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China: Fishing boat captain detained, protests planned

The spat between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands continues to grow, and protests around China are planned for Saturday, on the anniversary of the Mukden Incident.

At the the typically nationalist Global Times, one blogger gives Japan a few suggestions as to how the conflict might be resolved quickly and quietly:

日本巡逻艇这次强行拦截、扣船抓人,又引用国内法检控中国船长,整个行动一气呵成,环环相扣,明显是民主党当局一次精心策划的「杰作」,剧本早已事先写好,目的无非三点,一是拉拢民意,表明民主党并非亲华而不敢对中国说不,二是试探中国的反应,三是拉美国与日本站在同一阵綫,迫美国公开表态钓鱼岛包括在美日安保条约范围。现在日方的「剧本」已演到尾声,美国未有出面表态,实际上华府对中美关系自有一整套策略和「剧本」,又岂会「听日本支笛」?而中方罕有的强硬回应,海政船应声出巡钓鱼岛海域,喝停日方勘测船,更可能令日本当局始料不及。

With the interception of boats by the Japanese coast guard, followed by their confiscation, people detained, and even domestic law referenced in making charges against the Chinese ship captain, the fact that the entire operation unfolded smoothly, every step of the way, clearly shows that this was a meticulously planned “masterpiece”, with the script written far in advance. There are three goals in this, the first being to draw in public opinion and show that the Democratic Party is neither pro-Beijing nor afraid to say no to China; the second is to test China's response; the third is to create a front between America and Japan by forcing the USA to publicly state that the Diaoyu islands fall within the purview of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. The Japanese segment of “the script” has reached its epilogue, and America has yet to appear to make its stance known; of course, Washington, DC has its own full-fledged strategic “script” with regards to Sino-Japanese relations, so why would they “listen to the shakuhachi”? When China does issue the rare forceful response, the coast guard should immediately set out to Diaoyu Islands territory and stop Japanese side exploration vessels and catch Japanese authorities off guard.

中国船员船长是今次事件的受害者,面对国内民意的强大压力,中国政府没有妥协的余地,如果日方继续硬来,等於迫中国奉陪到底,这就可能大大超出日本当局演出这龅撞船剧本的「预算」,日本经济危机四伏,民主党菅直人虽然成功连任但内外交困,此刻与最大贸易夥伴中国交恶,无异雪上加霜。解铃还须系铃人,日方以某个理由立即释放闽晋渔船长,是化解这场中日关系政治危机的最低成本、最明智的做法,至於以释放的理由多的是,健康、人道(其祖母在孙子被日本拘捕当日活活激死),都是现成的。

The crew and captain of the Chinese ship are the biggest victims in this. Faced with the strong pressure of domestic public opinion, the Chinese government doesn't have space for compromise. If the Japanese side continues to play hardball, they would effectively be pushing China to the edge, something which could possibly greatly exceed Japanese authorities’ “budget” in their rehearsals of this boat collision. The Japanese economy is mired in crisis, and while the Democratic Party's Naoto Kan has just successfully taken office, faced with troubles both at home and abroad, to fall afoul now of Japan's biggest trade partner would just exacerbate problems. It's up to those who create problems to resolve them, and if Japan, for whatever reason, were to immediately release the boat captain, would not only be the most cost-effective means to resolve this political crisis in Sino-Japanese relations, but it would also be the smartest. Reasons which could be used to justify such a move are aplenty, be it health concerns or humane grounds (the day he was detained by Japan, his grandmother passed away), any of these would work.

Over at NetEase in the comments section on a news story recounting statements made regarding the incident by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one reader has started a conversation with:

钓鱼岛事件是中国在试探日本,看日本可以容忍到什么程度。你们对这个说法有何理解?
到底谁试谁?我相信是日本在试探中国!

‘The Diaoyu Islands incident is China testing Japan to see how much Japan will tolerate’, what does everyone think about a statement like that?
Just who's testing who? I believe it's Japan that's testing China!

Writes one reader in response:

政府在试探民众

The government is only testing the public.

6 comments

  • zhuzidi

    Conspiracy theories… no one is testing anyone, this is just the same thing that happens all over the world with island disputes. Most of the Japanese I’ve spoken to respond one of two ways:

    1. Apolitically, just shrugging off the issue because they don’t think it’s a big deal or
    2. The exact same words as Chinese people (but not as angry) except with the countries switched around. Stuff like “why are we being chewed out in our own territory?” or “why do they fill our maritime territory with tons of illegal fishing boats?” and the classic “Japan’s government is too weak and cannot stand up to outsiders”, which is pretty much the exact same thing Chinese are saying about ourselves.

    It’s clear they feel their claim is perfectly natural and just, just like the Chinese side. I believe it is more an issue of pride and misunderstanding than intended aggression. Problem is neither side understands the other, and will naturally assume the worst “hostile invasion” scenario from our neighbor. The Chinese side is extremely emotional right now and not very receptive to calm conversation, the Japanese side is unmotivated and simply too out of touch to enact effective diplomacy. Sad to say these few rocks will probably remain a barrier to Sino-Japanese relations for a long time.

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  • […] abbia provocate. Poco dopo l'accaduto, l'agenzia Xinhua [en] ha tirato in ballo [en] il recente rinfocolarsi del perenne contrasto [en] tra Cina e Giappone riguardo le Isole Diaoyu [it]. Nonostante le apparenze lascerebbero […]

  • […] Poco dopo l’accaduto, l’agenzia Xinhua ha tirato in ballo il recente rinfocolarsi del perenne contrasto tra Cina e Giappone riguardo le isole Diaoyu. Nonostante le apparenze lascerebbero intendere che […]

  • […] September, when China temporarily suspended the export of rare earth metals to Japan because of the territorial dispute over Diaoyu Island, the tension over the rare earth supply has elevated and other countries have […]

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