(written in last semester)
This September, anti-Japanese demonstrations and riots spread throughout China, the People’s Republic of China. Many companies, shops, and restaurants related to Japan were destroyed. Some people were injured by the Chinese just because they were from Japan. Japanese national flags, symbols of the nation, were burned and the Japanese embassy in Beijing was surrounded by angry Chinese citizens who attempted to break in. As a result the amount of damage reached more than one hundred million dollars. The president of a supermarket had his store robbed and everything inside the building was destroyed. He said this is not a demonstration, it’s terrorism. This series of violence was triggered by the announcement by the Japanese government about buying the Senkaku Islands located between Japan and Taiwan’s border from the Japanese owner. China is claiming groundlessly that the islands originally belonged to them for the use of rich natural resources around the islands. I think it is not strange that territorial issues happen between nations. And I agree with that acts of demonstration are kind of basic political right. People can insist on their political views by demonstration and sometimes a big change may occur through it, but of course violence, riots, and plundering are not rights. Any kinds of violence to people and property unacceptable.
I know the major part of Chinese people especially the educated, understand how awful anti-Japanese violence is. In general Chinese people hate any kind of violence. For instance Liu Xiaobo who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China, also Jackie Chan currently serves as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF in order to promote the well being of children, 2012 is the 40th anniversary of restoration of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. Many people from both countries have tried to develop friendly relations. Despite these encouraging events, the violence still occurred.
Chinese authorities usually do not allow any sort of protests and demonstrations to occur even though they are morally right because they are likely to cause some kind of anti-government movements. Chinese authorities worry about it too much. Actually the demonstrations protesting the Chinese government’s radical policy towards Tibetans through a western Chinese town in Huangnan State was immediately suppressed by armed policemen this November (Christopher). However anti-Japanese demonstrations spread many big cities in China and they were not suppressed at first. Many global thinkers say that one of the biggest reasons the anti-Japanese violence spread so freely was due to the fact that they were lead by authority figures. Senator Jim Webb, Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on the Committee on Foreign Relations, said “These protests, abetted by the Chinese government, have damaged Japanese-owned businesses and caused considerable harm” (Jim) on the beginning of public hearing on September 20. Also the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing said, “the outbreak of protests was almost certainly sanctioned by the Chinese authorities, as they were well policed. In the past, the authorities have used anti-Japanese sentiment to deflect criticism of their rule”(Mariko). As Mr. Martin pointed out, using anti-Japanese sentiment may be very effective way to keep 1.3 billion citizens under control, however, any kind of violence is completely unacceptable to the Japanese people and we will not tolerate it.
In addition to the tragedy for the Japanese people, the Chinese people in China did not learn the inconvenient truth about the communist party and the government of China. That is why most Chinese people believe thing like Japan is wrong, have to fight with the Japanese, of course diaoyu islands, the name the Chinese use to refer to the Senkaku Islands, is Chinese territory without doubt. Due to the biased education system in China, many of the Chinese citizens have prejudice beliefs and this interrupts the conversation about the history between Japan and China. The history and global-standards that the Chinese people learn are much different than the rest of the world. For example, many of the Chinese people do not truly know how the Senkaku Islands were treated in the past. According to history, Japan has had ownership of the Senkaku islands since 1895. China has only claimed the islands as recent as 1971 (MOFA). It was after the publication of an academic survey by the United Nations in 1969 which indicated the possibility of the existence of petroleum resources close to the Senkaku Islands that the Chinese government began to make their own assertions about territorial sovereignty over the islands (MOFA). The claim that “They [Japan] should return the islands to us[China] and apologize”(Mariko) is due to their ignorance. They can’t use the word “return” because the Senkaku Islands have never been a part of China (MOFA). In China, the people have no access to the truth. Specifically, internet domains ending in .co.jp were temporary blocked from China’s Web space during the dispute. This meant any website with a local Japanese domain was not available to public Internet users in the country (Jon).
Even though this time’s anti-Japanese demonstrations in China were the worst scale ever, we the Japanese must not stop maintaining communication between citizens. The words “China” or “Chinese authority” is not always equal to “Chinese people” and vice versa. Perhaps the biggest reason that the Japanese people had demonstrations without violence was due to the fact that they had access to all the information. Because the Japanese people had unrestricted access to the information the Chinese people did not have, they were able to compare the claims about the Senkaku Islands from the Japanese government with that of the Chinese government. So I think the Chinese people were not at fault because this huge gap in the availability of information between neighboring countries caused the dispute, not by them. At the same time, if one has limited information, they also have the possibility of becoming members of riots. The most important thing is to not lose control of oneself, to be critical of any information, and to pay careful attention to what is happening.
Finally, the anti-Japanese violence became a good opportunity for people to think about what the Japanese and Chinese people have to learn and understand for our future. Japanese people have to know how people from our neighbor countries think and what they learned in school. The Chinese people have to be more critical of the information they receive from the authorities, and people from each country have to keep thinking about what is right and wrong. In conclusion, the anti-Japanese violence was completely wrong and only done because of the ignorance of the Chinese citizens.