April 26, 2005


Today anti-Japan, tomorrow anti-Beijing? (Aaron Kyle Dennis , 4/27/05, Asia Times)

The flood of anti-Japan demonstrations then spread to Shanghai, Tianjin and Hangzhou. Waving banners that read "The anti-Japan war is not over yet," and chanting "We love our China, we hate your Japan," and in English "We want war," demonstrators made it undeniably clear they were not merely marching in protest of a textbook or in denunciation of Japan's bid for permanent Security Council membership. More than a dozen Japanese restaurants, shops and bars (many of them Chinese-owned) had rocks flung through their windows and were pelted with crimson-red paint bombs; a Nissan sedan (Chinese-owned) was smashed and overturned, and a police car alleged to be protecting a Japanese passenger had its windshield broken out while onlookers chanted "Kill the Japanese!" Police were standing in lines three-deep, not with the intention to block demonstrators, but to guide them; police behind a professionally printed blue-and-white sign reading; "March route continues in this direction"; police sipping lattes with demonstrators in cafes - these scenes do not even hint at an urge toward suppressing anti-Japanese hostilities.

The question that has arisen out of the big Shanghai demonstration - and those leading up to it over the past few weeks in Chengdu, Shenzhen and Beijing, among others - concerns whether it is on the Chinese government's agenda to allow anti-Japan protesters to voice their opinion publicly. But the bigger question is this: in a new era of online petitions with 22 million signatories and of public demonstrations of 20,000 organized primarily by SMS (short message service) and e-mail, in what ways will Chinese citizens be able to shape future government agendas? It is possible that equipped with an understanding of how to organize en masse and seemingly under the radar of Beijing's censors, younger Chinese may begin encouraging others to take to the streets against corruption and government land seizures, to complain about economic inequality or ideological repression. That is to say, with a slight change of focus, Beijing may see a change of course in its internal affairs towards more turbulent political waters.

Dictators can never afford to empower the people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2005 8:59 PM

You know that Lien Chan (KMT party leader in Taiwan) is visiting China this week. It is fascinating and I think it will blow up in the KMT's and CCP's faces.

OJ: could you post on this and esp. your hunches regarding possibility of Bush in his second term solving the "Taiwan Question" once and for all (unilateral recognition of Taiwan as a free state, for e.g?)

Timing is everything. This charade has gone on long enough. This is a free nation.


Posted by: george at April 27, 2005 9:36 PM


This is one of those very few questions--another being the Americans with Disabilities Act--where W is too beholden to his father. It will more likely be President McCain or Giuliani who announces the multiple China's policy.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2005 11:08 PM