It would be a stretch to connect the notion of war with an old enemy with peaceful development.
These are old wounds, no doubt.
The initial ponderance – was this something the central government wants – this takes away the element of stability right in its backyard. And it openly gives away how the Chinese will react when provoked.
Beyond the dominant-hegemonic reading for a need for defensive buffer and the natural resources, has public sphere 2.0 accelerated deeply rooted public sentiment and overwhelmed central authority, in this act of nationalism – misplaced or not? In a time when some quarters of the PLA have already declared they are ready for a fight, let’s hope the middle path in a time of interdependence prevails.
A look at the Global Times will reveal however, that state media also has a hand in stirring the cauldron. See Backing off not an option for China Op-Ed (Global Times, September 15, 2012). That said a later Op-Ed appeared entitled Violence is never appropriate solution saying such acts plague developing economies. In one of his first acts upon return to the public eye, China’s Xi calls Japan’s “purchase” of Diaoyu Islands “a farce” (Xinhua, September 19, 2012).
See also the official statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the “purchase” of the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated Nan Xiaodao and Bei Xiaodao and the implementation of the so-called “nationalization” of the islands.
The Falun-gong connected Epoch Times offers a oppositional theory that a regime faction is behind stirring the sentiment – it uses digital photos of protesters wearing bullet-proof vests under cover as an example. This of course provides thoughtful fodder on the state of central authority. See Behind China’s Anti-Japan Protests, the Hand of Officials (updated September 18, 2012)
China-Japan protests resume amid islands row during a highly sensitive date for China, 18 September marks the day in 1931 as precursor to Japan’s eventual invasion. (from the BBC, September 18, 2012) BBC’s Martin Patience: “Some of the protesters are pelting the embassy with plastic bottles and then they’re moving on“
Global Insights: Senkaku Dispute Reflects China-Japan Struggle for Regional Primacy (World Politics Review, September 18, 2012)
Tensions with Japan Increase as China Sends Patrol Boats to Disputed Islands (Time, September 14, 2012)
Looking further back in history, tension with the old enemy has been ongoing narrative for centuries. Indeed, just back in 2010, a Chinese fishing boat caused a stir.
Amid Tension, China Blocks Vital Exports to Japan (New York Times, Sep 2010)
U.S. ‘watching’ rising China-Japan tensions – Washington backs Tokyo in spat stemming from fishing-boat incident (Washington Times, Late Sep 2010)
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China vs. Japan: Rising Tensions Over the East China Sea
by Gloria Riviera and Akiko Fujita
Source – ABC News, published September 18, 2012
In Beijing on Tuesday there were two unusual occurrences. First, the city saw the largest protest in years take place outside of the Japanese Embassy. Thousands of Chinese took to the streets, angry over Japan’s claim to disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Second, there were clear blue skies from morning until night. The air pollution index was a staggeringly low 23, making it a beautiful day to call for war with an old enemy.
Protestors told ABC News they were there to claim territory that has been an inherent part of China since ancient times. One woman said, “We are here to declare our sovereignty over Japan!” Another man said, “If the nation needs us, we can all carry a gun to go to war.” Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: ABC News, Beijing Consensus, Communications, Culture, East China Sea, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, China's Rise, Defense, East China Sea, International Relations, Japan, Natural Resources, Strategy