...it doesn't mean that China doesn't have an outlet to display some good, old-fashioned nationalist fervor. And the country that currently finds itself the target for this vehemence is Japan. It's an anger that the Chinese government has learned to finely calibrate. On most days, newspapers will carry stories highlighting the villainy and treacherousness of the Japanese. Indeed, these anti-Japanese stories can appear in some surprising. Waiting in line for the cable cat to see the Great Wall at Badaling? Bored? Looking for something to read while a hundred people cut in line in front of you? Well, the government has thoughtfully created a display highlighting Japanese wartime atrocities in the area. Now and then, such as when new history textbooks in Japan are issued sugarcoating the country's role in World War II, the Chinese government will allow the country to erupt in righteous indignation, then backpedal furiously when the protests threaten to spiral out of control.
- J. Maarten Troost, Lost on Planet China
Today marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and I thought it appropriate to shift my focus on relations between Japan and China. Although the two share strong economic ties, I have a feeling there's still plenty of hatred over the war, particularly Nanjing and the ways Japan downplays its involvement (e.g. referring to the entire affair as a mere "incident", a footnote). China does have a point - just ask a Japanese high school student about the war and see what he thinks; is Japan ashamed of its actions, or ashamed of losing?
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