China

The Diaoyutai dispute brought out a lot of rage amongst Chinese who came out to protest all over China. People in Beijing gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy, in Shanghai several Japanese were allegedly assaulted, while Japanese cars, businesses, and factories making goods for Japanese brands were attacked in several cities nationwide. It’s not difficult to assume that the Chinese authorities support or at least tolerate these protests. This helps boost nationalism and takes away people’s attention from domestic and local issues, while letting them vent their emotions. I think this latter point is important to keep in mind, when reading or watching footage of Chinese protesters vehemently screaming anti-Japanese profanities or destroying random Japanese businesses or cars. The anti-Japanese feelings fuel passion and outrage which can be dangerous, and for the average Chinese, who lives in a society where challenges and competition exists pretty much everywhere, it’s not difficult to see where this strong emotion comes from. It’s not to excuse them and say it’s alright; but it’s about stressing that they aren’t mindless savages. The anger against Japan is genuine for many, even most I’d say. I’d think there are many Hong Kongers, especially older ones, many South Koreans, other Asians, and even some Taiwanese, who’d feel the same way about Japan and its recent actions concerning disputed territories.

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