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.