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PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 September, 2012, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 10:04pm

Han Han: My feelings about the recent anti-Japan protests

Generally, I recommend German cars to friends who ask me for advice about buying a family sedan for daily use. Still, though, many of them opt for Japanese makes for reasons of practicality, fuel economy and easy maintenance, despite the fact that territorial disputes involving Japan and China are often in the news. However, I’ve noticed fewer of them buying Japanese makes in recent years. The main reason is the rising yen, which has made German cars seem comparatively less expensive. That said, spending hard-earned money wisely is the number one concern, so people living in stressful cities want a car they can rely on.

For several days now, we’ve heard people talking up “stability” and saying how offended they are by street rallies, public assemblies and “riots”. The usual outcome of these events has been government intervention, normally in the form of police crackdowns. The machinery of the state is there to restore law and order at critical moments – and that is something Japan is realising too. Our government does not want military conflicts or to disrupt the status quo at home. Otherwise, it would be in great trouble when the social cohesion it is now enjoying begins to fray. The consequences of that would be grave. However, national territory is a concern for everyone, even if the cause does not spur them to action or open protest. The Diaoyu islands – whichever name you use - ought to belong to China. Losing them to the Japanese would be like watching a Japanese prime minister welcome guests to a Chinese monument. I totally trust our government to handle things correctly. Procrastination for as long as possible would be the best tactic to deal with the Diaoyu issue, provided the Japanese don’t go too far. We can wait. Tectonic plate movements will eventually bring the islands back to Fujian.

It is alright for now if people take to the streets to peacefully express their anger with Japan. Individual choices should be respected. In the past, I would joke about something like this; now I neither support nor oppose such actions. But I certainly will not join them. And as for vandalism, offenders ought to be punished. Otherwise, I might suspect some kind of official involvement.

The car I drove in a recent rally was Japanese. A patriotic friend of mine told me to switch to another make to defeat “it” and frustrate the Japanese. According to Rule N4, in a normal rally I can opt for another car, but the regrettable fact was that the alternative was also Japanese This one, though, had a British-made gearbox, shock absorbers from Sweden, electronics from Australia, and gears from Germany. The only parts made in China were the door “pouches” which had been put in place by fastidious Chinese workers. Overall, it was a good example of how our world works today. In another race I drove a German car, with many parts, including the brakes and bearings, made in Japan. It showed me that if China is to win respect, we must create better products and set higher standards - and not just for cars.

People who drive non-Japanese cars and run other types of restaurant should not be too happy about staying out of the trouble in the recent street riots. If China does not reform, the country is bound to have unintended conflicts with the international community. As we have seen, the exact causes are sometimes hard to pin down. In fact, you are not safe even if you only buy or use Chinese goods, so drivers in Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere beware. Some uninitiated idiots might smash your Shanghai Volkswagen or overturn your FAW-Volkswagen. General disrespect for private property means that nobody – or at least his property – is safe.  

The media should not link news reports on vandalism with patriotism.  They have nothing to do with patriotism. Some countries in this world are well-respected; some aren’t. The ongoing protests in China are ruining her image and reputation. It is absurd that people bullied somewhere go home and vent their anger on their family members. During a car race I took part over the past few days, the European technician in our team said he felt strange about the web photos of protestors wrecking the cars of others amid the recent Sino-Japanese conflict. Are the protestors opposing Japan or China?

The protestors have wasted their time in a wrong battle. They have gone too far, even though what they are doing might have been officially approved. Patriots do not bully. I love my country, but I love her in my own way. Trespassing on others, evading punishment and killing people on the pretext of loving the county would only make the country a laughing stock.

Protestors should not vent their anger on others to show their patriotism. You should not get drunk when the host is still looking for a bottle opener. You should not get carried away while the host is still pouring him the wine. When the host wants you to stay “slightly high”, you should not be totally out of control.

 

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blue
@David Thomas "That is a myth, Japan has apologized _many_ times for it's past mistakes.
please see ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan
It's time to get along and move on."
I think you have no business telling anyone to "get on with it" when you have no emotional connection to what happened. Japan's apology statements are totally empty and the Prime Minister for example continues to provoke the Chinese people through insensitive action. Furthermore, unlike the Germans who beat themselves up over it and made sure all future generations would know the real history, the Japanese continue to white wash their history so the younger generation is left in the dark.
Although I am not an ethnic Chinese, I can empathize; my country was also torn apart by imperialists and it is not a good feeling. It's probably a concept David Thomas will never understand.
David
"...Japan's apology statements are totally empty..."
@bluechinagroup - Is that just one of them, or all 54 documented apologies?
Sample:
* "Reflecting upon the suffering that your people underwent during this unfortunate period, which was brought about by our nation, I cannot but feel the deepest remorse"
* "I apologize from the bottom of my heart and feel remorse for those people who suffered indescribable hardships"
The list goes on...
( ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan )
shouken
I think Han Han misses an important aspect to the whole situation. Most vandalists (I believe) are merely using this occasion as an excuse to vent their anger and general dissatisfaction with life and the government. They are not necessarily very patriotic at all. The same thing can happen in many places, including London or Paris or even LA.
Byebye
Your article revealed lots of truth. "Some countries in this world are well-respected; some aren’t. The ongoing protests in China are ruining her image and reputation" - China needs a good reform on many issues, not just on financial matters.
kenjabrie
Diaoyu may belong to china but they have double standards when dealing disputes with other countries. dealing with japan, which is a strong country, china tend to go UNCLOS to discuss the dispute. while dealing with spratlys, which involved weaker countries like vietnam and the philippines, china is using intimidation method, kept away from UNCLOS and doesn't want to involve other countries to fix the disputes.
wang.feng
Han Han wrote his comment in Chinese. ****chinaoutlook.scmp.com/zh-hk/article.php?ArticleID=1000036824&OtherID=1000036753&Section=columns
SCMP editors translated it into English.
luchun_gan
Did he write this article in English or did SCMP translate it from Chinese? Please clarify.
quinton.tam.5
hi
i'm a south african born chinese and I've read your article and agree with everything you said, except for your car opinion. i still like japanese and even korean cars and i hope that chinese cars will become just as good. even though I understand that the chinese are angry and that the anger stems all the way from ww2 and that the japanese still have not apologized I am apalled at the behaviour of the chinese. what do they hope to gain from all this violence. the nations in asia are like spoilt siblings fighting with one another. they dont know what its like to grow up in a multinational country where you are sometimes a victim of racism from both black and white people. in countries like south africa and america they dont even care to know the differences bwn chinese, japanese or korean. so i suggest that countries in Asia forgive each other, grow up and stop acting like children.
David
" ... and that the japanese still have not apologized ..."
That is a myth, Japan has apologized _many_ times for it's past mistakes.
please see ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan
It's time to get along and move on.
qiaohan
Well said quinton. These protesters are angry at many things and this time they are taking their anger out on this island issue. They are drawing more attention to the deeds they do than to the cause they purport to represent. The government may think they are playing them like a violin, but these protests could easily switch toward other issues that they're really concerned about as young adults. When things turn violent it only brings shame to China for all the world to see. I don't know who owns these islands. The three countries involved - China, Japan and Korea all have different versions of history, making historical claims useless. Here on the mainland I've noticed everybody is a getting nervous, and maybe a little more xenophobic towards all foreigners in general, especially the authorities. At the school where I teach, English corner has been cancelled.
 
 
 
 
 

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