“Japan will suffer more”

I was struck by the hubris and aggressiveness in this Global Times editorial, which includes a number of veiled threats.

With wider strategic interests to be considered, China has to take a more sophisticated approach in tackling the issue. It needs to deal with Japan and keep an eye on its global strategy simultaneously. For a long time, Japan was more developed than China, and once invaded us, but this is no reason for China to be stuck in an inferiority complex.

For now, China should strive to end Japan’s actual control over the islands. But the majority of China’s resources must be distributed globally. More success in other parts of the world will help China to smash Japan’s illusion of taking over Diaoyu.

Solving the issue will be a long-term struggle, but it is Japan that will suffer more since the country is in decline.

After a century of complicated feelings toward its neighbor, mixing admiration, hatred and misery, it is time for China to rebuild its psychological strength against Japan.

I’m not quite sure what that last sentence means but it doesn’t sound good.


Anti-Japan fever

There’s a superb first-hand account of what’s going on outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

In the middle of the street there was a partition with police directing people to parade around it in long circles. People had huge Chinese flags and banners saying things like “Fuck little Japan.” What I was most surprised by were the number of Chairman Mao posters floating around. I asked a few people about this and the consensus was “Mao would never let Japan get away with this.”

As the crowds paraded around, they sang patriotic songs, chanted “Little Japan, fuck your mother,” “Chairman Mao 10,000 years,” “China 10,000 years” and most significantly “Communist Party 10,000 years.” (“10,000 years” basically means “Long live…”)

This mass outpouring obviously had official sanction. The police’s presence was to direct the protests rather than try to hamper them in any way.

This so reminds me of the simmering hatred of Japan that surged to the top back in 2005 with all the controversy over the Yasukuni shrine. There, too, the police facilitated the protestors, some officers handing them eggs to throw. They take a more active role in curtailing the demostrations after protestors become too violent, hurling rocks at the embassy. We always knew the Diaoyu islands were a tinder box; now it’s exploded. (more…)


Diaoyu Islands

I’ve been avoiding this topic because a.) it’s being covered all over the place, and b.) I see it as one of those hopeless messes that cannot be resolved, as I see many foreign policy issues around the world. But this recent Global Times editorial popped out at me for its war mongering and hostility.

Japan’s increasingly radical approach over the island disputes is pushing the Diaoyu issue toward a military confrontation. The Japanese government is dangerously fanning the flames in East Asia.

Both China and Japan should be cautious in mentioning military clashes. Creating a war scenario should be a taboo for officials. Japan has to be clear that the hatred of Japan’s invasion is still buried in the Chinese consciousness. A rising China will by no means allow military humiliation by Japan to happen again.

World War II is long over for Chinese. But Japan repeatedly reminds us of that history. Tokyo has never honestly faced that war. No sincere remorse can be felt in its attitude toward China. On the contrary, it tries to make up for defeat in the past with new sources of conflict with its neighbor.

If a new war breaks out between China and Japan, it may well take on an aspect of revenge. Let it be said, however, that China has no plan to square up with Japan. Hatred toward Japan has been a topic of restraint in Chinese media and in remarks by officials. In the Diaoyu issue, Japan has repeatedly mentioned the deployment of Self-Defense Forces.

Japan mustn’t go too far in provoking China. Japanese officials should think twice before uttering provocative words. In modern history, all the conflicts between China and Japan were caused by Japanese invasion. Japan has no right to attack China bitterly as it does today. The Chinese public has boundless antipathy toward Japan.

At least it’s honest. We all know the disputed territory is claimed by China mainly because of its appearance on Ming Dynasty maps as part of the country, and that no one cared about it until the 1970s when the area was found to have valuable natural resources like oil and gas. The seas around them also harbore valuable fish. By that time, the islands had been handed over to Japan by the US which took control of them after WWII. Japan had claimed them since 1895. (You can read a good overview of how this situation evolved over here.) China would almost certainly not care a fig about them — or at least not to the point of threatening war over them — if they weren’t rich in resources. (more…)