 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

Mainlander,

I think you misunderstood me totally. I’m criticizing the Chinese government, NOT the Chinese people, for not being brave and “matured” enough to come out and admit the atrocities they committed against their own people. It is your Chinese government’s maturity that you should be questioning, not mine.

April 22, 2005 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

bellevue,

Don’t let your hate of CCP blind your eye. Chinese people went on street successfully only because CCP didn’t do much to stop it. If you really know China you will realize how many other demonstrations was strangled in the cradle.
The saddest thing about this demonstration was that it happened to be the one against a foreign govt instead of a home govt, which disappointed many China-lovers who only love China when the people there are bleeding to death.

April 22, 2005 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

Richard,

It’s difficult for Chinese people to believe Japan has sincerely faced up to its past when there are constant Japanese actions that seem to indicate the contrary. Each of these actions might be pretty minor by itself and can be brushed aside as an isolated event or the works of a crazy fringe, but taken together they paint a picture of a nation that has not fully came to terms with the past. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen

– Japan’s largest newspaper the Daily Yomiuri conclusively “prove” that comfort women went into service voluntarily

– big budget movies that glorify Japan’s “liberation” of Asia

– territorial claims based on the glory days of Japan’s Empire

– talk by top politicians about dividing up China into 7 pieces and boasting about destroying the Chinese navy in 30 minutes instead of the day long battle that it took in 1894

– dramatically stepped up Yasukuni visits (as I pointed out earlier, these visits were rare before Koizumi took power)

– government giving approval to right-wing textbooks (I don’t buy the freedom of speech argument; for decades Japan censored textbooks that mentioned atrocities that it didn’t want to be known. It was only in 1997 when textbooks mentioning unit 731’s germ warfare and experimentation with live humans were allowed to be published)

– repeated Japanese court decisions against victims of Japan’s atrocities and colonial rule.

There are many many other examples that will take too long to list. Maybe Chinese people are just too sensitive. Would a different group of people under the same circumstances believe that Japan has fully and sincerely faced up to it’s past?

April 22, 2005 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

First define what is the Japanese word for “Apology/Apologize”! Don’t be fooled by the English translation. I would think the true apology should use the word “sha za i” or “chin sha”, however, when you look into all the so called “apologizing” speechs by the Japanese political heavyweights, you can only get words like “zen nen”. These words are not sincere apology, even though when translated, they are “remorse” or “regret”. It is a game of words by the sly Japanese politicians. Learn some Japanese before you really understand the ambiguity of Japanese language.

April 22, 2005 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

Wrxys,

You have a good point. I remembered clearly after the spy plane incident. Right wingers in US wanted to make sure Bush’s apology to China was a “personal” one (not national) and the use of the term was “regret” not “sorry”. Then the right wing pundits started to make fun of the CCP for translatiing the English word “regret” into “very sorry” in Chinese to save their own “face”. It was disgusting.

April 22, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

wrxys & JR,

I have to admit that Japanese Prime Minister was very careful in his choice of words for the apology speech–without using the words such as “apology”, “apologize” or “sorry” and directing them towards China in particular–but you have to give him credit for admitting that “Japan squarely faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility.” I strongly hope that in his upcoming meeting with President Hu Jintao, he will make a more sincere apology to China directly. That said, I wonder when will it be China’s government’s turn to come out of the closet and wipe off their hypocrisy and admit to their own atrocities against the Chinese people…I doubt in will be in this century!

April 23, 2005 @ 12:41 am | Comment

Mainlander: I never said or even think the CCP regime has a legitimate right to crackdown the anti-Japan protests. Not for any peaceful demonstration.

What’s disturbing was the hooligan violence involved in those demonstrations, along with its racist slogans. BTW, how many times did you see a non-government sponsored protest turned violent? The 1989 protects were absolutely peaceful.

Do you know among the 20,000+ protesters taking to the Shanghai streets last weekend, 10,000 were actually plain-clothed policemen?

April 23, 2005 @ 12:46 am | Comment

I have to say, there’s really no excuse for the Japanese Prime Minister (I can’t spell his name off the top of my head) to go the Yasukuni Shrine. He really is pandering to his own right wing by doing so. If he wishes to pay his respects to all those who have died in service of Japan, then move the Class A war criminals. It dishonors Japan’s war dead for them to share their temple with people who committed atrocities in Japan’s name.

I think if the Japanese government would do this one, relatively simple thing, it would do much to show that they sincerely regret the crimes committed by Japan in the Second World War.

And if it’s true that the Japanese government has no control over who is interned in the shrine, then there’s simply no excuse for the Japanese Prime Minister to go there. It’s needlessly provocative, and shows that the Japanese prime minister is either arrogant or hopelessly beholden to Japan’s own “neo-conservatives.”

April 23, 2005 @ 12:47 am | Comment

bellevue,

“Do you know among the 20,000+ protesters taking to the Shanghai streets last weekend, 10,000 were actually plain-clothed policemen?”

Thank you for pointing this out, bellevue. This goes to prove that the demonstrations were orchestrated none other than the Chinese government!

April 23, 2005 @ 12:56 am | Comment

wrxys: You don’t need the word “shazai” for an apology, either in daily speech (where the word is never used in apologies to my knowledge) or political apologies. That is a silly idea and we need to stop spreading it.

April 23, 2005 @ 2:33 am | Comment

Is it a bit too barefaced for many of you here that every time China has a conflict with other countries, your first reaction is to denounce the atrocities of CCP and virtually deny any rights of the Chinese people?

What you really care about is punishing the CCP under any circumstances, instead of the welfare of ordinary Chinese. I doubt if you’d very much like to see another bloody 6.4 to justify and satisfy your own stereotype of China and the CCP, rather than a stable and in your word authoritarian China to change and develop in its own way.

Everyone here has a specific background that determines his or her interest and which side he or she is with. There is no absolutely objective opinion in this world. When you make an accusation, you support one side and oppose the other. From this perspective, you might not be that barefaced and I can understand why you behave like that. I am Chinese and you are not. You non-Chinese are not accountable for the future of China and you behave for the maximum interest of yourself and your own country. Although sometimes you may claim you care about the ordinary Chinese, look into your heart, you know that is not true.

April 23, 2005 @ 3:00 am | Comment

A must read-Japan’s failure to own up to its past threatens its future-http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,7369,1468592,00.html

Finally a fair account of China-Japan row from a major western media.

April 23, 2005 @ 4:22 am | Comment

Bing, I totally see your point. If it weren’t China making demands from Japan, but any other country, people here wouldn’t complain so loudly about “Chinese immaturity.” I have yet to see any answer to JR’s question of whether Koreans are just as biased as the Chinese. It seems to me like every other country has a right to critize Japan, but not China.

Yes, the CCP evil; yes, it needs to apologize to its own citizens first; yes, the CCP may manipulate the population for its own ends. But what about recognizing the truth? Will Chinese people be denied their justice by another government in addition to their own? As another Chinese person, I sincerely feel sorry for China, because while the CCP is ruling China, ordinary Chinese people will never be taken seriously by outsiders, unless they are trying to defy the CCP.

April 23, 2005 @ 4:38 am | Comment

This article is at least something that did not exist in Western media before.

April 23, 2005 @ 4:54 am | Comment

Bing,

“I am Chinese and you are not. You non-Chinese are not accountable for the future of China and you behave for the maximum interest of yourself and your own country. Although sometimes you may claim you care about the ordinary Chinese, look into your heart, you know that is not true.”

Don’t make false judgements about our identities when you can’t even see who we are. I am Chinese and I am outraged about the atrocities committed by the Japanese during WWII. But at the same time, I am also outraged about the atrocities committed by the CCP against our own people. You can’t denounce one without the other…an atrocity is an atrocity, whether it is committed by a foreigner or by our own government. The Japanese government at least have the courage to come forward and show remorse for their crimes, be it sincere or not. But I don’t see any remorse from the CCP, nothing but hypocrisy–denouncing Japanese from going to worship their war criminals at their shrines but at the same time they are still glorifying Mao Zedong!!! How do you expect other countries to respect us like this?

April 23, 2005 @ 5:04 am | Comment

The greatest tragedy is that many Chinese people themselves still think Mao Zedong is their hero.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:09 am | Comment

This goes to prove that the demonstrations were orchestrated none other than the Chinese government!

I have a different reading on this, NEO. Even in 1989 lots of ‘protesters’ were actually working for government. The only diference is, last weekend the government was so eager to control the protest that the number of Gong’An they deployed became absurd.

My point is, even under such a controlled status, vandalism was still possible, which proves it must be condoned by the government. They see mob violence as a show of strength rather than shame, after over 50 years in power. In their view, China is at all-time glorious moment when she can break window glass of others and get away with it.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:22 am | Comment

NEO,

I don’t argue you on the past and presence of CCP.

Will you please just clarify one thing?

When Chinese are fighting for their justice from Japan, you talk about the atrocities committed by CCP. As a Chinese, what is your purpose then?

April 23, 2005 @ 5:29 am | Comment

I’m very frustrated to keep reading in these comments how “We (Chinese) suffered from Japs not you”. As someone who had family in POW camps fighting alongside Chinese against fascist aggression, I think we have some say in the matter. Or now that we helped you kick them out (pretty big help I might add), you can denigrate our sacrifices?

April 23, 2005 @ 5:34 am | Comment

When Chinese are fighting for their justice from Japan, you talk about the atrocities committed by CCP. As a Chinese, what is your purpose then?

I don’t know NEO’s answer, but in my case, I don’t want to be manipulated by CCP, and I don’t like double standard at all. My purpose is to see an equal opportunaty justice applied. Today’s Japan is a parliamentary democracy, while China still suffers from CCP’s corruption and dictatorship. CCP should not be given a license to kill only because they are Chinese too.

Japan’s war criminals were brought to Justice some 60 years ago. CCP’s crime has never been accounted for.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Bing,

“When Chinese are fighting for their justice from Japan, you talk about the atrocities committed by CCP. As a Chinese, what is your purpose then?”

My purpose? As I have said, in order to earn respects from foreigners, especially from Japanese, you have to have to admit to your crimes first before you seek justice from Japan. That way people don’t look at you as a hypocrite. Understand?

April 23, 2005 @ 5:44 am | Comment

I am pretty impressed with this site so far. However, it is not appropriate to call Japanese “Japs”. It suggests a racism, which you do not want be part of it.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:50 am | Comment

Keir:

I’m really perplexed for the ubiquitous accusations towards CCP and China in regardless of the context.

BTW thank you for what your family did for China.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:52 am | Comment

Friday’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer interviewed two academics on the Japan-China issue. One of the interviewee talks about the textbook this way:

Japan has really good history textbooks, and if you want to educate your own kids, you’ll choose Japanese one over Chinese one, every time.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:58 am | Comment

“My purpose? As I have said, in order to earn respects from foreigners, especially from Japanese, you have to have to admit to your crimes first before you seek justice from Japan. That way people don’t look at you as a hypocrite. Understand?”

Sorry for my retardance, can you clarify in your argument the two whos: WHO should admit their own crimes before WHO can seek justice?

April 23, 2005 @ 6:01 am | Comment

Bing,

I don’t know where you learn your English, but the “you” refers to us Chinese, seeking justice from the CCP first before you seek Justice from Japan!

April 23, 2005 @ 6:10 am | Comment

Does your us include both the CCP and ordinary Chinese?

BTW my English is realy poor, so forgive me if I got you wrong.

April 23, 2005 @ 6:13 am | Comment

That would be ordianry Chinese.

April 23, 2005 @ 6:16 am | Comment

Oh, I see.

In your argument, first the ordinary Chinese are repsonsible for what the CCP did to them. That is fine, lets assume it for now.

Second the ordinary Chinese have no right to seek justice from Japan because of the suffering they inflicted on themselves.

Hold on, does this mean a self-destructive person is open to attacks from others who are not to blame unless the person punishes himself first?

I admire your logic. How amazing it is!

April 23, 2005 @ 6:26 am | Comment

Bing,

I think I might have confused you with my first answer by saying “you have to admit to your crimes first before you seek justice from Japan.” What I meant to say is that the ordinary Chinese have to seek justice from the CCP first, since the ordinary Chinese people could not have been self-inflicted. My apology for the confusion.

April 23, 2005 @ 6:35 am | Comment

A girl in the custody of a step father, who humiliates, beats, starves and tortures her, knows this is not a father she wanted. She can’t resist because she is too young and dependent on him for her growth and dowry. She can’t leave either, because no one else will give her another home and the gangster around who raped her is still staring.

And what would you say to her in your logic? Something like: it’s your fault and it serves you right. No one will give you justice for that rape and protect you from that rapist unless you fight your monster guardian first.

Who is hypocrite? You or the girl?

April 23, 2005 @ 7:00 am | Comment

“You should seek justice from the CCP first before you seek Justice from Japan”. What a cheap argument! When we sacrificed our lives for freedom on TAM square, where were you? And you still think the young blood we shed was not red enough and you want us to fight against this armed-to-the-teeth regime with bare hands? And because Chinese people don’t want to cost their children’s lives to brave this govt, they are cowards and hypocrites, and cowards and hypocrites has no right to claim their right under any circumstance? I Don’t Understand your logic and I Strongly Doubt your motive for encouraging more bloodshed in a country which you claimed to love, but what I Have No Doubt is you will be the last to brave the CCP tanks and the first to embrace the Japanese banks!

April 23, 2005 @ 7:54 am | Comment

Bing,

Just as is is right now…both the CCP and the ordinary Chinese are hypocrites. So in your example, both the stepfather and the girl are hyporcites if the stepfather seeks justice from the gangsters and manipulates the girl to seek justice also, but at the same time continues to abuse her. The girl in this case seeks justice from the gangsters but not from the stepfather, so she becomes a hypocrite herself. That is how the people from the outside looking in.

April 23, 2005 @ 7:57 am | Comment

Even if you get apologies from the gangsters, in this case the Japanese, those apologies will never be sincere, knowing that the stepfather still abuse the girl.

April 23, 2005 @ 8:13 am | Comment

You are so right and your opinion only proves what I said before.

If I were that girl, I know, TO MY BENEFIT, I must put up with the step father if I couldn’t find a new guardian and at the same time seek justice from the gangster for the shame he put on me.

I don’t know what you would do if you were that girl.

I understand, as outsiders, just like many real world outsiders, they don’t really care about this girl. They are spectators, spectators who need the help of that gangster as their pawn and proxy in the doorsill of this monster step father.

The ordinary Chinese are not outsiders. They know what is for their best interest.

It is all right you insist on calling that hypocrisy if you are non Chinese. But I still want to remind you, this is common for all human beings in the world, the same for Americans, Britons, etc.

If you are or were Chinese and claim to care about China, calling those Chinese people, who behave for their best interest, hypocrites only makes you a real hypocrite and harms your own integrity.

April 23, 2005 @ 8:41 am | Comment

So, to summarise.
Japanese text books bad, but only small %, and not widely used.
Chinese reaction way over the top, and often ill informed, but with undoubted foundation in Japanese atrocities that everyone acknowledges were very bad, but also a long time ago.
Visits to shrine dubious, but not exactly something other countries have the right to dictate to Japan about.
Chinese don’t like having Chinese tell them what to think, but somehow miss the point when telling Japanese what to think.

Ummm … did I miss anything? Can the debate move on?

April 23, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Comment

Correction … “Chinese don’t like non-Chinese telling them what to think … ”

April 23, 2005 @ 9:28 am | Comment

Bing, hmmm…I don’t know? What would harm our integrity more…admitting our own people are hypocrites because they actually are OR being manipulated by the CCP and become a hypocrite and not admitting to their own crimes but demanding apologies from others?

April 23, 2005 @ 9:47 am | Comment

Is it a bit too barefaced for many of you here that every time China
has a conflict with other countries, your first reaction is to denounce
the atrocities of CCP and virtually deny any rights of the Chinese
people?

Another blanket generality unsupported by any evidence whatever. This argument never arose when discussing China’s problem with Japan over offshore oil. It never came up over China’s dealings with India. It is relevant to the discussion of Japan because we are talking about a country that inflicted mass misery on China, and the comparison with the mass misery inflicted on China by Mao makes a fair comparison. That’s why it comes up. The factors are similar: Millions die, no apology. Now, we can parse this around and say why the two situations are different, but there’s is more than enough here to justify the comparison.

To the commenter who said we shouldn’t use the word “Jap,” I agree, and request other commenters not use it.

JR, about Korea — the stories of how the Koreans reacted to Japan’s textbooks are out there and I have read many such articles. You don’t see them being discussed on this blog because I focus on China, but you will find plenty of posts about it on other blogs if you look. Some Koreans certainly were out of control last week and behaved like morons. I didn’t, however, see any signs of a government-sanctioned mass movement that threatened its relations with Japan.

April 23, 2005 @ 11:28 am | Comment

JR: Would a different group of
people under the same circumstances believe that Japan has fully and
sincerely faced up to it’s past?

Perhaps not. But they wouldn’t obsess over it and let it dominate their existences, causing them to take actions harmful to themseleves and their own country. At least not if the country was secure and self-confident. This is childishness, and isn’t how grown-ups act.

April 23, 2005 @ 11:34 am | Comment

Mainlander,

“I Don’t Understand your logic and I Strongly Doubt your motive for encouraging more bloodshed in a country which you claimed to love, but what I Have No Doubt is you will be the last to brave the CCP tanks and the first to embrace the Japanese banks!”

Thanks to Richard for his quotes from William French: “Never mind that for more than two decades, Japan has been a leading source of development assistance for China – to the tune of $30 billion in low interest loans – helping build everything from Shanghai’s futuristic airport to water systems in the country’s vast, impoverished west.”

Maindlander, I wonder who is embracing what??? Get your facts straight before you make accusations!

April 23, 2005 @ 11:50 am | Comment

But they wouldn’t obsess over it and let it dominate their existences, causing them to take actions harmful to themseleves and their own country.

These types of people are a tiny tiny minority, but somehow they receive a huge amount of coverage in the West.

April 23, 2005 @ 12:16 pm | Comment

“Never mind that for more than two decades, Japan has been a leading source of development assistance for China – to the tune of $30 billion in low interest loans – helping build everything from Shanghai’s futuristic airport to water systems in the country’s vast, impoverished west.”

Have you heard about something called COMPENSATION?

How much worth of treasury did Japan sack from China?

How much damage did Japan cause to China?

Sure those loans help a lot for China’s development. But they are not even COMPENSATIONs. They are loans, no matter how low the interest is, that you must pay back.

You are not a member of CCP or a Japanese. So when you put information like that, tell the full story please.

April 23, 2005 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

I just read the UK Guardian article JR mentioned – I think it puts some of these issues in perspective.

I saw a post on another blog from a Japanese perspective. The poster said that the Class A war criminals in the shrine were only “war criminals” because of the Allies’ post-war kangaroo court. I’m not knowledgable enough about those trials to fully judge that statement, but it strikes me as evidence of the lack of national soul searching in Japan about its role in WW2 that many here have cited.

Well, I’m sure there isn’t a country in the world that couldn’t do with more soul searching about its own history, mine most certainly included (especially right about now). But I think that comparing Japan and Germany on how this issue was handled is certainly instructive. I’m sure there are still residual worries about a strong Germany in a united Europe, but they are pretty residual at this point. Germany’s reunification provoked minimal fear among its neighbors, for example.

April 23, 2005 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

Regardless whether they are compensations or loans, Chinese still embraced them.

April 23, 2005 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

Unfortunately, that is how many appeared in their marches. I know the protestors aren’t all like that – many were there for amusement, fo the excitement and for sincere belief they were making a difference. Unfortunately, there are enough of the fanatics to draw a lot of attention to themselves, and it’s natural for the media to highlight them. Just like that guy in South Korea shooting a flaming arrowa t the Japanese embassy. He was certainly in the minority, but it symbolized a lot of the rage the people felt.

April 23, 2005 @ 1:03 pm | Comment

Thanks for the article, JR – it’s a good read, and Japan is definitely going to suffer for its arrogance. Now, if only we coud get creative and come up with a way to achieve justice without looking reckless or insecure.

April 23, 2005 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

Because I’m sort of congenitally even-handed, I’d say, Richard, that this way will emerge as China continues to develop and deal with its OWN recent history…I hope for the best.

April 23, 2005 @ 1:17 pm | Comment

Lisa, I sincerely hope so. My concern is, as stated in the post, that the government actually gets a benefit from this situation and is less than sincere in its efforts to heal the wounds.

April 23, 2005 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

And so it goes on … is it just me that feels that we’re all rehashing the same stuff?

And Bing … you just undermine your own arguments when you start saying stupid things like “you’re not a Chinese so you can’t understand” or “you’re not a member of the CCP or Japanese so … ”

Those kind of statements just say to me “this person has a weak argument, so they’re trying to shout the other person down.”

As for your point about the difference between loans and compensation … ever heard the saying “a rose is a rose by any other name”? Whether it’s called the name or not, everyone knows that’s why Japan keeps giving money to China … and yes, I do use the word “give” … think about it for yourself.

April 23, 2005 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

You’re right, FSN9,same old, same old. Time for a new topic.

Please check out the new debate going on in the thread directly below — MAJ makes some interesting comments about SARS that I absolutely know you will enjoy. Anyone familiar with the SARS outbreak of 2003, please let me know your thoughts! (Over there, not here, please.)

April 23, 2005 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

Bing,

I’m quite new to this blog, but from what I have read in your previous posts in this site, I see you keep repeating phrases like “you non-Chinese”, “I am Chinese and you are not Chinese”…it is very infantile, you know. As I understand, you were only in middle school when 6/4 happened, so don’t even tell the readers here that you know everything about China and the CCP. Did you experience the Communist Revolution? Did you experience the Great Leap Forward? Did you you experience the Cultural Revolution? Hell, it is fortunate that you did not experience any of the above, otherwise you would not have been here since tens of millions were killed during those periods. All you care about is the advancement and best interest of China now regardless of how the CCP was in the past or is in the present, it is how most readers here portray you.

April 23, 2005 @ 5:01 pm | Comment

in many ways Hitler brought a lot of good things to germany, especially in the initial period of “third reich”, and no doubt, Hitler himself believed he was fighting for the german nation.

should germans also worship Hitler as a “war dead fighting for german nation”?

and as an internal issue, should the rest of the world not interfere this?

April 23, 2005 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

Bing, you avoided all of Neo’s points and changed the topic.

April 23, 2005 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

talking about “apology”, i want to know if japan says “i am sorry for the past wrong-doings” but at the same time refuses to compensate former sex slaves, refuses to indicate the locations of japanese chemical weapons left in china and lets dozens of chinese killed by those weapons in recent years, launches text books glorifying its militaristic past, etc., do you think this is an “apology” at all.

the answer is so obvious

i have no other explainations but one for the different attitutes of chinese and westerner towards japanese “apology” – the west, especially the US, is so emotionally connected with its ally in asia that sometimes blind its eyes with the it-is-SOB-but-it-is-our-SOB mentality.

BTW, i am bingfeng, not Bing. we are two different persons.

April 23, 2005 @ 9:40 pm | Comment

just to remind

there is another possible “backfire” – if US allows the right-wing super nationalistic sentiments develop in japan, someday in the future, these guys will f**k US when they feel they are strong enough

April 23, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

Sorry about confusing your name, bingfeng. And I agree about the dangers the ultra-right-wingers in the US pose in regard to China and just about everything else.

I think all the topics you raise are things we have gone over multiple times and that everyone here has spoken up about. We have every conceiveable point of view, and there’s also a lot of polarization. So I’m not sure what the point is of going on and on, simply repeating the same charges and counter-charges.

April 23, 2005 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

uh guys, i’m quite confused. what are we arguing about here? do the ordinary chinese citizens have a right to protest against japan? i think we’d all agree yes. has the ccp done bad things? yes. are violence in protests condoned? no. so what’s the problem? are the protests a result of ccp manipulation of ordinary chinese? has japan done enough as a country to show their remorse/regret/applogy? for the former, let me say this: whatever form of gov’t china might have, there would still be anti-japan feelings in china. you can see this by looking at south korea, a model democracy. for the latter, well… i don’t think the japanese can ever do enough to repay the damage. but there is a clear differnce between german laws forbidding the denial of holocaust and japan saying things like we’re a democracy so the gov’t has no power over the shrine or individuals who visit them, or history books or who writes/adopts them. from that perspective, i think japan hasn’t done enough to show their sincerity. the point many ppl miss that that these actions alone do not warrant anger but what they reflect about japanese attitudes as a whole does.

April 24, 2005 @ 1:29 am | Comment

I thought I had stated clearly my opinion.

I kept saying Chinese or non Chinese. It’s not to argue others’ right to criticise the CCP if they were not Chinese.

I just wanted to state my own opinion in a certain context. As I argued before, there is no absolutely objective opinion in this world. The same accusation made by people in different backgrounds has different meanings. It’s perfectly fine if you disagree on this.

It is true I did not experience a lot. For those Chinese who did, you got your rights to fight CCP and regard CCP as you top 1 enemy instead of Japan. But I need to remind you. For most Chinese, nowadays Chinese, CCP is the DE FACTO guardian and Japan the potential and natural enemy.

You said “ordinary Chinese have to seek justice from CCP before from Japan”. This may make sense for your own special background. But it is, just as Mainlander pointed out, total rubbish for the MAJORITY of Chinese who live in the nowadays China. And I’m sure this logic is quite popular in those exiled activists. What I’m not sure is how many Chinese will buy your point?

Of course, if you see fighting CCP is more urgent than Japan in terms of the national interest of China as a whole. That’s your right and you are not the first. Chiang Kai-shek and Wong Jing-way did the same long time ago.

I’m not trying to be even-handed or unbiased. I’m not. I’m Chinese. Again when I say this, I’m not trying to block others’ rights to criticise. Just to let you know, this is the feeling of a nowadays Chinese, not an outsider or ex-Chinese.

For those Non Chinese, I have no rights to block your criticism either. I do my best posting my opinions on this forum to let you guys understand my feeling, not by shutting up others’ mouths.

If you do feel offended by what I said, I’m sorry. It might be my poor English, or my biased opinion?

April 24, 2005 @ 3:01 am | Comment

Two things: first, the old adage people in glass houses shouldn’t thrown stones. That’s the hypocrisy thing that we foreigners keep getting focused on. Forget the protesters, they had alot of different reasons to take to the streets. But the Chinese Foreign Ministry has taken a real finger-wagging tone towards Japan about the representation of history, and that’s hypocritical when you consider that the Chinese government controls the teaching and interpretation of history in China far more than developed countries, which China aspires to be. The Chinese government has nurtured the perspective that “we are always right and we are indivisible (meaning there is no appreciable distinctions between the government and the people, or one group of Chinese people from another group of Chinese people for that matter)” for 60 years, if not more (many emperors had a habit of destroying every history textbook from the previous era).

The other thing is that this monopoly on interpretation has imposed a mindset amongst most Chinese that it basically works the same way everywhere else – that the government, the people and the culture are one uniform thing and it’s all happiness, sunshine and flowers. So when looking outside, say at Japan, Chinese people equate “government approval of a textbook” with “total government control of all textbooks”, because that’s what government is to them. Why would it be any different? Similarly, alot of people here make comments about how they are Chinese and Chinese people are dedicated to their nation, yet there is no discussion of the different ways you can be dedicated (for many criticism of your country is not a recognized form of patriotism, but in fact treachery). This view is often projected onto those of other nations (how would you feel if…) with the assumption the reaction would be identical.

The result is that nationalism is fueled by the “our record is spotless” and “the people, the nation and the state are a harmonious whole” memes spread throughout modern Chinese society. In Japan and the U.S., while these ideas certainly exist, they are not nearly as universally accepted (indeed, in the U.S. I’d say practically no one accepts the second one). The misconception that all other countries do in fact operate in this same way also propels nationalism. Chinese people quite often believe the welfare of the people is synonymous with the goals of the state, and all states (=all people of that state) are engaged in a zero-sum game for geopolitical power. This causes what Ross Terrill called “diplomatic awkwardness”, disallows acceptance of the “hypocrisy” criticism and generates retorts such as “I am Chinese, you are not” and “This is China!” Again, while these phenomenon exist everywhere in the world, the 60 year monopoly by the Chinese government on historical discourse has created a rather extreme example. In the US, you find “I’m a red blooded American and I stand by everything Bush does” kind of people, but ask them if they want to go to New York City and they’ll probably say “no”, if not spit at you. Ask a Chinese person who says “I’m Chinese and all true Chinese support the nation” if they want to go to Shanghai, they’ll say sure. We have, at least, red states and blue states.

April 24, 2005 @ 3:03 am | Comment

“All you care about is the advancement and best interest of China now regardless of how the CCP was in the past or is in the present, it is how most readers here portray you.”

I care about the fate of China.

I don’t care about the fate of CCP. It’d better die out someday in China. I know that the first time I saw parliamentary debate of UK.

And if you could convince me overthrowing CCP is the best thing to do for nowadays China. Count me in and let’s do it.

April 24, 2005 @ 3:17 am | Comment

Hi Dave,

Found a lot of assumptions you made too.

And one thing different between China and US that may explain, in your words, universal acceptance of Chinese patriotism: quite simple, China is not US.

For me, it is a bit sarcastic for Americans to talk about their true democracy, true nationalism, true human rights, true welfare and true WORLD VIEW, and at the same time their true freedom to criticise the government and differentiate themselves from it.

Not to mention that the government is what you chose, at lest your government is providing what you got and want.

I’m American and I don’t support Iraq war but I do need cheap gas.

You could argue your disagreement with those American politicians, just remember you benefit from what they do.

I dream of that kind of feelings too. If one day China is as strong as US and Chinese don’t need to stow away to see statue of liberty, I’d love to forget all the rubbish of nationalism and try to be super mundane.

April 24, 2005 @ 3:48 am | Comment

Many American blogs that I have visited seemed to be so much interested in bashing China (and I don’t have problems with this) that they disappointingly dismissed any concerns over Japan’s persistent historical revisionism and such high profile visits to the notorious military shrine.

The fact that war criminals lie there makes it extremely insensitive to those and their families who had suffered enormously, nay, catastrophically under the evil hands of the Japanese occupying powers.

Bashing China shouldn’t be equated to automatic forgiving of Japan’s recalcitrance in apologising, or its revisionism adventure.

Koizumi has magnificently and officially apologised in Jakarta and I don’t care about the language nuances as it’s for domestic consumption, and if Koizumi wants to protect his re-election, that’s fine with me. BUt let’s continue to keep an eye on her revisionism inclinations.

I must admit that many Chinese (and I am talking about SE Asian Chinese), are deeply suspicious of the “coincidental” and seemingly “coordinated” visit by 80 parliamentarians to the shrine. Again, I put it down (generously if I may add) to mitigating Koizumi’s apology for domestic consumption.

Those behind-the-scene rednecks responsible for the hardline revisionism adventures aren’t mere KKK, Neo-Nazis or National Front fringe groups. They are core members of the Japanese ruling party, the LDP, and are so powerful that they could twist Koizumi’s arms into his visiting the shrine over the last 4 years. Why do you think Koizumi kept going there despite Asian outrage?

That’s who and what we should keep an eye on, while not excusing Beijing for its past excesses. The respective Japanese and CCP atrocities should be treated separately. But we get these disappointing confusion over, or deliberate attempts to camouflage the Japanese atrocities with the CCP’s.

The greatest disservice to justice for those maltreated during the war such as the ‘comfort women’ (what an evil euphemism if I have ever heard one) and to our efforts to prevent future Japanese facist militant revival is to indicate to Japan we seem to be more concern about Beijing atrocities than hers. Instead we need to demonstrate that we will not accept any foot in the door to her militant resurrection.

I visited a blog recommended by Richard last week, bloke called Andre, who wrote rather cleverly, telling us to turn our eyes from Japan to Beijing. His mantra was Japan is a democracy and China is not, thus we may trust Japan to maintain control while we must call Beijing to account.

While he has written rather persuasively and eloquently, and the Devil has been known to use the Scripture too, he has done exactly what I have written above, excusing or at least lightening the guilt of Japan on the basis that China has not repented for its own atrocities, and that somehow it’s OK to forgive Japan because it’s a democracy. He even dismissed the legitimacy of any Chinese grievance against the Japanese war crimes unless they are 80-years old, to have personally experienced the sufferings. That’s an idea of the quality of his arguments. As someone whose family had been affected during the war, I feel so disgusted that I didn’t bother to drop any comment to rebut his pro-Japanese comments.

The second theme by Andre is the CCP manipulated and manipulates the protestors. What about Koreans (yes, Richard I have read your reason, but nonetheless this remains a fact, namely, that the CCP may have control in China, but not elsewhere, so the outrage hasn’t been as manipulated as you may believe).

Just read some Malaysian newspapers to see how the families of Japan’s military victims have expressed their outrage over the historical revisionism. There was one by a bloke who lost his parents to the Japanese invasion slaughter while he was just a kid – the first thing the Japanese did after they occupied the country was to execute a large number of Chinese in Malaya and Sinapore for nothing more than having send money to a struggling Kuomintang government in China during the Sino-Japanese war.

He related how he lived as a beggar on charity and the hardship he had to endure, apart from the pain and trauma of not seeing his parents ever again. Please tell Andre about this bloke. And our Malaysian textbooks aren’t riddled with anti-Japanese theme. In fact it’s the very opposite.

Third issue that Andre brought out was that it’s only a 0.3% (I forgot to count how many times he expressed this figure) readership of those revisionist books, so what’s the big deal?

Well, for a start the Japanese Education Ministry APPROVED the use of those books. And they certainly failed in their supposed checking of the FACTS that Andre claimed was their only involvement. The reality is there was very strong campaigning by interested parties to introduce those books, by stealth if necessary, and thus it was done.

These right wing lobby groups aren’t the fringe groups that Andre wished us to believe, but rather powerful LDP kingmakers who could make Koizumi visit the shrine.

As a reader at Andre’s blog wrote, would the USA and Europe ever dare or would allow neo-Nazi revisionism or Holocaust denial-ists to gain official approval for their textbooks? And please don’t dismiss this as not relevant – it’s bloody relevant as it demonstrates the unevenhandedness of how the West, especially American blogs or officials, treats the two former Axis partners with respect to their war crimes.

David Irving, a British, is a notorious historian specializing in Nazi revisionism. He of course wrote books to deny any damn atrocities the Nazis did, including the Holocaust. When he wanted to visit Australia, the government refused to provide him with a visa, terming him as an undesirable person. I doubt the Australian government will ever deny entry to any Japanese, revisionist that he may be.

I mentioned this before, the Chinese people are like country bumpkins when it comes to campaigning against facism. They not only lack the sophistication and knowhow to run such campaigns effectively, but in any protests behave badly and come across as a band of soccer thugs.

They should learn from the Jewish community how to marshal support and influence the media to ensure facism and evil do not arise again. They should learn how to ensure that no western country and their mainstream media would ever tolerate Japanese revisionism as they won’t Neo-Nazi revisionism.

In the meantime, they should stop behaving like thugs and keep their rage under control.

April 24, 2005 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Jacky, most blogs I’ve seen are outspoken in criticizing the Japanese atrocities during and after WWII (in the form of revisionism). In this blog, I constantly refer to it being inexcusable. You can call it “China bashing” if you’d like, but this in itself spealks to the hypersensitivity and insecurity of China in its current state. It’s this reflexive reaction that is at the heart of what I’ve been trying to say about China and its attitude toward Japan.

April 24, 2005 @ 9:46 am | Comment

Dave, I just read your comment. It’s the kind of comment that makes me very happy I started this site, where complex issues can be discussed with intelligence, knowledge and supporting facts. Thanks.

April 24, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Bing:
You do not need to apologize for your opinions expressed here. I am speaking for my self, but I would guess many of the commenters here are interested in your ideas like I am. I don’t agree often with you, but find what you have to say is important to the issues and understanding positions I don’t agree with.

April 24, 2005 @ 9:52 am | Comment

Bing … time to quit before you dig yourself an even deeper hole. With phrases like “ex-Chinese” … going to use “banana” next, I suppose?

April 24, 2005 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Filthy Stinking No.9:

Appreciate your constant attention to my phrasing instead of my arguments.

Apart from the phrasing, you might totally disregard anything else that I said. If so, I’m sorry for making you bored with rubbish words.

April 24, 2005 @ 10:20 am | Comment

Thanks for the compliment Richard. I enjoy stopping in from time to time on this cottage industry on China/Japan that you’ve got going here. Some of the things I write here I don’t put on my blog because there’s alot of good stuff floating around (despite the occasional rough stuff).

Bing:

And one thing different between China and US that may explain, in your words, universal acceptance of Chinese patriotism: quite simple, China is not US.

Actually, the only time I mentioned patriotism was not to describe Chinese patriotism, but that many Chinese people believe there is only one way to be patriotic and that this one way does not include criticism of China – that, in fact, many see that as traitorous and damaging. They say there is only one way to love China, and that is to fully endorse everything China does and never say China has ever done anything wrong – and get pissy if a non-Chinese person says China needs to improve something. There are people in America who take the same route (“You are with us or with the terrorists”) without a debate about who “we” are. More importantly, if you cannot openly discuss your mistakes, how can you possibly find better solutions and make your country stronger? This is why I make a distinction between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism bases identity on opposition to something foreign; patriotism can be quite positive when you are answering the question “what can we do better as a country for our country? what are our shortcomings?”

For me, it is a bit sarcastic for Americans to talk about their true democracy, true nationalism, true human rights, true welfare and true WORLD VIEW, and at the same time their true freedom to criticise the government and differentiate themselves from it.

Absolutely Bing, I think it’s ironic when anyone claims that their way is the only way. That’s exactly my point about the past 60 years the CCP interpreting history.

Also, I didn’t say anything about democracy, human rights, welfare or a world view. And I detest nationalism in any country – I consider it the most impoverished “ism” there is, a phantom idea that has no real foundation. The only thing I’m talking about is being able to debate and criticize your own country’s past (and present). In all the developed nations that China wants to be as strong as, it can and is done. I never said there aren’t Americans who talk about the “true American way” and all that – in fact, I mentioned exactly that in the last post. My point is that they suffer exact same problem, but they at least are not completely isolated from opposing points of view. The same numbskulls in China are, and that’s precisely because of the monologue that is Chinese history under the CCP.

Not to mention that the government is what you chose, at lest your government is providing what you got and want.

No, it’s the government some of us chose. Not all of us agree, and we don’t pretend to. When you say “the government is what you chose” either you mean I happened to vote for everybody who won or you’re describing the American public as monolithic. This is exactly how many Chinese people view Americans and other foreigners, as monolithic, because discourse in China has been exactly that, monolithic, so knowing only that way of discussing history, most Chinese people of all walks of life that I talk to have a propensity to see all other parts of the world as talking and thinking about history and nation-states the same way. In interpreting Chinese history there is only one allowable perspective, that of the CCP. In America I can buy history books that glorify the Confederacy (imagine them being called splittists) or call for the war crimes trial of Henry Kissinger (imagine him being called a hero of the revolution). Plus, I can call Bush “fucking clownshoes” at the appropriate hour or network on television and face no reprisal. Try saying that about Hu Jintao at any hour on any mainland media outlet.

I’m American and I don’t support Iraq war but I do need cheap gas.

And you can even get a job on the radio screaming about your opposition to the Iraq war, or listing the litany of American military actions against foreign nations throughout history, or the lies of any political figure.

You could argue your disagreement with those American politicians, just remember you benefit from what they do.

I do argue with it, and yes I benefit from what they do – sometimes. But that doesn’t mean I approve of how they obtain those benefits for me, nor does it mean I think that they should remain in power. If I believe they’re still crooks, I’ll say that as loudly as I want.

I dream of that kind of feelings too. If one day China is as strong as US and Chinese don’t need to stow away to see statue of liberty, I’d love to forget all the rubbish of nationalism and try to be super mundane.

Why wait? Why not try to be “super mundane” right now? Why do you have to wait until China is as strong as the US? If it’s rubbish, then is it really worth holding on to?

April 24, 2005 @ 11:28 am | Comment

Dave:

Did I say I agree anything like “They say there is only one way to love China, and that is to fully endorse everything China does and never say China has ever done anything wrong – and get pissy if a non-Chinese person says China needs to improve something.”

Before you put that shit on me, try to read what I had been arguing in this post.

April 24, 2005 @ 12:03 pm | Comment

Someone said in this post that “in order to earn respects from foreigners, especially from Japanese, you have to have to admit to your crimes first before you seek justice from Japan. That way people don’t look at you as a hypocrite”

All my posts have been focused on this one.

Did I ever doubt you American’s freedom? Did I ever doubt the lack of freedom in China? Did I ever doubt the sins committed by CCP?

What the fuck are you attacking if you don’t even know what I’m talking about?

April 24, 2005 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

You Americans behave for the maximum interest of USA, so do the Chinese.

We seek justice from Japan before from CCP. You could say that hypocracy. Just remind you such hypocrical things USA have done much more than any other countries, for the sake of which you ordinary Americans have such great freedom eveywhere.

April 24, 2005 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

Well, I’m American, and I certainly don’t “behave for the maximum interest of USA.” I “behave” in the maximum interests of my principles. Some of those principles I learned through American culture, some not.

I think you could say that about 30% of Americans have a “my country, right or wrong” attitude, i.e., blind nationalism. In China, in my personal experience, the percentage of people who think that way is more like 95%.

Btw, I fully blamed the Japanese government over this textbook issue and defended against what I saw as knee-jerk CCP bashing.

Today there was a protest in Japan over the whitewashing of history in China’s textbooks. I hope all of those who blamed Japan so harshly for their textbooks will blame the CCP just as harshly for their whitewash of Chinese history.

I certainly do.

April 24, 2005 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

Bing,

Apology is not needed for the opinions you have expressed in these posts. I really value your opinions, especially when you put me to the test in your example of the “oppressed girl and the stepfather in comparison with the situation in China. I really feel sorry for the girl, too. But most of my comments here are targeted at the CCP. When I said “in order to earn respects from foreigners, especially from Japanese, you have to have to admit to your crimes first before you seek justice from Japan. That way people don’t look at you as a hypocrite”, the “you” here means the CCP, not the ordinary Chinese. Some readers here might find this logic silly, but if you read another example that I gave earlier in the post: [“It’s okay for one’s own family to abuse and hurt their own children but when someone else does it, you expect an apology, but you yourself don’t apologize to your own children for what you did wrong.” If you don’t do the right thing for your own country, how can you expect other countries to respect you.], it makes a lot of sense, does’nt it?

What’s more important is that you and I have established a common ground. I love China and I love the Chinese people, but I despise the CCP. I, too, dream of one day China will be a strong nation.

April 24, 2005 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

Richard,

If you read my posting again, you’ll note that while I mentioned ‘China bashing’ I also remarked that I wasn’t fuss about that, BUT it must not be used to automatically excuse Japan’s persistent attempt at historical revisionism. China bashing must stand on its own on China’s misbehaviour, atrocities, etc, and not exempt Japan from accounting for her past. What annoys me has been the argument that:

(1) Beijing is just as bad, so let’s not worry too much about Japan, or Japan has nothing to apologise for since China is equally recalcitrant. The atrocities that a WWII Japan had inflicted extend beyond mainland China, though admittedly she suffered the most.

(2) Japan is a democracy, China is not – we can trust Japan to handle those fringe groups, keep our eyes on Beijing – this is sheer nonsense. If Japan is the democracy and righteous society her supporters acclaim her to be, than the greater onus should be on her to own up her dark past, dismiss any attempts at revisionism, and do the right thing as Germany has done. Besides those right wing elements aren’t “fringe” groups. As discussed, they are right at the heart of the LDP.

The Chinese, Koreans, and SE Asians are not all under the manipulative thumb of Beijing – our outrage and hurt are unfortunately genuine. It has nothing to do with insecurity – it’s outrage at the arrogrant unrepentance of the right wing elements in the Japanese political circles, it’s fear of their militant revival. These bigots feel that as the 2nd richest nation in the world, Japan has certain rights, and that’s worry us. Certainly Japan has a global leadership role to play, but we want that role to come along with a civilised Japan, not a clone of the militant barbaric one our families had suffered under.

April 24, 2005 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

Jacky, I completle agree that the outrage and hurt of the Chinese (and Koreans and others) you refer to are 100 percent genuine. Not only that, I believe the hurt is justified — these people should be hurt and Japan’s duplicity and insensitivity in revising its history cannot be pardoned.

I disagree, however, that the demonstrators were out there because of fears of future Japanese militarism. While that may have been a factor, I didn’t hear much about it, and certainly heard far more about textbooks, massacres and concerns Japan would get a seat on the Security Council. I can accept that this was an underlying factor, but I believe it was far overshadowed by the blind rage that’s been festering for decades, and which the government periodically rekindles at strategic moments of political heat. I heard all the usual noise about revised textbooks and the Nanjing Massacre far more than I heard of future Japanese militarism.

Everything you say about Japan is correct. The onus is on Japan to correct its sins, and they’ve done a wretched job. I would never refer to them as “righteous,” but at least politically and diplomatically they’ve been more sophisticated than the Chinese over the past two weeks. And, painful as it strikes many Chinese, the world will continue to look upon its protests over the revision of history with a large grain of skepticism and lack of sympathy, because they believe the CCP is at the top of the list of history revisers are redacters. Fair? Maybe not. Reality? Definitely.

I don’t really know why this argument, much like past arguments on Taiwan, goes around in circles. By now, don’t we all know exactly where the other stands?

April 24, 2005 @ 6:41 pm | Comment

Bing, I think you should read my post again. I didn’t say anything about you agreeing with the people who get pissy. I said I know alot of Chinese people who feel that way. There was no “shit” being put on you.

And then you went and said “You Americans”… when my whole point is that Americans, Chinese, whatever, are not one unified monolithic group even when a group like the CCP tries so hard to make that true. There are alot of different Americans with different ideas about what their interests.

Calm down, I didn’t say anything about you except to ask about when you said “I dream of those kinds of feelings” and “I’d love to forget all the rubbish of nationalism”. You spoke about yourself, and I simply asked you a question about why you don’t forget it, because I’d like to hear more about your feelings on it.

April 25, 2005 @ 12:19 am | Comment

I think part of the problem with this topic is that so many other things tend to get conflated with it: the Chinese government’s degree of manipulation of the protests, the biases of China’s own textbooks and denial of its own history, the larger geopolitical issues, etc.

It’s difficult because all of these things are relevant, but sometimes the discussion gets tangled up in them. Because basically I think most of the posters here agree that Japan has some serious work to do in order to heal the wounds of the past. But what tends to happen is that every other tangentially relevant historical sin gets thrown into the mix as well.

As for Taiwan, well, I’m not even gonna start on that one!

April 25, 2005 @ 12:21 am | Comment

Richard,
I am looking forward the visit by you to Arlington National Cemetery after they agree to move Hilter in there. (I am sorry if I am too offensive, but you got it, right?) For Chinese, Tojo is the Hilter, you said “to Japanese…….”, you are damn right, he is still worshiped by Japanese people nowadays. They don’t want lose their memory, why we have to? They can move Tojos in there 30+ years after WWII, we believe someday they will have to move them out, even if it’s 100+ years after WWII. As long as Tojo and other criminals are still there, we will keep fighting. No excuse, no comprimise. We will wait. Wrong is wrong!

April 25, 2005 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Richard,

Thank you very much for creating this blog for Chinese around the world and china-lovers or sometime china-bashers to discuss the future of China. Now I see your point very clearly-all historical revisionism are bullshit, protesting against one while ignoring another is hypocratic, at least less justifiable when viewed from outside. I also thank Dave and jacky and all the commenters for helping make the point clear. It is sad, that a great people time and again subjugated its fate to the iron hands of self-righteous regimes. However, it is even sadder that because of the long history of subjugation, this great people have lost respects from the world and even become negligible. In the last weeks I have constantly asked myself bitterly-what are all these furious protests for? Does apologies or compensations from Japan so important that we build our confidence on them? Who are we if we can only be proud of ourselves when somebody is keeling at us? The cost of defying a tyranny is life, the cost of living in a tyranny is dignity. When most of Chinese people learn to forget about or redefine the definition of dignity in their lives, shouldn’t I? “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery”? This famous question couldn’t be more relevant in today’s China. But we have no Almighty God to believe in, we have not many other courses to take, we can only rely on ourselves, our own conscience and our own bravery, or perhaps our own patience. What else can we do instead of waiting endlessly for another Gorbachev? Please, give me some light.

April 25, 2005 @ 1:44 am | Comment

Of course, if you see fighting CCP is more urgent than Japan in terms of the national interest of China as a whole. That’s your right and you are not the first.

Of course CCP ranks public enemy No.1, to ordinary Chinese. Villagers in Huankantou know well who is polluting them to death – it’s not the Japanese.

Prove it’s the Japanese who used BMW at a weapon to kill a street vendor in dispute, and got away with, if you can.

Prove it’s the Japanese who set houses on fire to demolish homes of Shanghaiese when compensation talk was still underway, if you can.

I believe ordinary Chinese know where their enemy is much better than others think.

April 25, 2005 @ 4:00 am | Comment

lin,

“As long as Tojo and other criminals are still there, we will keep fighting. No excuse, no comprimise. We will wait. Wrong is wrong!”

Would you consider Mao a “Hitler”? Would you consider Mao a “Stalin”? We have been arguing about hypocrisy over and over again already, so please don’t make me go there again!

April 25, 2005 @ 4:40 am | Comment

Bingfeng wrote:

there is another possible “backfire” – if US allows the right-wing super nationalistic sentiments develop in japan, someday in the future, these guys will f**k US when they feel they are strong enough

Richard wrote:

Sorry about confusing your name, bingfeng. And I agree about the dangers the ultra-right-wingers in the US pose in regard to China and just about everything else.

You two are talking about two potential threats of two different groups to two different countries. It is perhaps a fair exchange, Richard. I certainly find it revealing. But it’s not an agreement.

April 25, 2005 @ 12:45 pm | Comment

We knew Stalin was very much like Hitler and we knew he was an enemy. That is why we implemented the Marshall Plan and created NATO shortly aftyer the war was over, because we knew the USSR was as dangerous an enemy as Hitler, if not more so. (Stalin has more blood on his hands than Hitler, though not quite as much as Mao, of course.)

I wouldn’t put Mao quite in Hitler’s class. Hitler at least brought his people a period of unmatched wealth and prosperity, and no one in Germany went hungry, even to the last days of the war. Mao brought China only one misery after another following the brief preiod of sunshine in the years prior to the Great Leap Backwards.

At the time of Nixon’s visit, we in America had never heard the term “Cultural Revolution,” and the details of Mao’s terrible sins and mass murder were not uncovered. Would we still have joined Mao in a partnership if we had known? Probably, because at that time the direct threat to America was perceived to be the Soviet Union, and the entire purpose of opening relations with China was to gain an upper hand against Brezhnev. Sometimes governments must make difficult decisions and “sleep with the devil.” We did it with Stalin, we are doing it now with Pakistan, and we did it with Mao. On the dawn of WWII, the soon-to-be Catholic pope made an agreement with the Nazis. A terrible thing, but it happens all the time in the world of realpolitik.

April 25, 2005 @ 4:39 pm | Comment

Tom, your comment above is fair. My answer to bingfeng was not articulate – strike it from the record. Written in haste.

April 25, 2005 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

I think it is going overboard to say that Mao was worse than Hitler. Hitler tried to exterminate an entire race of people merely because of their race. As bad as Mao was for various reasons, he didn’t put millions of people in ovens and perform sick experiments on children. Mao’s goal wasn’t explicitly to murder millions of people and to subjugate the entire world.

Mao was more similar to Stalin: a paranoid megalomaniac.

April 25, 2005 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

While I didn’t say Mao was worse than Hitler, I did say he had as much or more blood on his hands. He may not have set out to exterminate those who died, but he was well aware that his communes and his grain policy was starving the countrysiders to death, and he did nothing. He let them starve. That is murder as far as I am concerned. But there’s more to it. Mao had a notorious disregard for the lives of his fellow Chinese. When he was warned of the possibility of a nuclear attack that could take some 70 million Chinese lives, he blandly replied that it was notjhing to worry about, as the Chinese could make up for them quite quickly in just a few years. This was where he was most similar to Stalin and Hitler, in the belief that the lives of others, even millions, was insignificant and a reasonable price to pay to ensure they remain in power. It was Mao’s trademark. I put him right up there with Hitler, even if his intentions weren’t as evil. You can’t sentence tens of millions of people to death by starvation and then just say, “Oops, I didn’t mean to do that. Silly me.” In addition, Mao’s carnage continnued in his ravishing of the environment, one of the great rapes of all history and something from which China, tragically, can never recover.

April 25, 2005 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

>Mao had a notorious disregard for the lives of his fellow Chinese.

You just described virtually every Chinese emperor. (and not only Chinese emperors)

>in the belief that the lives of others, even millions, was insignificant and a reasonable price to pay to ensure they remain in power.

You just described probably 80% of all world leaders of the past 5,000 years of human history.

I would draw a very large distinction between deaths that are the result of bad policy and an explicit policy of exterminating civilians. The purpose of the GLF was not to murder millions of people. That was the explicit goal of Hitler’s “final solution.”

April 25, 2005 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

Tuode, how many world leaders have casually allowed 30 to 40 millions of their citizens die, refusing to take actions that could have easily saved them?

Yes, Hitler was more wicked — a 9.8 on a scale of 1 to 10 maybe. And Mao would rate a 7.7 or so on the Wickedness Scale. But in terms of lives lost, Mao is probably the winner. As I said, “Oops” isn’t good enough. It doesn’t exonerate him. I think we may have to agree to disagree on this one because we won’t resolve it.

April 25, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

This article has some great points for readers to consider…

“The Japanese Prime Minister’s Apology to China is His Apology, Not Japan’s

Commentary, Ling-Chi Wang,
Pacific News Service, Apr 25, 2005

It matters very little how many time Japanese prime ministers and foreign ministers have apologized to China, Korea, and other countries for Japanese invasions into their countries and committing unspeakable atrocities and war crimes during their occupation.

To all the afflicted countries, prime minister Junichiro Koizumi’s latest apology at the Asian-African summit in Jakarta, Indonesia is the same as all previous apologies: it is personal, not representative of the Japanese government nor the will of the people of Japan. He knew perfectly well when he stepped up to the podium to deliver the apology that it was strictly personal gesture because only by an act of the Japanese parliament, the Diet, can he represent the government and the people of Japan to make the apology.

In the absence of such a legislation, his apology is the same phony apologies all previous Japanese prime ministers and foreign ministers have been giving for more than 50 years, all of which, were designed to mollify or worse, fool the Asian public and win support and admiration from the western media and politicians.

In order for a democratic country to express its true remorse, an apology must minimally contain the following four points:

(1)the apology must be based on a law duly enacted by the Japanese the Diet, authorizing its Prime Minister and Emperor to make a public apology to all the aggrieved nations;

(2)the same law enacted must include an authorization for the government to compensate the victims of Japanese aggression and atrocities and a mechanism for determining the just compensation for the victims;

(3) the law must also mandate a faithful collection, documentation, preservation, and distribution of the truths about Japanese aggression in the Pacific War, 1937-1945; and

(4) it must also include a mandate that the textbooks in Japan reflect this history in perpetuity.”

April 25, 2005 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Bing – it’s not the words … it’s the underlying assumptions displayed by the words you use. If I went around using words like “nigger” or “chink” you’d be perfectly justified in drawing certain conclusions about my thinking. The conclusion I draw from your words … well, why don’t you think about that one for yourself? So far, you seem to have been the one avoiding the point, not me.

April 26, 2005 @ 2:12 am | Comment

Jacky,
Bravo!
Richard,
you were dodging!
and secretly deleted my post after I challenged NEO?

April 26, 2005 @ 9:54 am | Comment

Lin, what are you talking about? I never deleted your post. What did it say? Are you sure it got posted? Seriously, I never touched it and if you repost I assure you it won’t be removed.

April 26, 2005 @ 10:12 am | Comment

Well, that post was for NEO, and your following post challenged that post too. I mentioned MAO and STALIN are not hilters, otherwise, Roosevelt and Nixon are Nazi’s alles. The other point is that hypercrisy is not hypercrisy but the compromise to reality. Probably you didn’t do it intentionally. Just let it go, not a big deal.

April 26, 2005 @ 2:02 pm | Comment

Japan apologizes to China – again

Japan apologizes to Ch…

June 8, 2005 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

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