Saturday, October 22, 2005

Chinese hysteria

A recent opinion piece on the Peoples Daily Online, entitled How can Koizumi Win Trust from World? expresses how bent out of shape the Chinese are over the Prime Minister’s fifth trip to the Yakusuni shrine:
Despite the strong opposition from China and other Asian countries and their peoples as well as from the people of insight in Japan, Koizumi provoked disturbances and randomly hurt the feelings and dignity of the victimized countries and their peoples during the war and seriously undermined Sino-Japanese relations. The move evokes great indignation in Chinese people.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the victory in China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Such a move challenges the human conscience and international justice.

In April this year, Chinese President
Hu Jintao put forward a five-point proposal on the Sino-Japanese relations at the Asian-African summit. Koizumi's action ignored the sincere wishes of the Chinese government and people for improving the Sino-Japanese ties...

This 5 Point Plan should not be confused with Jintao’s 5 Point Plan aimed at improving relations with Thailand, or the 5 Point Plan on how to handle the Middle East, or the 5 Point Plan to improve relations with India or the 4 Point Plan in dealing with Taiwan. Was that last plan missing a Point? Indeed it was, but not to worry, there was also a 5 Point anti-secession law that was passed this year and another 5 Point proposal for relations between the KMT and the People’s government. That’s 14 Points towards Taiwan alone, if you’re keeping score. But those aren’t freedom leaning Wilsonian points. One might assume that Hu’s 5 Points issue resolution schematic extends to other areas as well:

5 Point Strategy to oppressing religious minorities,
5 Point Strategy to establishing an obedient press,
5 Point Strategy to defending Tinnamen Square from freedom,

maybe you could throw in…

5 Point Strategy to increasing fireworks production in elementary school factories,

or, closer to the boudoir….

4 Point Strategy to pleasing Mrs. Hu (the fifth point banned by the one child policy).

If Hu were to team up with a big name publisher, his 5 Point strategies could replace all the 8 Step strategies currently in the Diplomatic self-help section of your local Borders.

Adopting a numerically consistent method to solve issues is fine, in itself. The unavoidable generic and vague types of steps like “…economic and trade cooperation should be expanded” say little, but may help keep the eye on the ball. Yet, it hardly represents a great vision forward. And when you don’t respect those basic generic principles in the first place, it fails to mean anything at all. Going back to Japan, check out Hu’s 5 Points:

First, friendly and co-operative Sino-Japanese relations orientated towards the 21st century should be developed on the basis of the three political documents, namely, the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship and the Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration.

Second, the issue of history should be taken seriously by adhering to the principle of "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future." Japan should back up its remorse on wartime aggression with action and deal with historical issues in a serious and prudent manner.

In the first point, China believes that both parties should respect previous agreements (here, here and here) in order to look forward. In the second point, China shucks away the the idea of looking to the future expressed in the first point and starts dwelling on the past. History is a mirror, alright, but only when it concerns Japan, it seems – never China. When China urges Japan to “action” in backing up it’s “remorse”, it means reparations, yet the Joint Communique, one of Hu’s cited agreements, explicity states:

5. The Government of the People's Republic of China declares that in the interest of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese peoples, it renounces its demand for war reparation from Japan.

Oh, well. China is more concerned in holding Japan accountable to the People's interpretation of agreements Japan made with the KMT regarding Taiwan than it is about holding itself accountable for it’s own direct agreements made when it was the negiotiating party of China. For it’s own part, Japan has kept the agreements it made to the KMT and honored them with the communists.

With almost all the agreements betweent the two countries, China plays fast and loose with the proclaimed spirit of the negotiations while Japan follows that spirit as closely as possible while maintaining its right of sovereignty. Consider some more of these points alluded to in the agreements cited in Hu’s 5 Points:

from the 1972 communique –

“Neither of the two countries should seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony.”

What imperial ambitions have the Japanese expressed or taken action to achieve since 1945? None. Yet, China has gobbled up Tibet, initiated a border war with Vietnam, built up massive military resources geared toward an invasion of Taiwan and poured a million troops into the Korean penninsula to ensure that it was either communist or divided. And it appears that China will be prone to future sable rattling, if not military action, over the Sino-Russo border. It’s obvious that Imperial China, thirsty for land and resources, is alive and well and seeking Asian hegemony.

From the 1998 Declaration:

Both sides express support for the reforms of the United Nations including the reform of the Security Council, in order for the United Nations to further embody the common wish and collective will of all Members in its activities and policy decision making process.
Yet China is vehemently opposed to letting the second largest economy joining that same Security Council. And any reform of the Security Council that might do something about places like Sudan and Iran has been stiff armed by China.

Both sides stress the importance of the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, and oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons in any form whatsoever, and furthermore, strongly call upon the nations concerned to cease all nuclear testing and nuclear arms race, in order to contribute to the peace and stability of the Asian region and the world.
Well, not quite, when it comes to China. The People’s government is not very concerned with N. Korean nuclear capabilities, unless it will mean nuclear bombs in S. Korea, Japan or [gasp] Taiwan. When or if Japan resorts to attaining nuclear weapons, it will not be because of an imperial quest, but to ensure its defense.

Believe it or not, there was a brief moment in history when China acknowleged Japanese economic benevolence:

The Chinese side expressed its gratitude for the economic cooperation extended by Japan to China. The Japanese side reiterated that it will continue to support China's efforts for the early accession to the WTO.

And as an aside, Japan did keep it’s commitment to China and the latter is currently a WTO nation.

Continuing with the 5 Point Plan:

Third, the Taiwan question should be handled properly.
To China, this means repeated threats of invasion backed by hundreds of missiles pointed at the small islands as well as military simulations of an amphibious assault. To Japan, it means recognizing the one China solution where the two entities (Taiwain and China) can willing and peacefully unite, and in that light, Japan will help defend the island from a mainland invasion until peaceful and mutual reunification can occur.

Fourth, the differences between China and Japan should be dealt with through dialogue and negotiation on equal ground.

Yet, Point 2 denies Japan that equal ground.
Lastly, friendly non-governmental exchanges and co-operation should be further enhanced to strengthen mutual understanding, expand common interests and develop a healthy bilateral relationship.
Which apparently allows China to stoke the anti-Japanese fire so fully that Japanese students in China cannot be guaranteed of personal safety from angry mobs and Japanese businesses (and even businesses perceived to be Japaneses) face the possibility of damage and looting during the all to common anti-Japanese protests.

How does the People’s government stoke those fires? Well, how about the official Chinese claim that Japan is responsible for 38 million deaths in China? No prudent method of estimation could get anywhere close to that number. The actual damage caused by the Japanese occupation is bad, there’s no need to exaggerate it. Yet, the Chinese completely neglect the hardships it inflicted on itself through not only the sixty plus years of civil strife before 1949. To them, one big pile of Chinses bodies is one big pile and it’s better to blame it all on the Japanese than take any responsibility for it. And that’s not to mention the monumental damage caused Mao, himself, since the People’s Party has been in power. To this day China maintains a record of oppression, whether it’s cracking down on democratic movements or just good old fashion religious persecution. When the government’s official position is based on crap information, then it’s not a surprising to see misguided assumptions like the one made in that recent People’s editorial:
The Japanese militarism hurt the Chinese people the most in the modern history.
Especially, if the editorialist has a state provided portrait of Moa glaring down at him. A reasonable man can only concede to that statement under the threat of torture. Otherwise, it is misleading and serves absolutely no purpose in strenthening “mutual understanding, expand common interests…” with Japan.

The editorial relies on misinformation throughout – just as the People’s diplomacy relies on its own insincerity:

The Osaka High Court made a ruling recently that Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni violated Japanese constitution and Koizumi's visit made light of the law.
Not mentioned is that Koizumi made the visit as a private Japanese citizen and not as a public official, which is what the weak kneed Osaka High Court objected to in it’s statement. Perhaps Koizumi might propose ceasing his personal visits to the shrine if the People’s government would agree to putting up a memorial honoring the dead students at Tinnamen Square. On second thought, that would violate “the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity” set forth in the Joint Communique. One would think that same principle of sovereignty would allow Koizumi to go where he pleased on Japanese soil, so long as he wasn’t stirring up Japanese hostility towards China. But no, such action by Koizumi “evokes great indignation in Chinese people..” and presumably threatens the future relations between the two contries. After all, as the editorial points out, the day Koizumi paid tribute at the shrine “was a day when the Chinese people warmly congratulated the successful landing of China's manned Shenzhou VI. So his action is a serious provocation against the entire Chinese people.”

When you’re dealing with such sensitivity, you can’t expect rational negotiations.

Why do the Chinese people, whose feelings were seriously hurt, cannot say no?

The truth is that the Chinese can forever say “no” to Japan. Is Japan obligated to listen? The only time that the Chinese citizen is not allowed to say “no” is when it comes to disagreeing with his own government.

The editorial concludes:
Just think, how does a country, that has no rational knowledge and correct attitude towards its own aggressive history and war crimes, win trust from the world, and the leader of the country goes his own way and ignores human moral principles? If really wanting to win confidence from its Asian neighboring nations and the international community and playing an active role in
international affairs, Japan must take compelling actual actions to show that it "has history as lessons and faces the future''
Japan has shown without a shadow of a doubt that it is a responsible benevolent country. Its textbooks may gloss over its imperialist past, but its actions in the last 60 years indicate that it has learned the lessons of its crimes. China has not. It continues to violate any expression it has made towards creating a peaceful and prosperous region. Perhaps Hu has a 5 Point Plan to fix that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

News flash:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a private visit today to a church which enshrines Adolf Hitler and top Nazi criminals as saints.

Merkel's Nazi shrine visit has sparked no controvercy. Israeli government issued a statement saying "This is none of Israel's business".

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told a news conference today that the United States understood German chancellor's view on Nazi Germany's history.

The Jewish organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) advised its members to keep quiet about German chancellor's Nazi shrine visit because it was a only private visit.

Both British and French goverments voiced their support to the German chacellor's private visit to Nazi shrine.

(Note: This has been a fiction)