Sunday, April 17, 2005


Divide and conquer

Anti-Japanese riots in China are sponsored by the Chinese government. Probably as a substitute for anti-Chinese government riots. And the big winner? Bushco, which will sell "security" to the Japanese and computers to China. When the largest group reached the Japanese consulate, they jostled with riot police who allowed them to throw bottles and stones at the building. The walls were splattered with black and red paint and solar panels on the roof were smashed. 'Japanese pigs get out!' they shouted in a stand-off that lasted hours. Among the participants was a group of three 11-year-old girls, carrying a banner reading: 'Boycott Japanese products.'
Kinda reminiscent of the "spontaneous" demonstrations in Ukraine, right? (But even though Bush bought the election, he wasn't able to buy Ukraine's continued participation in the Coalition of the Billing.)
China is a remarkably complex place, PW. A Japanese woman of my acquaintance said that the complexity of the culture made her physically ill. Admittedly this was in the Deng period, before "liberalization" significantly reduced the risks of talking openly with foreigners, but after the Gang of Four. But she was not referring to the politics, but deep elements of the culture: color schemes, culinary design, and on and on. I think the book Tai-Pan accurately captures some sense of this.

At any rate, anti-Japanese demonstrations are probably not spontaneous. Chinese have a very good understanding of what brutality the government is capable of if it opposes demonstrations. So, if they are being set up, by who and why? Some faction of the government (there are, I think, many) with the goal of provoking conflict with Japan.

I can't imagine why they would do this. If they were planning a real conflict, they would just do it. Since the consequence of such riots is likely to be the rearmament of Japan, one imagines that someone in China wants Japan to militarize. Why? And whom are they acting on behalf of? Chinese nationalists? Russians? The American government? Or is it just a distraction from the high unemployment and rural misery?

Chinese politics is like 10-dimensional chess, with Bush on the side, playing Go Fish.
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