April 17, 2005

Civil Obedience


FoxNew reports: China Denies Japan’s Request for Apology.

China on Sunday rebuffed Tokyo’s demands for an apology after sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations, while new protests took place in several cities over perceived efforts by Japan to gloss over its wartime history and to gain a permanent U.N. Security Council seat. ...

Some have suggested that the Chinese government, which wields tight control over its population, permitted earlier protests to undermine Tokyo’s Security Council campaign. Beijing regards Tokyo as a rival for regional dominance and is unlikely to want to give up its status as the only Asian government with a permanent seat and veto power on the Security Council.

But Beijing last week called for calm, apparently afraid of causing more damage to relations with Tokyo or encouraging others to take to the streets to demonstrate against corruption or demand political reforms.

The Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily called in a front-page editorial Sunday for the public to “maintain social stability.”

Also from FoxNews: Japan’s Past a Leash on Its Future?

... China has a still-spotty human rights record, no free press, no true academic freedom and is not anywhere near becoming a democracy.

"If China is ready, then Japan is ready” for a permanent seat on the council, said Joshua Fogel of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Fogel pointed out that China is still so tightly controlled that what may appear to be a spontaneous political demonstration is likely much more. He also disputed the characterization of Japan as extremist, saying the right-wing, racist element there was about as dominant as it is in the United States.

China’s complaints, he said, were almost cartoonish in light of a substantial left-wing presence in Japanese culture and “the most meticulous scholarship” in the region on Japan’s wartime atrocities. (Indeed, Tokyo first acknowledged “comfort women” after a Japanese professor unearthed documents proving they were used.)

“The Chinese are constantly making demands that the Japanese apologize ever more prostrately,” Fogel told FOXNews.com. “A number of Japanese in the center say, ‘This is enough, already. They can’t dictate our foreign policy anymore.’”

This cartoon is based on the famous AP photograph by Jeff Widener taken during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

UPDATE I -- April 18: From The New York Post: Provoking Japan. (Via TIA Daily)

China's increasing anti-Japanese sentiments have spilled over into U.N. matters, too. Beijing rejected any Japanese bid for a U.N. Security Council (UNSC) seat under recently proposed reforms of the international body.

As a UNSC permanent member with veto rights, Beijing's opposition would block a Japanese bid. While supporting India, Germany and Brazil, China claims that Japan, the U.N.'s second largest donor, doesn't have the "moral qualifications" for a seat.

China's military buildup is also spurring an Asian arms race, pushing "pacifist" Japan to reconsider its defense policy. Many of the more than 750 Chinese missiles now aimed at Taiwan are capable of reaching Japan (and American forces stationed there) as well.

Persistent rumors that the French will sell China Mirage fighters with advanced air-to-air missiles, and maritime patrol aircraft (if the E.U. arms embargo is lifted) has gotten Tokyo's (and Taipei's) rapt attention.

UPDATE II -- April 19: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

UPDATE III -- April 20: From The New York Times: Chinese Official Orders End to Anti-Japanese Demonstrations.

"Cadres and the masses must believe in the party and the government's ability to properly handle all issues linked to Sino-Japanese relations," Mr. Li was quoted as saying. "Calmly, rationally and legally express your own views. Do not attend marches that have not been approved. Do not do anything that might upset social stability."

Mr. Li's comments, carried on national television, amounted to the first direct call by a top official to wind down the protests by tens of thousands of urban residents. The demonstrations have continued on three successive weekends, becoming China's most sustained street protests since the pro-democracy uprising of 1989.

Until now, the protests have enjoyed at least tacit approval from the central government. Although none of the major marches in Beijing, Shanghai and several other cities received formal permits, the police had not made consistent efforts to prevent them or to arrest people responsible for vandalizing Japanese diplomatic missions or private property in the marches.

UPDATE IV -- April 22: From ABC News: Japan PM Apologizes for WWII Aggression. Not surprisingly, China spokesman says more is needed.

UPDATE V -- April 25: This cartoon appears in today's (Monday's) Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at April 17, 2005 05:54 PM