Sadogashima as seen from along the Echigo-Nana'ura Highway
Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture on September 15, 2012
Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture on September 15, 2012
I have been spending a few days away from a keyboard and the Gmail address, visiting Tanaka Kaueiland, where the likeness of the man reviled by most of the country can still be found on the walls inside homes, a strange messiah of a most simple and durable cult.
I have still been watching the news and reading the newspapers, though.
An aside, but I have a great love for the prefectural newspapers. They all carry uncut and undigested Kyodo News reports -- which is unsurprising, since they own the operation. They also are a window into local passions and worries -- views that rarely are translated and transmitted to the outside world. The problem is not unique to Japan -- I cannot imagine the vastnesses of what one could know about India were one able to read the morning news in the 35 or so main languages of the country -- but even in a country with a single main language and an openness to investigating local conditions, the narrowness of the window through which the world views this blessed land is sobering.
Sobering also has been the intimidation the Chinese government seems ready to turn on and off in an attempt to rattle the nerves of the government and people of this blessed land:
Backing off not an option for ChinaThe Senkakus are worth putting China's strategic missile forces on high alert?
15 September 2012
Intense friction entails high geopolitical risks and the possibility of negative impacts to both economies. But with a high level of support from the public, China is gaining the upper hand psychologically in such a contest.
China is diplomatically resourceful in Northeast Asia compared to Japan, which is notorious in its sovereignty disputes with regional players.
It is clear that Japan touched probably the thorniest issue in bilateral ties, which in turn serves as an opportunity for China. We should seize the chance and make historic advancements in safeguarding our sovereignty by breaking Japan's "administration" of the islands.
China should be confident about strategically overwhelming Japan. The People's Liberation Army's Navy and Air Force, as well as its Second Artillery Corps, are advised to increase their preparation and intensify their deterrence against Japan's Self-Defense Forces.
China will not shy away if Japan chooses to resort to its military. As friction escalates, it is more likely for Japan to retreat in the face of unreliable US security assurances and China's strengthened strategic combat capabilities...
Who are these people? What planet do they expect to share with anyone?
Of course, they are the same folks who bring us:
Violence is never appropriate solution
17 September 2012
Protests against Japan's provocation over the Diaoyu Islands broke out in several Chinese cities over the weekend. Violent action targeting Japanese products and enterprises happened in places including Xi'an and Changsha, leaving many Chinese nationals to suffer economic losses. The violence was condemned by Chinese media. It appears that public opinion has reached a clear consensus this time.
Since the May 4th Movement of a century ago, mass protests in China have often been accompanied by violence, and unrelated targets can be in the crossfire. Public opinion however often judges violence from a fixed set of values and becomes rather selective in deciding whether to support or oppose it.
Violent protests plague many countries, especially developing economies. Anti-US protests are currently marring the Arab world. China has been making progress in staging orderly protests in recent years. Street protests have not necessarily been disorderly on every occasion. In major hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, protests are often carried out in a more civilized way. Meanwhile, voices against violent protests are on the rise. This time is no different. Violence cannot be tolerated simply because the protests are aimed at Japan...
Nuclear weapons? OK. Drink bottles and eggs? Not OK. Even if the target is Japan.
As for the 1000 ship armada of fishing vessels yesterday reported to be sailing for the Senkakus, it has failed to show up. Whether this is due to the passage of the super typhoon or is simply an example of vaporware journalism, remains to be seen. As of noon, the Japan Coast Guard had encountered but a lone Chinese fisheries patrol boat that quickly popped in and just as quickly popped out of the 12 nautical mile zone about the Senkakus.
Just what the Chinese government's game is, aside from convincing the people of Japan that the Chinese people as a whole are nuts, confounds. The most likely explanation for having police guiding the protests and the news media at once condoning, then denouncing violence, is to smoke out potential troublemakers to be watched and harassed -- or coopted into playing parts in the government's future stage-managed protests.
As for the effect of the images of protestors battling police in front of Japanese diplomatic missions, the burning of Japanese-owned or operated businesses and the interviews of men and women on the street spouting inanities (a smart thing for the individual to do, as one cannot never be sure of the actual identities of the members of the camera crew) it could not be possible less conducive to a passive resignation to Chinese suzereinty over the East Asian region.
Or as one cartoonist for the Global Times chose (out of recondite ironic protest?) to depict the peace China will bring to the East China Sea:
Tips of the hat to Corey Wallace and Bryce Wakefield for links in this post.