Sunday, October 17, 2010

Don't Look At Us

As regards the Chinese protests on Saturday, the Chinese national government has phoned in with its own protest.

China calls on public to express patriotism rationally
Kyodo News

BEIJING, Oct. 17 - The Chinese government called on the public to express patriotism rationally and in line with the law Sunday in the wake of sometimes violent protests against Japan the previous day over a territorial dispute.

"We maintain that patriotism should be expressed rationally and in line with law. We don't agree with irrational actions that violate laws and regulations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday and carried by China's state-run Xinhua News Agency...
You have to admit, when a government supposedly as tyrannical and ruthless as China's is reduced to imploring members of the public to act rationally and obey the laws of the land, you are entirely in your right mind to be concerned about the power of said government to maintain control over anti-Japanese thought and action.

What is it that the proverb says is so difficult about riding the tiger? By trying to outdo its netizen patriots in ramping up the territorial hysteria last month, the Chinese government may be finding out.

2 comments:

Janne Morén said...

Well, as other posters have pointed out, street protests are an everyday event in China. I would want to see data showing that these protests against Japan are significantly above the general noise level before I (or you, or Okumura) credit it with any significance whatsoever.

Or to put it another way: the right-wing and loony religious fringe in Japan (a fair number of whom seem to be Koreans for whatever reason) are always up in arms over something or other, and it only matters if they manage to make a splash over and above the general speaker-van induced noise. Similarly, any Chinese protest only matters if it somehow manages to rise above the rioting happening every day in every corner of the country.

A decent test of either is to look for foreign-news reports since they need to ruthlessly winnow out only the significant news - if, say, European press is silent regarding some Asian protest or another, then it most likely doesn't mean a thing.

Anonymous said...

Note that all these violent anti-Japanese demonstrations all took place in secondary Chinese cities where there are no Japanese consulates present.

The Japanese diplomatic missions in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai were all relatively tight in security and no sign of any protest could be seen.

Some dissidents have speculated this is actually a calculated move by the Communist Party to let the public vent their steam while at the same time diverting attention away from the embarrassment caused by their most high profile political prisoner Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The timing is just too uncanny.