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China: Fishing boat captain detained, protests planned

Categories: East Asia, China, Taiwan (ROC), International Relations, Politics, Protest, War & Conflict

The spat between China and Japan [1] over the Diaoyu Islands [2] continues to grow [3], and protests around China are planned for Saturday [4], on the anniversary of the Mukden Incident [5].

At the the typically nationalist Global Times, one blogger gives Japan a few suggestions [6] as to how the conflict might be resolved quickly and quietly:


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 [7]. 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 [8], 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.


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 [9] 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 [10] on a news story recounting statements made regarding the incident by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one reader has started a conversation with:


‘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:


The government is only testing the public.