Sino-Japanese Apprehension

At the Beijing airport, border security personnel yesterday refused the entry into the PRC of Japanese scholar Naoko Mizutani on the grounds that she was a supporter of Uighur indepdence.  Huanqiu Shibao reported on the incident, basing its information somewhat on this Yomiuri Shimbun report, which I include below:

Chinese authorities refused to allow a Chuo University lecturer who has been studying Uygur issues to enter the country after her plane landed in Beijing on Saturday, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. Observers said it is unusual for a Japanese to be denied entry to China, and that it suggests Beijing remains on edge over the massive riots that erupted in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in July.

After Naoko Mizutani arrived at Beijing Capital Airport from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, she was summoned by Chinese authorities and told she was not permitted to enter the country. The authorities refused to tell Mizutani why she had been barred from China, she added. Mizutani, who has written a book titled “Chugoku-o Owareta Uiguru-jin” (Uygurs expelled from China), had to immediately return to Tokyo.

What’s interesting is what the Huanqiu Shibao, in its subtly titled article “中国拒绝日本支持“疆独”学者入境 日媒关注” adds to the above report:

日本一位不愿意透露姓名的中国问题专家对《环球时报》表示,中国政府这样做是可以理解的。在中国看来,热比娅的行为是分裂中国的行为,支持热比娅就是支持 分裂中国。世界上恐怕任何一个国家都不会接受希望分裂自己国家的人入境。日本学者中岛岭雄曾经提出中国在未来应该分裂成为7块地区,这个论点后来被李登辉 发展成为“两国论”。事后,中国就多次拒绝中岛岭雄申请访华签证。这次,中国拒绝水谷尚子入境再次表明中国可以同意外国持不同政见的学者入境,但不会允许 在行动上支持分裂中国的外国学者入境。  A Japanese specialist in Chinese affairs who did not wish to disclose his identity told Huanqiu Shibao that “For China’s government to do this [e.g., to refuse entry to Mizutani] is understandable.  In China’s view, [Xinjiang independence activist and exile] Rebiya [Khadeer]‘s activities are actitives meant to break apart China, so to support Rebiya is to support the breakup of China.  On this world, no country should have to fear rejecting people from entering its borders who hope for the breakup of that country.  Japanese scholar Mineo Nakajima has already stated that China should, in the end, be broken into seven districts, and after putting forward this theory, Lee Teng-hui [former President of Taiwan] established his “Two-State Theory.” After this incident, China rejected Nakajima’s application for a visa multiple times.  This time, China refused Mizutani to enter China again not because China can’t agree with the idea of scholars with differing political views entering the country, but because it can’t accept foreign scholars entering China’s borders who act in support of splitting China.”  [rough translation by Adam Cathcart]

First off, this kind of anonymous quotation seems like a typical Global Times plant, something unverifiable dreamed up in the editing room.  Keep in mind, this is the same publication that quotes from anonymous netizens in stories on Ribiya Khadeer’s visit to Japan, meaning that sentences like “How could a criminal of China become an honorable guest in Japan? Damn it! China should play hard in foreign policies” (actual quote) make their way into the body of the story.  And comparing Mizutani, an obviously thoughtful professor of about 44 years of age, to the abrasive senior “anti-China hero” Mineo Nakajima seems like  a stretch.

Mizutani Naoko, via Deutsche Welle Chinese service

More likely, China is trying to chill speech like the following from foreign scholars who deal with Tibet or Xinjiang (excerpt from an AP story of July 2009):

The July 5 [2009] riot in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi was sparked by “explosion of frustration” by Uyghurs over “destruction of the Uyghur language, religion and culture” by Chinese authorities, Naoko Mizutani said in a recent telephone interview.

//

The incident left nearly 200 dead and 1,800 others injured, making it China’s worst ethnic violence in decades.

“Chinese authorities recently demolished architecture symbolizing Uyghur culture and the old town in Kashgar in what they claim was for the city’s redevelopment. The authorities ban local civil servants from worshipping in mosques,” said Mizutani, a lecturer at Tokyo’s Chuo University who has conducted hearings on Uyghur exiles abroad.

“In the past few years, (the authorities) have made regulations requiring (schools) from kindergartens to universities to use Chinese, not Uyghur, for education,” she said, adding all such moves threaten the Uyghurs’ ethnic identity.

Mizutani, 43, said she suspects that Chinese authorities are torturing Uyghurs arrested in connection with the riot.

“My survey has found indescribable forms of torture such as stabbing men’s sex organs with horse tail hair and confining (suspects) in dark prison cells for days,” she said. “It is also not rare to see women who have been raped.”

Mizutani urged the Chinese government to accept inspections from abroad, and called on the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to stop using torture to coerce confessions.

The Japanese researcher believed the riot occurred “spontaneously,” brushing aside accusations that self-exiled Uyghur rights leader Rebiya Kadeer masterminded it.

“Uyghur organizations outside China are not monolithic, and inner situation of the World Uyghur Congress is complicated,” she said. “I know Ms. Rebiya in person, but she has no power to directly lead protests in Xinjiang because she finds difficulties even in uniting Uyghurs outside China.”

Being aware of such circumstances, Chinese authorities have denounced the Washington-based Kadeer and the Munich-based congress to weaken dissatisfied Uyghur forces in China and exile organizations abroad, she said.

Mizutani dismissed anger among Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group, at the protest actions of Uyghurs.

Noting that Han Chinese receive considerable financial support and preferential treatment from the Xinjiang government, just like in Tibet, she said Han Chinese often fail to recognize they are “hurting the feelings of Uyghurs.”

What the Chinese Communist Party does to minority groups is the same as what Japan did in former Manchuria (before and during World War II) — a colonial policy that deprives people of land and the language,” Mizutani said, urging Chinese authorities to alter that policy toward minority ethnic groups.

When a Japanese scholar goes after the CCP for Manchukuo-style tactics in Western China, she is either a. incredibly gutsy, b. aware of what she speaks, c. intensely provocative, or d. some combination of a.-c., with an outside possibility at all times that this is all some complex locution which Japanese right-wing figures might love. (Huanqiu Shibao avoides getting into any Japanese right wing groups’ excitement over her expulsion from China, but does mention that the scholar tried to enter China without a visa under the new regulations in which Japanese can visit China for up to 15 days without a visa for purposes of tourism).

Apparently scholars like Mizutani, it seems, are not supposed to share the stage in Tokyo when Ribiya Khadeer makes speeches there supporting “East Turkestan Independence.”  Yes indeed!  Get rid of all that unnecessary historical context that scholars bring, and then the world will certainly be a better place.

And, if I’m not mistaken, Mizutani has a good grasp of historical context not just in Xinjiang, but in the broader Sino-Japanese relationship.  She has penned two books on anti-Japanese sentiment in China, including this 2005 text on the role that anti-Japanese sentiment plays in the construction of Chinese patriotism, and this one entitled : “Before ‘Anti-Japanese': Reminscences of China’s Japan Hands.”   Her other works on war memory, comparing Japanese to German, are shared here by a Chinese blogger, meaning that her intellectual achievments might have some value for Chinese readers if only stripped of their emphasis on ethnonationalism or criticism of the CCP.

In other news, China is watching Japanese media stories closely about Chinese economic expansion into Africa, wondering what kind of Japanese person would oppose it, while noting that Japan is accellerating its aid programs to Africa substantially in a new arena of Sino-Japanese competition.

Then we have a Global Times editorial in English encouraging Chinese to look at Japan’s example and learn from it:

Mention of Japan stirs both awe and antipathy among many Chinese. The recent fiasco of Toyota seems to be yet another example adding to Japan’s decline from its past glory.

Again, Chinese people received the news with mixed feelings.

Has Japan run out of steam in the race against Western developed countries? Will Japan’s experience be repeated by other Asian countries, many of which have charted the Japanese growth model to the prosperity? Japan’s history of ups and downs offers much food for thought.

In terms of inspiring awe and fear, there have been several stories recently in the Chinese press about (and photo galleries are available on each link) joint US-Japan air force manuevers, Japan’s aquisition of a giant transport plane (longer story here), and fighter jets.  I would post photos of all of them, but they might give you nightmares.   Headlines like “Japan manufactures huge transport plane which can be modified into a bomber” never fail to perk my ears up, anyway.

Japanese Self Defense Force Air Force F-2A aircraft, via Huanqiu Shibao

And let’s not forget, when apprehension towards Japanese military development emerges, notes on India are rarely far behind:

India is manufacturing tanks -- via Huanqiu, click image for story

Finally, China’s new ambassador to Japan has arrived in Tokyo to start work.  Cheng Yonghua is proficient in Japanese, having studied in Japan from 1975-1977, likely via the efforts of CCP “Japan hand” Liao Chengzhi.  Given what is going on in Beijing, it’s quite a day to be arriving.

If China Did Something Right, Would Anyone Notice?

Ever since the Amercian press corps wandered into dusty Yanan in the rumpled personage of a 30-year old named Edgar Snow in 1935, it seems that Western views of the Chinese Communist Party, and of China itself, have oscillated greatly.  At times, China and the West come into convergence as to how to view politics on the mainland.  In the late 1930s, both China and the non-Axis West (including the Soviet Union) viewed China as an embattled, noble, and besieged bulwark against Japanese expansionism.   A united front of news!  For proof, just read Edgar Snow’s unjustly neglected piece of war reportage/propaganda written on the eve of Pearl Harbor, The War for Asia.

Then things took a divergent turn in the late 1940s, during which time the maelstrom of Chinese domestic politics wrenched Western views out of their idealistic mode and towards criticism, while Chiang Kai-shek nevertheless tried to build himself up as some warrior-cum-Confucian scholar with such ghost-written tracts as China’s Destiny.  (Chiang’s text, I might add, was no less pretentious, and arguably more useless, than Jiang Zemin’s opus of the 1990s, the collected essays of the Three Represents, whose absolutely numbing prose at least had the purpose of getting capitalists back into the CCP.)

In the early 1950s, another vast disconnect opened up between how the Chinese people view themselves and the way they were viewed from the West.  A savage portrait emerged from without, replete with references to Genghis Khan and tales of  Christian torture and expulsion.  But no sooner had the Korean War finished than the European left revived their idealizations of the Middle Kingdom as if lifting the weight of the pillars of the Yuanmingyuan, reconstructing mental edifices of China as an industrious harbinger of a gender-equal, egalitarian, progressive utopia.  Social philosophers like Simone de Beauvoir went to China, spreading great tracts upon their return, arguing for a fundamental congruity with China’s positive and rising self-image in the years of the first five-year plan (1953-1958).  Even influential French journalists like Robert Guillain evinced a grudging respect for the ardent, if unthinking, nature of Chinese development in those years by calling the Chinese people “blue ants,” borrowing from a French idiom for “diligent.”  (Unfortunately it picked up in the West with all the exterminationist and mind-control connotations in George Horvath’s Mao Tse-tung: Emepror of the Blue Ants, about the worst example of a published mixed metaphor that one could hope to find.)

And so to today: If China did something right, would anyone notice?  In today’s Shijie Ribao [世界日报], page A2, we get basically a whole page of coverage about how actively the Chinese government is focusing on environmental issues with the American leadership, both current and former.  Hu Jintao had a talk with Obama about this issue and the Copenhaugen Forum on October 20, and yesterday, former Vice President Al Gore was in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound in Beijing adjacent to the Forbidden City and the Egg.

Gore’s visit in particular was worth noting.  He met with Wen Jiabao in Diaoyutai guest house (where I believe Mao first met with Nixon), but then he was also given a podium from which to speak directly and at length to the Chinese assembled there to discuss global warming.   None of this seems to be available on the Anglophone internet.  (All my Chinese sources for the images, other than the kick-ass print version of the paper which I bought this morning in San Francisco which shows Gore lecturing like a champion, are on Flash players and I can’t save them on this deadly Stanford machine I’m blogging on tonight — sorry!).

The Chinese take this kind of thing quite seriously.  A former vice-president, in Chinese terms, is usually considered to be still a part of the power circles.  Hosting Gore in Diaoyutai is therefore a very significant gesture of Beijing’s willingness to engage with Washington on the environmental front.

I still believe the U.S. can outflank the North Koreans and the Chinese by insisting that environmental issues be part and parcel of any revived Six-Party Talks!  After all, if the Japanese are allowed to bring in an abduction case from 1977 as a central part of their own strategy, I think the future of environmental catastrophe can also be considered.  That, and the North Koreans have been amenable in the past to overtures on environmental conservation from the U.S. and UN.

What depresses me is the total lack of coverage of this issue in the major American news outlets.  Exactly nothing in the New York Times.  Ditto on the Los Angeles Times.  Although we do learn from the L.A. paper that Current TV is back with a vengeance in the wake of their North Korean debacle!

Fortunately we have China Daily to tell us that Hu Jintao is focused on a climate accord.  Damned if it isn’t a useful and important article.

Media consolidation and the dropping of Western newspapers like, well, hornets from a wasp nest hit with a blast of DDT, may be having an effect on the question of media outlets that drop big stories.  If the New York Times is lacking a vigorous bureau in Beijing, the danger becomes that stories about dissidents aren’t balanced by other political news of the day.  Like, what did Hu Jintao do today?  With which American officials did Wen Jiabao meet?  Is it up to Danwei.org or bloggers to cover the Premier’s every move instead?  Do we all just need therefore to read the China Daily instead of the New York Times?  I’m as interested as anyone else in Ribiya Khadeer, seizures of Uighurs in Xinjiang, and I am delighted to get another perspective on the tangled goings-on at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  But when there is an insubstantial difference between the Epoch and the New York Times on the Frankfurt story and JustRecently covers it nearly as well, can the New York Times be considered an essential source on Chinese news?

I would argue that it is, but a paper that just shed another 10% of its staff (even with the generosity of a new non-Sulzberger patron) is lacking the resources to put on an all-out blitz at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is what it deserves.  Germans get that in spades with Die Zeit, with in-depth coverage on the literary and political fronts.  And my august mentor Donald Jordan, of whom I need to be particularly mindful when in the shadow of the Hoover Institute and his documents on the Northern Expedition, always maintained that the Wall Street Journal was a better Asia paper.  For some reason I can’t bear to read more than a few hawkish, rollback-style articles every year by Gordon Chang and John Bolton that read like they could have been written by John Foster Dulles.

Al Gore’s interesting blog, with a crease in a print photo, says it all: nothing about the trip to China.  Has this man been so castrated through the years by chicken hawk Orange County Republicans like Christopher Cox that he lacks the cajones to publicize his own trip to promote the most important bilateral relationship this country has got?  Is it really back to the future (e.g. 1996) here?  Has he been reading giant-print-for-morons tract The Year of the Rat and hoping no one ever again photographs him with a Chinese man?  This makes no sense, Al.  Promote your own damned trip, and get people agitated.

Or are you still peeved you couldn’t go to Pyongyang yourself?  Don’t worry, with the environmental catastrophes sure to follow, you’ll be in demand.

Peter Pace, Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Beijing, March 2007 -- now imagine the soldiers are trees, and Pace is the valiant Chinese-American physicist and EPA head Peter Chu

新华:3月22日,中央军委委员、中国人民解放军总参谋长梁光烈在北京举行仪式,欢迎美军参谋长联席会议主席彼得·佩斯访华 === 本博客:Peter Pace, Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Beijing, March 2007 -- now imagine the soldiers are trees, and Pace is the valiant Chinese-American physicist and EPA head Peter Chu== 我们应该热烈建设两国环保保护体制,创造新世界绿色建筑等,从轻枪弹造草花!

Tree: Policy; Farmer: Revive Policy -- August 6, Xinhua

Tree: "New Resource Production"; Farmer: "Policy of Revival" -- August 6, Xinhua

Death of Chang Song U / DPRK updates

Surprisingly, this story seems not yet to have been picked up by English-language media.  Chang Song U, the brother of Chang Song Taek and a higher-up in the DPRK bureaucracy, was reported on August 25 by KCNA to have died.  Kim Jong Il was said to be saddened; much more detail is available in Chinese.

Chang Song U, RIP

Chang Song U, RIP

In the meantime, North Korean media is celebrating Youth Day, talking almost daily about pro-NK activities in war-torn Mexico, and slapping up as much anti-Japanese propaganda and historical grievance as possible (probably desperately hoping for an LDP/conservative miracle in the parliamentary elections, as a friendly Japan is precisely what the NK leadership doesn’t need from a propaganda/mobilization standpoint).  Again, I strongly recommend reading the Congressional testimony of Selig Harrison on the Korean-Japan dynamic; he has great insights here.  (Multiple links provided in previous post, just search “Harrison” within this blog to find.)  Jeff Rud, a student of Korean War crimes, has an insightful post on his blog on the basis for, and the uses of, recent anti-Japanese dispatches by KCNA.

Japanese troops harass Korean girl in North Korean children's story; anti-American comic up top (collection of Adam Cathcart)

Japanese troops harass Korean girl in North Korean children's story; anti-American comic up top (collection of Adam Cathcart)

Although Hatoyama, the presumptive new Japanese P.M., speaks well of China and would be a significant improvement over the current occupant (Aso of the LDP), China is also angry with Japan at the moment.  However, their reasons are more “War on Terror” related (at least in Beijing’s thought): Japan admitted Uighur independence leader Rebiya Khadeer in July, and so they are being punished by a naval snub.

If China was really gutsy, Xinhua would grab my citation from the Nazi archives about NSDAP/Imperial Japanese wartime propaganda insisting on Xinjiang’s independence.  Now that is a plot!

I have no inside information on the five North Korean officials in Los Angeles so will remain basically mum on that topic.   However, we should take note that they (or some pro-North Korean organization in Los Angeles, apparently) made a statement on August 21 about the need to “elimnate traitors” which is certainly meant to provide some political cover to hardline elements in in Pyongyang or the KPA brass who might otherwise be opposed to accepting an invitation to Los Angeles, which is way beyond the normal circumference in New York/Jersey out of which North Korean officials are normally not allowed to travel in the U.S.  The fact that they drove around in a private car near LAX (they almost certainly arrived on a direct flight from Beijing) both gives me great respect for their death-defying tactics of braving LA’s legendary traffic and the small but persistent power of people-to-people, or Track II, exchanges.

And, as a final reminder that things are warming up with the Chinese, we have news of a Chinese delegation in the DPRK from August 17-21, and frequent performance of a new musical about the Chinese PLA’s liberation of Shanghai, the very city where China is returning the favor by quashing the broadcast of film documentaries critical of Pyongyang.