Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, April 10, 2005

How Will Chinese Stop The Riots?

Rape of Nanking: Why Chinese don't like Japanese.

The Chinese government tried to stage one of its typical carefully controlled demonstrations yesterday, this time targeting Japan.

The Communist leadership had two goals: To punish Japan for saying it would side with Taiwan if China ever attacked the island, and to discourage expansion of the UN Security Council, which presumably would result in Japan having a seat. The demonstration grew out of control, with spontaneous unsanctioned demonstrations breaking out after the government succeeded in putting the lid back on the first demonstration. (more here)

Austensibly, the near-riot happened because of Chinese frustration with Japan's failure to adequately apologize for the murder of perhaps 370,000 Chinese during the Rape of Nanking and other Japanese attrocities carried out against China during World War II.

The Chinese have a valid complaint. The Japanese have been extremely slow at admitting to the world the horrors for which they are responsible. As they confess here, they put out a new textbook there that glosses over the awful reality of the war. Japan is strong enough to survive truthful acceptance, yet they continue to live in a state of denial.

But for the college students who were demonstrating -- who weren't born until 35 or 40 years after the baby at the top of this post stopped crying -- this is ancient history. Can the intensity of their emotions be explained by ill will towards the Japanese alone?

Perhaps. The Communist government has certainly worked hard at fostering ill will towards its Capitalist neighbor to the east. But there may be more to these tough-to-control demonstrations: The sheer joy of freedom of expression.

Spring is Global Protest Season, and the Communists may have made a strategic error in loosening the leash at this time. With the Bush Revolution taking hold in the Middle East, with repression getting old in an era of increasing freedom, it may be difficult for the Commies to control their pups. This could be the year of Tianamen II.

Update: Double Toothpicks has a good analysis.