It's a Horned Frog World

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Students flex their power in China again

Student-led movements like the May Fourth Movement, the Cultural Revolution and the freedom bid ended by the Tainanmen Square Massacre have left an impressionable mark on the history of modern China. However, as contoversy brews in the Far East, students can finally say, "Blame it on the textbook."

As Japanese officials approved controversial textbooks that Chinese officials say gloss over many of the attrocities committed against the Chinese people during the Sino-Japanese War, a deep wound was opened between the nations.

Many world experts believe that this textbook controversy could cause the Japanese to lose their bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Whoever said students are inactive?

Bryce Romero


  • Bryce,
    The Japanese have a not too illustrious history when it comes to modern historical pillage and slaughter. Read up on the Rape of Nanking. In a three month period the invading Japanese troops raped an estimated 80,000 Chinese women and girls as an act of war.
    Throw in the more recent historical atrocities of Unit 731(during WW II) and you see butchery at its best. Most people decry Nazi Germany, and rightfully so. But few are historians of the Japanese germ warfare program on Chinese soil that used Japanese, Russian and even our American POW's for human experimentation.Check out the facts and type Unit 731 into your search engine. View the pictures if you dare. This experimentation included live dissection of organs from unanesthetized and unsedated prisoners. There is one documented photograph of a child who was also surgically invaded for purposes of "science". Our POW's, the ones who survived, suffered horribly. Throw in how the average POW was treated who was shipped to Japan to work in the coal mines. One survivor had a leg infested with maggots. A fellow soldier amputated his leg with a hacksaw, because the Japanese would not render basic care.
    So we have the whole world in an uproar over Abu Ghraib? Gimme a break. Yes, it was unethical and unprofessional. It was vulgar and it was obscene. But there is much WORSE out there.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 PM  

  • I agree with Ms. Swofford. Indeed, the Japanese not only dissected prisoners, they also ate them. See Shusaku Endo's novel "The Sea and Poison" for a literary take on this much under-reported horror. One of the reasons so little has been made of all this is tactical. After World War II the US wanted to rehabilitate Japan, convert it into an ally, so our country could see little purpose in publicizing such behavior. But Japanese crimes got plenty of coverage in Asia and especially in China. One can still tour the laboratories in Harbin where the kind of experiments Ms Swofford refers to were conducted. And this point opens to Bryce Romero's post. Chinese economic development is opening China to the larger world, and this is beginning to undermine Beijing's authority. To counter this, the Chinese central government is whipping up a patriotism based on China's "victimization" over the last couple of centuries, and Europe, the US, and Japan serve as convenient object lessons. So when the Chinese students attack the Japanese embassy over a textbook, they are acting as surrogates for the Chinese government and are keeping the Chinese sense of grievance alive. Some of us worry that these kinds of things could be a psychological preparation for war. Think of Argentina's invasion of the Faulklands and then translate the strategy into a mainland/Taiwanese context. "The Dallas Morning News" on Saturday in its Viewpoints section ran an interesting blog by Rebecca MacKinnon on this overall strategy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 AM  

  • I believe Mike is on track with his comments. Re: Taiwan and the mainland. This also concerns "us". Naval seapower is based on the dominance of the straits and sea lanes so that our submarines and ships have unimpeded access. Naval sea doctrine includes "choke point" theory. The straits are choke points which we must control. Taiwan loves to engage in saber rattling with China. But they are like the chihuahua bravely barking with the great dane standing behind, providing the real threat. Taiwan yips, and China rounds up the troops for war games along the coastline to flex their muscle. Navy ships raise their alert levels and the good times roll. All of this tempest in China is just pre-positioning for the next move. China has a juggernauting economy. In the old days, Japan was second behind the U.S. in net import of fossil fuels. China leap-frogged ahead of Japan in net imports a few years ago. Both China and the U.S. are investing heavily in Africa, forgiving national debts, to get the foothold into the petroleum market on that continent. The U.S., China and Japan are the big three in competition. We are a long way from the discovery of Spindletop down in Beaumont. The world stage is getting smaller and smaller as we compete for resources to fuel our nation's collective needs. The next decade should prove interesting on the world stage. But we must watch China. Really, we must.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:56 AM  

  • Tammy-
    It certainly goes without saying that the Japanese have indeed had a "murderous" past, if you will.
    Without a doubt the atrocities committed during the Sino-Japanese war were almost "Nazi-like" as reports indicate that children were thrown in the air with the hopes of being impaled on the grounded bayonet of a Japanese soldier. The Rape of Nanking is just one example of the large scale "butchery" that took place. Throw in the deaths associated with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution as the most modern examples and China displays its very bloody past.
    I don't think a line can be drawn between Abu Ghraib and war crimes. We expect our soldiers to be the best they can be, and I don't think the actions of the American troops at Abu Ghraib represent the best they can be.
    War brings out the worst and we've seen it manifest itself in China, the US, Sudan, Japan and the Korean peninsula.

    It is a wild wild world.

    By Blogger bryce, at 7:26 PM  

  • Bryce,
    The actions of our troops at Abu Ghraib represent issues which we prosecute via the vehicle of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). These were issues of a) behavior unbecoming an officer b) poor order and discipline c)lax chain of command, for a start. But the difference is that the breakdown in military identity at Abu Ghraib represented a departure from the norm, as opposed to the norm. The behavior of Nazi Germany, was the sanctioned norm for that era. Throw in Goebbels, a master of propaganda, and the country quickly lockstepped in place to begin the "Final Solution" and purge the national identity of undesirables.
    The utter stupidity of Abu Ghraib is that the troops were clueless as to the extremely inflammatory nature of what they did in context to Islamic etiquette and sense of propriety. In Islam, a man is taught not to use an open urinal, but a stall in a public setting. His genitals are not to be exposed to another man, much less a woman not his wife. He is to step into the toilet area with his left foot and out with his right. I could continue on toilet etiquette, but the post would be too long. But it does indeed exist. Hijab requirements also exist for male and include nothing showing from the navel to the knees. I do not condone the behavior of our military. But understand, that we do bring our own to justice, including the much stricter criteria of adding "lesser included offenses" such as the commitment of adultery in our prosecution. We judge our own harshly. It is necessary.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 PM  

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