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Old April 25th, 2005, 02:49 AM   #1
Saigonese
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China Suffers Memory Lapses Too

The past month has seen an eruption of anti-Japanese protests in several Chinese cities. The protesters were angry at Japan's approval of a nationalist textbook which they accuse of glossing over atrocities during the years when Japan occupied China. However Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says the Chinese also have a habit of forgetting awkward moments in their own history.

Now I have to admit to being somewhat biased on this issue.

You see my wife is Japanese, hence my children are half Japanese; they have Japanese passports.

So when I hear people shouting, "I hate the Japanese," or "Japanese pigs must die," it tends to put my back up.

And these are some of the things I've heard being shouted by the protesters who've taken to the streets of China's biggest cities over the past few weeks.

True, many have not.

Many have been expressing their sincere effrontery at Japan's continued ducking of history. I've read enough Chinese history to understand how they feel.

Most infamous is what's known here as the Rape of Nanjing. In 1937 in the old Chinese capital Nanjing, invading Japanese troops butchered tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Chinese civilians in a month-long orgy of slaughter.

Thousands more young Chinese women were later forced into sexual slavery as what the Japanese army euphemistically called "comfort women". History like this is difficult to forgive or to forget.

Rage

But as I watched the stream of young people marching down the streets shouting their anti-Japanese slogans, I couldn't help feeling this wasn't about history, it was something much more visceral.


Young Chinese are taught about the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II. They are not however taught about the 17 official apologies that Japan has made to China over the last 30 years

Much of the rhetoric was overtly hateful, even racist.

"Japanese dwarfs," one banner read, "Japanese devils," another.

The crowd turned its rage on anything Japanese they could lay their hands on.


Restaurants with Japanese signs had their windows smashed. A Honda car was set upon, its windows shattered and doors kicked in.

The fact that the car was made in China, and the woman driving it Chinese, didn't seem to matter.

Where's all this rage coming from?

To try to find out I went to visit one of the organisers of this new anti-Japanese movement.

Lu Yunfei is a 25-year-old computer engineer. I found him tapping away on his computer keyboard in his modest flat in one of the new high rise developments on the edge of Beijing. With a warm smile he invited me in and proffered a cup of hot Chinese tea.

Patriotic

Lu is typical of the new generation of young, urban Chinese. He has a good job, good income, and more personal freedom than any previous generation.


The Japanese prime minister has apologised for his country's wartime record in Asia
He is too young to remember the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution. Instead his experience is of the boom times of the 1990s. He is grateful to the Communist Party, and deeply patriotic.

If there is one thing that gets Lu going, it's Japan. From his flat he runs a website called the Chinese Patriotic Alliance.

His latest campaign is a petition to stop Japan getting a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. So far Lu claims to have got more than 20 million signatures.

"Japan has never faced up to its wartime history," he tells me.

"This is something we Chinese cannot accept. Japan should not be allowed on the UN Security Council. That would be like allowing a criminal to join the police."

This is all fairly standard stuff, but next came this:

"Japan," he told me confidently, "is determined to keep China down."

"Militarism is on the rise again. The right wing is changing Japan's constitution so that it can attack its neighbours again."


Propaganda

When I asked my wife what she thought about this she laughed.

"That's crazy," she said, "yes, they are right-wing groups in Japan, that's true, but the vast majority of Japanese only want peaceful relations with China."

Unlike Japan, in China the government really does control history

Mr Lu's view of Japan is informed by the Chinese Communist Party's own heavy brand of propaganda.

Young Chinese are taught about the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II. They are not however taught about the 17 official apologies that Japan has made to China over the last 30 years, including one from the Japanese emperor when he visited Beijing.

Nor are they told of the $30bn in aid that Japan has given to China since ties were re-established in 1972, aid that has helped build Beijing's international airport and the city's new subway system. You'll search in vain for a plaque on either acknowledging where the money came from.

Unlike Japan, in China the government really does control history.


Erasing history

China's own history has been relentlessly rewritten to erase the episodes the Communist Party would rather forget. Ask any young Chinese about Mao's disastrous "great leap forward" campaign in which more than 20 million people starved to death, and you will get a blank stare.

Ask about China's unprovoked invasion of Vietnam in 1979 in which tens of thousands of Vietnamese were killed. Again, nothing.

Last week China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao declared that:

"Only a country that respects history, and takes responsibility for history, can take greater responsibilities in the international community."

He was talking about Japan, but he could just as well have been talking about China.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 03:36 AM   #2
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Young Chinese are taught about the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II. They are not however taught about the 17 official apologies that Japan has made to China over the last 30 years

like the one made by Kozumi yesterday? same day senators went to worship Tojo.


Ask about China's unprovoked invasion of Vietnam in 1979 in which tens of thousands of Vietnamese were killed. Again, nothing.

unprovked? why did you invade Cambodia? why did you force all vietnamnese chinese out of the country?
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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #3
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Japan's apologies mean nothing if they are merely empty words that are not backed up by actions...

In any case, I personally could care less about Japan's apology... as long as they acknolwedge their warcrimes and don't whitewash their history.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen
Young Chinese are taught about the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II. They are not however taught about the 17 official apologies that Japan has made to China over the last 30 years

like the one made by Kozumi yesterday? same day senators went to worship Tojo.


Ask about China's unprovoked invasion of Vietnam in 1979 in which tens of thousands of Vietnamese were killed. Again, nothing.

unprovked? why did you invade Cambodia? why did you force all vietnamnese chinese out of the country?
Invading Cambodia was none of your country's own business. Besides, the Khmer Rouge then frequently entered Vietnamese territory to murder civilians.

Forcing Chinese Vietnamese out of our country is Vietnam's own business and non of China's concern.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:48 AM   #5
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Back to the topic, why is China accusing Japan of whitewashing history when China is doing the same with the cultural revolution, the great leap forward, invasion of Vietnam, butchering of Tibetans and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners?

I smell a case of hypocrisy here.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigonese
Back to the topic, why is China accusing Japan of whitewashing history when China is doing the same with the cultural revolution, the great leap forward, invasion of Vietnam, butchering of Tibetans and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners?

I smell a case of hypocrisy here.
All countries are hypocritic one way or another. U.S., the nation that screams the loudest when it comes to "freedom" have in recent history fought the most wars and probably killed the most people.

Do you honestly believe that your beloved Vietnam is completely honest and truthful? Heh...

Cambodia was China's ally when Vietnam invaded, so it was China's business.

When Vietnam forced Chinese-Vietnamese out of their homes in Vietnam, it was also China's business as they were still Chinese even if their families have lived in Vietnam for generations.

You can pretty much justify everything, but there is really no point to that is there?

I can also use your own logic and argue that this issue between China and Japan is none of Vietnamese's business, heh... how does your own medicine taste?
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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:58 AM   #7
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You're correlating between an issue up for discussion and one relating to one country's illegal invasion of another.

I'm sure you have more brain than that to figure out your flawed logic.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:59 AM   #8
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I'd care more about the textbook issue (assuming Chinese concerns are valid and the textbooks do ignore such wartime aggression) than an official apology. Today's leaders and public are mostly of the post-war generation, anyway. How would they ever fully understand what their predecessors did?
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:03 AM   #9
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17 apologies?? u know there's a difference btwn "feell guilty" and "apologize"

just as pangu said, it's none of Vietnam's buisness

I smell a case of hypocrisy from you, Mr. Saigonese
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigonese
You're correlating between an issue up for discussion and one relating to one country's illegal invasion of another.

I'm sure you have more brain than that to figure out your flawed logic.
I'm afraid I'm not sure what you're talking about.

"Illegal invasion"? Heh, how many "legal" invasions are there? I'd like to hear both the invaders and the invaded agree and say something like "Yup, the invasion was perfectably acceptable as it was legal..." <rolleyes>
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superchan7
I'd care more about the textbook issue (assuming Chinese concerns are valid and the textbooks do ignore such wartime aggression) than an official apology. Today's leaders and public are mostly of the post-war generation, anyway. How would they ever fully understand what their predecessors did?
Same thing can be said about the Chinese. How would they ever fully understand the true extent of the horror of the cultural revolution, great leap forward, China's aggression towards her neighbours and butchering of Tibetans if they don't ever learn what their predecessors did?

Complaining about Japan while their doing the same thing is hypocrisy at a national level and make fools out of you all.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangu
I'm afraid I'm not sure what you're talking about.

"Illegal invasion"? Heh, how many "legal" invasions are there? I'd like to hear both the invaders and the invaded agree and say something like "Yup, the invasion was perfectably acceptable as it was legal..." <rolleyes>
I'm afraid you're not as intelligent as I thought.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by van_gogh
17 apologies?? u know there's a difference btwn "feell guilty" and "apologize"

just as pangu said, it's none of Vietnam's buisness

I smell a case of hypocrisy from you, Mr. Saigonese
And how do you define the term "feel guilty". As far as I'm concerned, at least Japan apologised for what she did. China NEVER did for her crimes against her people and people from other nations.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigonese
I'm afraid you're not as intelligent as I thought.
Oh sure, resort to personal attacks

Just admit that you lack the ability to properly express your thoughts and that the only reason you even started this thread is to be the troll that you are.

Anyway, I will monitor this thread and close it if you continue flaming, Mr. Saigonese.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigonese
And how do you define the term "feel guilty". As far as I'm concerned, at least Japan apologised for what she did. China NEVER did for her crimes against her people and people from other nations.
Mr. Saigonese, please learn to use the "Edit" button and stop double and even triple-posting. It's easier on everyone if you would just be kind enough to combine all of your attacks and insults into one post until someone else posts after you...

Like many people have pointed out before, empty words don't mean anything if they aren't backed up by actions. Japan apologizing doesn't mean anything when they are still whitewashing their history by modifying their history books.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangu
Oh sure, resort to personal attacks

Just admit that you lack the ability to properly express your thoughts and that the only reason you even started this thread is to be the troll that you are.

Anyway, I will monitor this thread and close it if you continue flaming, Mr. Saigonese.
That is not personal attack, it's just an observation.
Why don't you admit your fob status and your difficulty in comprehending English? I started this thread to have a frank discussion and you call me a troll, now isn't that personal attack?

Oh thank you for monitoring this thread, Mr. Pangu



And what right does China have to demand Japanese action when China itself committed heinous crimes and refused to acknowledge it, let alone apologise?
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:15 AM   #16
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how do I define them?? i don't define them. The term that Mr. Koizumi used is "owabi", which is merely feeling guilty. The term used as a formal apology in Japanese is "Shazai", which has never been used before.

Just wondering, who do u think China should make an apology to? Could you please make a list
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:16 AM   #17
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why are japanese only demanding for american apology on Hiroshima but not pressuring their own government to face up to the history? they are equally hypocritical if you ask me.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by van_gogh
how do I define them?? i don't define them. The term that Mr. Koizumi used is "owabi", which is merely feeling guilty. The term used as a formal apology in Japanese is "Shazai", which has never been used before.

Just wondering, who do u think China should make an apology to? Could you please make a list
To the people of China itself for the disasters that were the great leap forward, the cultural revolution and the Tiananment Square. To the Tibetans for wholesale massacres and attempted genocide. To the ethnic minorities and Muslims for oppression and murders. To the Vietnamese for unjustified war.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:28 AM   #19
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why does not vietamnese government apologize to cambodians for attempted genocide? to chinese minorities for discrimination? to south vietamnese for oppression? what right do you have to tell us what to do if your own government ignores its crimes? it's hypocrisy isn't it?

no one is innocent, get real, but i dont care about other people's business, so shouldn't you.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #20
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Well, I think it's up to the country's citizen to demand for an apology for Cultural Revolution and Tiananment Square, if the citizens felts that an apology is needed. Tibetans are treated normally in China and the Hui Muslim minorities always have had a good relationship with the Han Chinese. It's very hard to escape the scrutiny of the world in this day and age. The Japanese treated the Hui badly during the war which included eating pork inside the mosques and mocking their religion. Should Japan apologize to Hui also?

By all means your suggestions are legitimate. However, it is not realistic that all sins commited by the governemnt would be apologized. How far could you go?
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