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June 20, 2005

Demanding Justice from Japan

Quite a number of people have made the observation that the protests in China against Japan regarding WWII atrocities in the last month or two is an excellent example of typical Chinese hypocrisy--that the Chinese people don't even know much about its own recent (communist) history (beyond what the government tells them) and yet they demand that the Japanese admit to the world the true extent of its criminal behavior during the war.

A blogger has made the comment that if the Chinese people can't face up to its own history, they have no right to demand same from the Japanese.

I have something to say about that. Here's a reproduction of my comment to fellow blogger.

The Chinese government's inability and unwillingness to allow people to learn the true version of events since 1949 is a grave wrong against the people, I agree.

But I do not agree that because the Chinese people can't face up to its own history, they cannot demand that Japan faces up to the history in WWII.

First of all, the crimes against the Chinese people by the Japanese imperialists were committed before any of the atrocities occured in China's communist history. It has been a much longer time passed. Japan has moved on from being an aggressor in WWII to an ally to the free world--and yet, it has not moved one finger in admitting, and note I am not even saying apologizing for, its wrongs. Shouldn't the Japanese government know better than that?

Second, and in line with the last point, the Chinese government is still trying really hard to hold on to its power now. There is a dark political reason behind their policy of shielding history and stopping people from learning it. Not that it's in any way justifiable, but what is Japan's reason for not admitting to its own history? There are no power issues involved anymore, and I can't help but to suspect that Japan is still trying to hold on to an era where Japansese superiority is accepted and promoted, an idea that is heinous as well as it is dangerous.

However, I emphasize that I am also disgusted by the CCP's systematic efforts in blocking people from speaking the truth, sharing their experiences and even learning about the truth. But two wrongs together doesn't make anything right. As a government, it is true that the CCP has very little legitimacy when it seeks apology from Japan, due to the reason that you have given readers in your entry, but as a people, the Chinese have every right to demand justice from the Japanese government.

The sad thing, indeed, is that many of the anti-Japan protestors were encouraged, condoned (if not manipulated and incited) by the Chinese government. I think a better way to phrase this issue is that, if the Chinese people don't have enough guts to demand justice from their own government, why are they demanding it from a foreign government?

Posted by sinogeek at June 20, 2005 12:29 AM


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