China shouldn’t stir up anti-Japanese sentiment

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 17, 2010)
China shouldn’t stir up anti-Japanese sentiment
尖閣沖漁船衝突 中国は「反日」沈静化に努めよ(9月16日付・読売社説)

China has taken a strikingly hard line over Japan’s handling of the recent collisions of a Chinese fishing trawler with two Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

China has protested five times to Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa over the arrest of the trawler’s captain. China also unilaterally canceled talks on a pact covering joint gas field development in the East China Sea and a scheduled visit to Japan by Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

In particular, the summons of Niwa by Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, a deputy prime minister-level official, in the middle of the night on a holiday flies in the face of diplomatic protocol.

China’s postponement of the gas field talks, which has no direct link with the ship collisions, is an overreaction. We strongly urge China to exercise self-restraint.

Japan in the right

The collisions occurred in Japanese waters off the Senkaku Islands, which are inherently Japanese. It is quite reasonable for Japan to deal with illegal activities in these waters in accordance with domestic law.

China is mistaken if it thinks Japan will buckle to China’s demands if it plays hardball.

Since the 1970s, China has claimed the Senkaku Islands belong to China. It has instilled this belief among its people through “anti-Japanese patriotism” education since the 1990s.

If Chinese people get the impression that their government is “weak-kneed,” it could ignite simmering public discontent over the country’s economic disparities and other ills, which could escalate into anger directed at the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

This fear has apparently driven the Chinese government to take a high-handed stance toward Japan over the collisions. But we think Beijing is barking up the wrong tree.

Online bulletin boards in China have been increasingly used to post extreme messages encouraging retaliatory attacks on Japan. Japanese living in China have been harassed, and small metallic balls were fired at a Japanese school building in Tianjin.

Level heads needed

The Japanese government on Monday sent members of the fishing boat crew, except for the captain, back to China, together with the vessel.

We hoped China would applaud this attempt by the Japanese government to take some of the sting out of the situation. However, China has proclaimed the crew and vessel were returned “due to the united action taken by the Chinese government and its people.” Beijing has used Japan’s gesture to earn brownie points with the public.

This will only inflame “anti-Japanese” sentiment among Chinese people. We urge the Chinese government to defuse such sentiment and prevent a recurrence of the 2005 “anti-Japanese riots.”

We also hope the Japanese side will continue to keep a level head. That being said, the government must not hesitate to refute inaccurate Chinese media reports, such as the claim that JCG patrol vessels “crashed into the fishing boat from behind.”

The JCG videotaped the fishing boat intentionally colliding with two patrol vessels. However, the JCG has not released the tapes because it might need to submit them as evidence in court should the incident become a criminal case.

If it becomes apparent that the captain was at fault, it may soothe public anger in China. Perhaps making the videotape public would be one way to achieve this.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 16, 2010)
(2010年9月16日01時27分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: Uncategorized パーマリンク


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