Beijing announces status update

The Great 2012 People’s Righteous Japanese Car-Burning Diaoyu Uprising is hereby declared over. The usually semi-fascist Global Times declares that violence is never the solution, while Xinhua intones that the masses agree entirely and hate all the vandalism. Anyway, it was all Japan’s fault. Japan has been sent a message of infantile impotent fury, and Chinese people who feel a need, for whatever reason, to smash something up have been allowed to get it out of their system. Whichever Beijing faction decided to trigger the outrage may or may not have succeeded in its aim; we’ll probably never know.

The scary thing about the pictures in the first link above is not the flames and smoke rising from destroyed property but the signs and banners written by owners of businesses and Japanese-branded cars, pleading and begging with rioters. “We will agree to any insane racist wacko opinion you want us to,” they essentially say, “if only you promise to leave us alone.” There’s a whiff of Cultural Revolution here, with innocents competing to be extreme for fear of being labeled and persecuted if they don’t.

In civilized Hong Kong, the anti-Japanese protesters outside Exchange Square are displaying Nazi swastikas and likening Japanese Prime Minister Noda to Adolf Hitler and Emperor Hirohito. (Historians tempted to dispute the aptness of these comparisons should also check out the University of Hong Kong, where students apparently emboldened by their younger brothers’ and sisters’ fight against National Education, are portraying top school officials as deposed Arab despots. Mubarak is Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Roland Chin, while Gadaffi is Dean of Student Affairs Dr Albert Chau. Seems a tad disproportionate – or maybe HKU really is torturing dissidents and holding public executions.) Noda’s crime is ‘nationalizing’ the Senkaku Islands, buying the rocks so the governor of Tokyo doesn’t do it first in order to provoke trouble. This is the thanks he gets. His views on sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkakus are here, halfway down between the bit about how Japan, not Korea, legally owns Takeshima Island and the bit about how Japan, not Russia, legally owns the Kuril Islands, or Northern Territories.

His (and Japan’s) official line is that there is no territorial dispute. China also refuses to accept that there is anything to discuss. They agree on one thing, at least. The Japanese government’s decision to buy the islands, and its de facto policy of not stationing any armed forces there, show a pragmatic preference to avoid antagonizing China. Armchair generals are pontificating about Hollywood-style scenarios; for example, China lands troops at night, then Japan uses its superior submarine capabilities to starve them out, then face-saving unarmed cops arrest and deport them. It won’t happen: the US has said that while it doesn’t take sides on the sovereignty issue, it is committed to defending Japan. The PLA can’t be that deranged. We hope.

The Takeshima/Dokdo dispute with Korea is unsolvable. When all you have are faded maps and two peoples refusing to give up their claims – and bitter hatred from the past – there is no way out. There is no acceptable King Solomon to suggest cutting the thing in half. It is difficult for outsiders to comprehend how strong feelings are. If you think Arabs go berserk over the prophet Mohamed, and the Chinese go nuts over Diaoyu, wait until you see a Korean totally freak out over Dokdo. As for the Kurils, Stalin grabbed them along with southern Sakhalin at the last minute in World War II and kicked out the Japanese residents. Of all the disputed places, it’s the one that can really be seen as part of the Japanese homeland – originally Ainu-inhabited and colonized centuries back as North Ezo, like Hokkaido. Now Russian. Don’t like it? Don’t start world wars.

Click to hear ‘Was Ezo’ by Martha and the Muffins!


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13 Responses to Beijing announces status update

  1. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Couldn’t Japan secretly build underground palaces (with sake cellars) and landing strips under tree cover and then “accidentally” burn down the trees, or a submarine base with underwater access like Captain Nemo?

    And couldn’t China send tourists/fishermen, for instance when a typhoon is imminent, in a boat so badly maintained and manned that equipment might be lost overboard and they might be forced to land, for security reasons?

  2. Maugrim says:

    So many ironies; Japanese demands for American troops to leave Japanese soil have presumably grown quiet, flag burners planning to depart to plant the same flag, this time un-burnt, those who decry National Education for its brainwashing, dutfully joining in protests to protect Chinese ‘sovereignty’. It will be interesting to see the chutzpah that will inevitably go on if those of Chinese descent are attacked in say Indonesia or the Phillippines.

  3. Old fart says:

    Was it not Deng who told the USA: ” Los Angeles or Taipei, your choice…”

  4. Big Al says:

    It’s refreshing to see all this revolutionary anti-Japanese zeal in China – shame they’ve turned it down a notch already. Of course, if the Japanese (like the rest of us) tried to burn anything Chinese, we’d have no possessions left, since everything is made in China (even if “designed in Cupertino”). Speaking of which, with the new iOS6 map app clearly identifying the islands as the Senkakus, at least 1.3B Chinese won’t be buying the iPhone 5 …

    Personally, I think the Tibetians should go and occupy the islands. Not only is the weather better, but since China claims that Tibet (like most other places it covets) is an inalienable part of the Motherland, they’d have nothing to complain about as the islands would vicariously be Chinese – well, at least, that’s what the Dalai Lama will let them think!

    And finally, why do the translations on the news of Chinese mouth-frothing still quote the Chinese as calling the islands “indisputably” Chinese? If what we’re seeing isn’t a dispute, then what is?

  5. Brains says:

    I don’t think the Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Islands exist. The images I have seen of them look a lot like Tracy Island in Thunderbirds – go Google it.

  6. Old Timer says:

    Methinks the Chinese doth protest too much.

  7. Sir Crispin says:

    I think the Celts should riot over those bastard Anglo-Saxon bastards invading Britain and taking over. Perhaps the Greeks should also riot over the Turks taking Anatolia from them. And perhaps the Turks should riot against the Mongols for driving the off the Central Asian Steppes. And on and on we go…

  8. Maugrim says:

    From badcanto, a German car company’s employees in China urging the Japanese be killed:

  9. Headache says:

    If this continues, how soon before the risk for foreign companies becomes too great and they simply quit China and move their operations elsewhere? How the tables would turn then. Imagine the CCP desperately trying to counter the twin threats of recession and mass insurrection via escalating propaganda campaigns and half-hearted attempts at economic redistribution. What a show that would be.

  10. Walter De Havilland says:

    An interesting interpretation of events from an American intellectual

  11. Will.I.Ever says:

    @ Big Al…

    Turned it down a notch? Wow… you guys get your news from this guy? LMAO. Sorry to pop your little bubble… the CCP didn’t get Neville Chamberlain’s… urgh, Hemmie baby’s lil memo.

    OOPS. Reroll on Monday for better luck.

  12. paul says:

    The Islands is a sideshow, unless, of course Xi went there, got shot…

    The “real” question of which the “islands” is a distraction, is where has Xi been? What incredible arrogance to assume the rest of world cannot be told. Talk about the Middle Kingdom.

  13. Headache says:

    Paul, forget about the rest of the world, the arrogance is in the party’s refusal to tell the people of the “People’s Republic” what its leadership is up to.

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