Diaoyu Islands

For the first time ever, I saw China peacefully allow demonstrations.  I've been in China back and forth for over 20 years, and lived there for over 10.  I'm sure there are countless allowed demonstrations in countless small cities everyday, that no foreigner ever hears about.

Still....I was taken aback by how peaceful the demonstration I saw here in China the other day was.  The street was lined with riot police, along with a cadre of such following the demonstration from behind.  I observed the group, and sure enough it was mostly youth.  Nothing violent occurred, though traffic was held up quite a bit.

In a show of how organized the gov't is, we all rec'd a text message from our carriers on our phone asking us all to return home, and not to create any public disturbance.  I had a business meeting to attend to however, and didn't even know abt the day's events until I was on top of them.

I took a pic of a banner, that I may or may not post later.  It said "the Diaoyu Islands are ours!"  Still, I have to wonder if the fact that China's population is so malleable is a good thing?  After all, the population would not even know if such a group of islands existed if not for the constant publication of the issue in Chinese newspapers.  And now, after almost some 20 odd years of talking about it, it seems the gov't won't ever be able to minimize the issue.   The lack of China's ability to "turn off" this issue may back the gov't into a corner.  China will now be under pressure to well...keep the pressure up on this issue, or else lose face in the eyes of it's people.

"The US Navy is the only thing protecting Japan now", an assistant of mine said the other day.
Not one block from the main avenue where the demonstrations were taking place, I could see a few Japanese walking around, anonymously, for now.  However, China has shown just how deep the vein of xenophobia, gov't encouraged all, really is.

What if things were to escalate?  Than what?  What if Japan called China and amped up it's military presence?  Would the Chinese gov't publicize that?  Because of the internet, it doesn't matter now.  China's inability to control or manage the publication of events may force it to do something it doesn't want to do.  What if there were heaven forbid a brief naval clash?  I think most informed analysts would give Japan the edge.

If there were such a thing, and Japan got the best of China, the xenophobia towards the local Japanese populace would come unhinged.  Japanese would be beaten up in the streets.  Hotels that cater to the Japanese would be attacked.  Their girlfriends would be harrassed.   Japanese factories would shutter.

The "victim" mentality is so deeply engrained in Chinese culture, thanks to the constant efforts of the gov't, that any refusal to respond will put that gov't in a bad light, in the eyes of it's youth.

Still....China in my view has come a long way. Mature enough now to allow the peaceful venting of a populace is no small thing here.


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