Study of English

January 30, 2008

Nanjing memorial lacks balance / Museum marking 1937 incident being used for political purposes / Yomiuri shimbun newspaper, Tokyo, Japan

Nanjing memorial lacks balance / Museum marking 1937 incident being used for political purposes
Takanori Kato / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

SHANGHAI–Concerns about a possible deterioration in delicate Japan-China relations were behind the Japanese government’s request last week that China tone down the contents of the Memorial Hall to the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

Tokyo said the exhibits on display in the memorial hall, which reopened in December after a major expansion to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1937 Nanjing Incident, could “inspire anti-Japanese feeling and animosity” among Chinese citizens.

The hall’s floor space was expanded more than 10-fold to 9,000 square meters, and the museum now stands on a 7.4-hectare plot of land, which is three times larger than its previous precincts.

The number of photo exhibits, including those showing scenes of killing, was drastically increased to about 3,500. On the whole, they play up the brutality of the Imperial Japanese Army more than the previous exhibits.

For example, visual and audio devices have been installed to inform visitors that “300,000” Chinese were killed in the incident–a figure disputed even by Chinese scholars.

Also, controversial Japanese newspaper articles claiming two Japanese army officers competed to see how quickly they could kill 100 Chinese during the Imperial Japanese Army advance toward Nanjing were enlarged to life-size for the exhibition. The authenticity of the articles is contested.

Shanghai Consul General Yuji Kumamaru told senior officials of the city and the memorial hall that the exhibits “don’t provide sufficient coverage of Japan’s postwar development and the friendly relations between the two nations after the normalization of their diplomatic ties.”

Japan is disturbed by the nature of the exhibits, which it believes goes against mutual moves to improve bilateral relations. Once-chilly bilateral ties turned around in the past year enough to make Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao declare, “Spring has come [to bilateral relations].”

Apparently out of consideration for Japan’s stance, the hall has an expanded exhibition on bilateral “friendship” that centers around Japan’s provision of official development assistance to China. Given the overwhelming “anti-Japanese” sentiment of the exhibits, however, the exhibition on the whole is clearly unbalanced, as Kumamaru pointed out.

The memorial hall has served as a pivot for nurturing patriotism among Chinese by stressing the brutality of the Imperial Japanese Army and the orthodoxy of the Chinese Communist Party that “defeated the invaders.”

The memorial hall was built to “record history on the soil of Nanjing with the blood shed in the massacre” in 1985, according to the hall, following a history textbook controversy in 1982. The controversy was ignited after Japanese media reported that the word “invasion” used in a history textbook to describe the Imperial Japanese Army’s move into northern China had been replaced with the word “advance.”

In 1997, the hall was designated as a “model base for patriotic education” in a bid to underpin the legitimacy of the Chinese government, which had been shaken in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

The exhibits reflect the fact that the hall repeatedly has been used for political ends. Patriotic education cannot be compromised as such education is essential if the Communist Party wants to garner public support for its monolithic rule at a time when social ills, such as economic gaps between haves and have-nots, and political corruption are ever proliferating.

When work to expand the hall was launched in 2005, bilateral relations deteriorated to one of the lowest levels over former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine and other thorny issues. Also that year, large anti-Japanese demonstrations were held across China.

In some respects, anti-Japanese sentiment prevailing on Chinese Internet sites is preempting any moves toward “weak-kneed” diplomacy and making concessions with Japan difficult.

Meanwhile, another source of concern for Japan is that more and more Chinese people support submitting an application to have the hall registered as a World Heritage Site like the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps and the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

According to a Chinese newspaper, one obstacle standing in the way for the hall to be registered as a World Heritage Site had been the size of the plot of land on which the hall stands. Under UNESCO rules, a site must have at least 5.33 hectares in order to apply for registration, the paper said. The latest expansion project has made it possible for China to apply for the designation.

Moves to win international recognition for the hall as a form of “negative cultural heritage” are evident in the hall’s addition of a 3.2-hectare “peace square” with a goddess statue.

Zhou Chengshan, director of the memorial hall, said the exhibits “aren’t aimed at implanting grudges or hatred.”

But it appears the hall is trying to make the “history trump card” more effective, while at the same time managing anti-Japanese sentiment.

As long as the exhibits are a reflection of Chinese domestic politics, the Chinese government is unlikely to accept the Japanese government’s request to tone down the message sent by the museum. Moves to register the hall as a World Heritage Site could very well develop into a political morass.

China’s continuing use of historical issues for political purposes will inevitably hinder the healthy development of bilateral ties, especially at a time when a joint study of history by scholars of the two nations is under way.

The Japanese government should spare no effort in making its stances on those issues clear. Beijing, for its part, should refrain from manipulating public opinion by denouncing the Japanese government’s request as “negation of the historical events,” thereby fanning anti-Japanese sentiment.

(Jan. 26, 2008)


January 13, 2008

Japanese company recalls globes that label Taiwan as part of communist China

Filed under: China,Corea,Japan,Taiwan — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 2:34 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

From Yomiuri-shimbun newspaper (YOMIURI ONLINE, Tokyo, Japan).

Jan 10, 5:48 AM EST
Japanese company recalls globes that label Taiwan as part of communist China

Associated Press Writer
TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese educational company is recalling 10,000 electronic talking globes after customers complained that self-governing Taiwan was labeled a part of the People’s Republic of China.

Tokyo-based Gakken’s “Smart Globe” calls Taiwan – which split from communist China amid civil war in 1949 – “Taiwan Island” and says it comes under the jurisdiction of Beijing, the company said in a statement Thursday.

An electronic voice also tells users pointing to Taiwan the island is part of the People’s Republic of China, the official name of the Chinese communist regime, according to Gakken spokesman Satoru Aihara.

He said Gakken’s Chinese manufacturer had refused to produce the globes – which are sold only in Japan – unless Taiwan was labeled as a Chinese region.

“Selling these globes was a serious error on our part,” Aihara said. “Unfortunately we let cost considerations override sound judgment.”

Gakken received customer complaints over the labeling, spurring the recall, but there was no official complaint from Taipei, Aihara said.

The company has sold about 10,000 Smart Globes since the product hit the market in August, he said. Owners returning the globes will be reimbursed the full price of 29,400 yen (US$269; ?183).

Beijing continues to see Taiwan, the self-governing island of 23 million people, as part of its territory and has promised to attack if it moves to make its de facto independence permanent.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said she did not have details about the issue, but added, “I believe the one-China policy is universally recognized by the international community,” referring to China’s policy of demanding that all nations regard Taiwan as a part of Chinese territory.

“Relevant companies conducting business in China should abide by Chinese laws and regulations,” she told reporters in Beijing.

Japan has said it opposes any moves by Taiwan to unilaterally declare independence.

Communisit China is barbarian.
They are caution needed.

December 10, 2007

Japan asks China for correction of joint statement on yuan

Filed under: Corea(Korea),Japan,Taiwan — Sei-no-Syounagon @ 8:42 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Japan asks China for correction of joint statement on yuan

The ” C’s ” are liar, and they are untrustworthy.

From Japan Times.

Monday, Dec. 10, 2007
Japan asks China for correction of joint statement on yuan
Kyodo News
China released a unilaterally rewritten Chinese-language version of a joint document issued with Japan on the occasion of a recent ministerial economic dialogue in Beijing after both nations agreed on its content and Tokyo wants the version corrected, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and a diplomatic source of the two countries said Sunday.

Portions deleted from the joint document, which was released by the Chinese after the first Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue in Beijing on Dec. 1, included a phrase in which Japan expressed hope for China’s efforts to revalue the yuan.

“I think there were some slip-ups and this is why (some parts) were dropped,” Komura told reporters, referring to the initially agreed-upon text that cited the yuan.

The Beijing meeting took place under a new dialogue framework set up to enhance mutually beneficial economic ties. Six Cabinet members from Tokyo participated and China was represented by Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan and other ministers.

Tokyo released the full text of the document in Japanese to reporters in Beijing on Dec. 1, while China sent out its version on Dec. 3 and posted it on the Web site of China’s Commerce Ministry.

Japan, China vow cooperation The Japanese Embassy in Beijing, however, learned later that the Chinese-language text differed from the agreed-upon statement and that sections referring to Japanese hopes for the yuan’s appreciation and the importance of China’s participation in the Energy Charter Treaty had been deleted.

A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said, “The yuan issue has been bothering China so it might have avoided putting that issue in writing,” but added that the ministry has not yet confirmed if the deletion was intentional.

The United States and European nations have repeatedly urged China to adopt a more flexible currency regime, arguing that the yuan is being held artificially low, giving Chinese exports an unfair advantage in world markets.

China remains an observer nation of the Energy Charter Treaty, which stipulates international rules on matters such as energy trade liberalization.

October 9, 2007

“Truth of Japan” for Taiwaneses.

“Truth of Japan” for Taiwaneses.

Create a free website or blog at