Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Interesting lecture and debate this evening at the Bridge Cafe. It was time for Think in China agian, and the subect this time was Japan-China relations. The professor from Peking University was actually quite good, and got his Ph.D. from Waseda University, so he did understand Japan quite well. I asked him how much of his view of Japan as someone who grew up in China was based on how his own family had been affected by the Japanese agression during the Sino-Japanese War, and how much of it came from the fact that he grew up in a country where he was programmed to hate Japanese people. CCTV has actually gotten a lot better. When I first moved to Beijing, anti-Japanese propaganda was constant. But in recent years, China has decided that it is not really wise to foment so much hatred that forces Japan into alliances with the US that exclude China. China can make bold pronouncements about America minding its own business, but it's pretty hard to say that to Japan. Japan is part of Asia. The focus of tonight's discussion was the infamous "Rape of Nanking," but in my opinion, the recent South Sea island disputes have added a new dimension to this issue. Japan and the Philipines both have the United States to rely on. Not to be outdone, Vietnam has invited to Americans back to Cam Ranh Bay in a development that has Asia watchers gasping in astonishment. Who would have thought that the American military would be going back to Vietnam by invitation? As an "ally" of China, it would be unthinkable for Vietnam to let the Americans establish a base there. But Vietnam has cleverly gotten around this by opening the bay for "visits" by foreign warships, and by setting up a repair facility. Vietnam obviously wants to have American warships sitting in the harbor. In such an environment, the worst thing China can do is to encourage anti-Japanese sentiment.