Thursday, December 19, 2013

Très Bien, Chevalier Chen

Knight of Order of Merit and former press attaché to the Beijing Embassy Chen Yo-jun has a lucid essay up at The Diplomat on the peculiar mixture of deft and clumsy that is China's Asian diplomacy. (Link)

The only mistake or misinterpretation I see is in the passage:
The fact that the new zone covers the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands has only added to the sense of crisis and Sinophobia already bubbling in Japan. Some observers suggest that China has in fact done Abe a favor. For months, the Japanese leader has been trying to convince a reluctant nation to give him almost a blank check (such as a controversial state secrecy bill) to drastically beef up both internal security control (a nightmare for democracy advocates) and Japan's military capabilities. Thanks to Beijing, Abe now has a much more acquiescent parliament. [my emphasis]
That last line is misleading. The acquiescence of the Diet to Abe's wishes has little to do with Beijing and much to do with the huge number of Liberal Democratic Party butts sitting in the seats.

Furthermore, the implication that the Diet has posed a problem for Abe's security program is not accurate. Diet members were Johnny-come-latelies to the fight against the secrecy law. Protest against that egregious bit of legislation came from civil society: lawyers, performing artists, journalists, NGOs, educators and concerned common citizens. Opposition members of the Diet got up on the bandwagon only after the citizens got it rolling. It was the people, not their representatives, who baulked at the sweeping purview and unJapanese severity of the law.

That Chevalier Chen's essay would be unsteady upon the political situation inside Japan is surprising. The former career French diplomat, who in addition to Beijing had stints in the consulate in San Francisco and as director of ministry's photograph department (!), is living in retirement in Tateshina.

Hors de ces deux interprétations erronées, très bien fait, Chevalier Chen!

1 comment:

Robert Dujarric said...

Fascinating life. Taiwanese-born with a Vietnamese mother, lived in Vietnam as a kid, university in Japan, Japanese wife, naturalized French citizen in Tokyo (never having been to France), joined the French foreign service, vice-consul general in San Francisco. A globalized man before globalization.