[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Sponsored rioting in China?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sponsored rioting in China?

Sino-Japanese relations hit rock bottom, literally to the bottom of the sea.

Tokyo and Beijing have been feuding over gas drilling rights in contested waters of the East China sea. Recently, Japanese firms have begun their own drilling operations despite heavy flak from the Chinese government. Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang calls their decision a 'serious provocation to the rights of China and the norm of international relations,' and stated that China will retaliate.

Adding more fuel to the fire, the argument over Japan's whitewashing of World War 2 history continues to sink Sino-Japanese (and Korean) relations.

Fushosha, a self-confessed right wing private Japanese publishing company has been granted rights to publish their history books in schools throughout Japan. However it has been criticised by Chinese & Korean (and other Asian nations) due to its distorted, white-washed version of Japan's military operations in World War 2. It describes Japan's agression as an attempt to halt Western dominance in Asia. Even worse, the Nanjing Massacre of 1936 in which Japanese soldiers killed and raped 300,000 civilians was described in books as a mere 'incident'. Many fear that this whitewashing of history will plague the minds of Japanese youngsters (as if those Harajuku kids aren't 'plagued' enough) and lead to a revival of neo-nationalist movements.

Two years ago, anger spilled out involving 380 Japanese male tourists' orgy with 500 Chinese prostitutes. A wave of anti-japanese sentiments occured, convinced that this was an insult deliberately timed on the anniversary of Japan's occupation of China in 1931.

The Yasuktuni shrine is where dozens of Japanese war heroes are honoured, the worrying fact is that they are in fact first-class war criminals. Japanese PM Kozumi visits there annually to honour the fallen Imperial soldiers, irrespective of their military misdeeds. This has infuriated Asian nations. Protests and boycotts against Japan & Japanese products are happening in some major Chinese cities. Funnily enough, the Japanese government is complaining that Chinese authorities are not doing their best to provide security for Japanese businesses & interests. I recently watched news footage from China's 'CCTV' showing two scrawny policemen fending off an entire mob from a Japanese department store. And they did a bang up job!

Japanese Ambassador Koreshige Anami defended the publishing of Fushosha's and other right wing books as a testament to Japan's 'freedom of speech,' which is entirely hypocritcal. There have been many government censorships of left wing comics like Manga and TV programmes that criticise the Royal family.

Japan is also vying for a seat on the UN's permanent security council. China will strongly disagree of course due to past experiences and Japan's inadequate apologies and compensations for its past military aggression (there is still no formal peace treaty between Japan and Russia). America however will be more lenient, for Japan is one of its closest allies and acts as a convienient buffer against the regional dominance of China in Asia, whch serves American interests, naturally.
What's also unsettling is that the hatred between both nations seems to be whipping up hardcore nationalist feelings aswell. And we all know where that can lead. So move over Taiwan, there's a bigger problem now.
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Article also published on Indymedia