• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 1:19am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 9:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 9:58am

Harry Potter analogies misplaced in China-Japan diplomatic row

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

Call it the Harry Potter theory of international relations. The Chinese and Japanese ambassadors to Britain have denounced each other's country's aggressive policy by likening it to the Dark Lord Voldemort.

While the exchange unhelpfully contributed further to the rancour and confusion in the standoff between the two countries, Potter fans have had a grand time dissecting the latest diplomatic row in proper Potterian terms. As one of those fans, I must take issues with the diplomats.

Liu Xiaoming , China's top diplomat in the UK, said it not once but twice - in the Daily Telegraph and then the BBC - that Japan's history of militarism is like the ghost of Voldemort. Adding a nice literary touch, he blasted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, site of the burial of several "Class A" war criminals, by calling the shrine "the horcrux that represents the darkest part of his nation's soul". For those not versed in the dark arts, a horcrux is the darkest of all inventions, only several of which were created, mostly by Voldemort, to store fragments of his soul to achieve immortality, at the cost of disfigurement and loss of humanity.

Not to be outdone, Japan's envoy Keiichi Hayashi responded by saying China could choose the path of dialogue, or play "the role of Voldemort ... by letting loose the evil of an arms race and escalation of tensions."

Au contraire, I have always thought Voldemort was the quintessential Machiavellian realist while Dumbledore, as secret founder and leader of the Order of the Phoenix was the (neo-)liberal interventionist. The Hogwarts and the Dark Arts had to slug it out as the Ministry of Magic was in decline and eventually overrun by the death eaters. American hegemonic decline?

Beijing has always rejected military interventions as disguised Western neo-imperialism, so no one would ever think President Xi Jinping was Dumbledore or Harry. In reality, Chinese and Japanese diplomats have always fancied themselves unsentimental realists. Maybe they are right about each other. Let's hope the two Voldemorts reach détente rather than going at each other's throats, for their sake and that of the rest of us Muggles, the non-magical folks.

Share

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

4

This article is now closed to comments

Aaaaaughibbrgubugbugrguburgle@gmail.com
As a nonfan, I was impressed by the Chinese ambassador's grasp of the storyline but has anyone noticed that Abe, Koizumi, Aso and Ishihara are Deatheaters? Is it Yushukan or Akihito "He Who Shall Not Be Named"?
M Miyagi
Japan's LDP have been ruling Japan most since 1945. The LDP is full of rightists and fascists much ashamed about their WWII military defeat and unconditional. But these devils are proud of their conquests and barbaric atrocities in Asia. In Japan the LDP and the Yakuza are one and the same. The one party "democracy" doesn't make Japan any more democratic than Malaysia, Singapore or even North Korea! But democracy is not the problem in Japan. The problem is Japan's revisionist history and blatant fascism. Mr Abe the grand-son of a war-criminal continues the shameful tradition of fascism and history denial. Japan is an outcast country with an evil Shinto religion as represented by the notorious and barbaric Yasukuni War Shrine.
norodnik
"Beijing has always rejected military interventions as disguised Western neo-imperialism..." so what do you call Deng Xiao Ping's invasion of Vietnam (after visiting Washington and getting Jimmy Carter's blessings)....
M Miyagi
norodnik
China with US blessing taught Vietnam a lesson for invading Cambodia. Otherwise Cambodia will still be occupied by Vietnam today.
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or