Everything politically sensitive, such as the missing future Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the anti-national education protest in Hong Kong, is usually censored on the Chinese Internet. However, one hot topic allowed to emerge over the past few days has been the Diaoyu Islands conflict (the name is controversial and they are also known as the Senkaku Islands).
This morning [Friday 14 September] a fleet of six Chinese surveillance ships arrived in the disputed water in response to the Japanese government's move to purchase three of the islets from their private Japanese owners.
In reaction to the news, some Chinese netizens are collectively fantasizing a Sino-Japanese War via social media channels.
Famous nationalist blogger Sima Nan's post [zh] to certain extent reflects the online militant nationalist sentiment:
A map showing the disputed area. By KentonNGO under CC: NC-SA
My understanding of the tactic is: 1. To beat little Japan, you have to treat it as big Japan; 2. The United States is behind little Japan, so what we are fighting against is the US; 3. Either we fight or we have to use massive weapons, like nuclear ones; 4. If we don't use such kind of weapons, we won't be able to beat the united armies of Japan and US and can't stop the robbers who take advantage of our unstable situation; 5. We have to sacrifice in order to protect our national interest.
Joy Nicky, a young person from Beijing has written a recommended [zh] popular post on Sina Weibo, one of the most popular social media platforms:
I feel very frustrated about the street fights against Japanese and smashing of Japanese products in our country. A few years ago, we could still hear some empty slogans like “I would give my life to fight Japan”, now what they are doing is attacking their own people… If such group of patriotic thieves represent the Chinese young generation… when can we really beat up little Japan? I don't want to use four letter word, but this is f–king frustrating!!!
If you search the phrase, “打日本” (meaning “beat up Japan” or “war with Japan”) on Sina Weibo, a new micro-blog pops up almost every second. Below is a translation of some random posts picked up from the search [zh]:
: Let's fight! We don't have to be so rational in dealing with Japan. We should learn from the US. Beat them up until they surrender. We are now a strong country, we don't need to sit back. If we can't solve the problem through negotiation, start the war. Sometimes war is the best way to maintain peace.
: Will this time be real? Don't lie to me, don't hurt the feeling of Chinese people.
: Japanese, stay out of China, stay out of Shanghai. Don't you dare to chase after our girls in bars and pubs. You Japanese sit there all night with just a glass of whiskey, that's not even consumption and you want to chase after our girls and take our land? This is a shameless daydream. That's why you are beaten up in Shanghai and your embassy was attacked. We will donate to fight Japan, Chinese has to be united and love each other.
Fortunately, there are also some counter-balancing voices [zh]:
: Extreme behavior will make Chinese people lose face. Target the Japanese government leaders if you can. What's the point of beating up Japanese people? The decision of the leaders would directly affect their people, Japanese officials, you should apologize to your people.
: Just saw some posts at Fenghuang TV forum. Someone urges others to beat up Japanese in the street and destroy Japanese vehicles… Their brains are retarded. Japanese are also people and we should also respect their lives. They are just making use of the nationalistic sentiment to satisfy their ugly desires. They are putting mud on Chinese people's faces.
: The war talk is so disturbing. If you have nothing to do, go and have war. Don't just talk, it is so noisy.
邱林川 ： 打日本同意嗎？我說同意啊，只是必須讓富二代、官二代打頭陣，後面跟上貪官、酷吏及其所有打手、五毛。普通群眾墊後，“改革開放先窮下去的人”如下崗的、拆遷的、退伍的、血汗工廠打工的，一律排最後。陣亡遺產沒人繼承的，都給低保戶。如此布陣才有助解決中國目前主要矛盾：公義缺失、階級分化！
: Agree to fight Japan? I won't say yes, but the second generation rich people and second generation officials should stand in the frontline, followed by the corrupt officials, civil servants, etc. Ordinary people stay behind and those unemployed, displaced, retired, rural migrant workers should be the last. If they died in war, their wealth should be distributed to the poor. That the war can solve most of the internal conflicts within China.
There are still some Chinese netizens claiming that they would give their life for the war against Japan. If you search “打日本我捐一條命” (I will give my life to fight Japan), you can find a few pages of search results. But xyh999 has a different interpretation of the sentence:
For those who said they would give their life, the underlying meaning is that they are betting on their lives that there won't be any war between China and Japan.