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China's history activism and Sino-Japanese relations.

This essay explores the emergence and impact of populist "history activism" in China. History activism includes museums and academics documenting Japanese wartime atrocities in China, the redress movement demanding compensation for Chinese victims and popular protests against Japan over a range of issues. While the Chinese state played a central enabling role in the emergence of history activism in the early 1990s, activists have subsequently mobilised popular sentiments, lobbied for official support and exacerbated tensions between China and Japan.


Outbursts of popular anger towards Japan in China have been growing since 2001 over issues related to Japan's WWII-era invasion of China. Protests exploded in reaction to a Japanese construction company's hiring of hundreds of Chinese prostitutes on a sensitive wartime anniversary in September 2003; against a popular Chinese singer-actress photographed in September 2002 in a dress that resembled Japan's wartime "Rising Sun" flag; and even over a risque performance in October 2003 by Japanese students at a Xian University. In 2004, thousands of Chinese fans rioted at soccer matches against Japan in Chongqing and Beijing. Massive on-line petition campaigns in China have attacked Japan's pursuit of permanent membership in the UN Security Council, its delayed cleanup of chemical weapons left behind in China and the bids by Japanese companies to build a high-speed railway in China. Most recently, in April 2005 tens of thousands of protesters reacted to Japan's approval of conservative textbooks by attacking Japanese businesses and diplomatic offices in cities throughout China, sparking a major diplomatic standoff. (1)

What is happening? Is the Chinese state simply manipulating the public, stirring up popular anger at Japan to promote nationalism at home and constrain Japan abroad? Or are Chinese leaders trying to pursue engagement with Japan, only to find their hands tied due to powerful public sentiments? These debates go to the heart of one of the most pressing questions for Chinese foreign policy: how do the increasingly complex state-society relations in China affect China's foreign relations? (2) This essay explores this topic by investigating the interaction between state propaganda campaigns and populist "history activism" in China, as well as the implications for China's relations with Japan.

In the early 1980s, the Chinese Government began to criticise Japan's management of its wartime history in diplomatic interactions and in domestic propaganda campaigns in response to shifting domestic and foreign policy priorities. Yet unlike most state-led propaganda campaigns, the Government's rhetoric was warmly received, sparking a boom in popular activism dedicated to commemorating Chinese suffering during the Japanese invasion. The resultant "history activism" in China can be divided into three categories: state-sanctioned, autonomous and oppositional activism.

State-sanctioned activism, such as history museums and academic research on Japan's wartime atrocities, enjoys a symbiotic relationship with Government propaganda campaigns. New museums and academic research emerged in the wake of permissive Government policies. They rely heavily upon state-sponsored institutions for support and urge only greater commemoration of Chinese wartime suffering. Autonomous activism, such as the redress campaign seeking compensation for Chinese victims through lawsuits in Japan, was restricted by the state in its early stages but continues to enjoy organisational autonomy from the Government. It acts independently in international and domestic arenas, influencing the political environment in which policy decisions are made. Oppositional activism, such as the street and on-line protests which took place in the spring of 2005, is fully independent of the state. Although nominally in line with official rhetoric and occasionally used for diplomatic leverage, popular protests represent a potential challenge to the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) nationalist legitimacy and foreign policy objectives.

This paper begins by describing how state propaganda campaigns and more assertive diplomacy towards Japan in the 1980s created a supportive environment for history activism to emerge. It then explores the growth of history activism in the 1990s and its impact on China's domestic and foreign policies. It concludes by arguing that although the Government remains capable of suppressing protests while pursuing engagement with Japan, populist history activism will continue to influence China's relations with Japan.

Using the Past to Serve the Present: State Presentations of the Wartime Past

Since its earliest days, the CCP has linked its nationalist credentials to the War of Resistance to Japan (kangri zhanzheng, 1937-45). The CCP gained popular support by promoting Communist leadership of anti-Japanese resistance, eventually riding the mass movement of "peasant nationalism" to victory in the civil war against the Nationalists. (3) After 1949, Party propaganda relived this historic victory endlessly in public memorials, academic research and propaganda campaigns. (4) Even China's national anthem is an anti-Japanese fighting song composed during a 1934 battle.

While domestic propaganda fostered pride in the victory over Japan, Chinese diplomats downplayed the contentious wartime past in order to engage Japan diplomatically. As Premier Zhou Enlai told visiting Japanese Diet members in 1954:
 The history of the past sixty years of Sino-Japanese relations was
 not good. However, it is a thing of the past, and we must turn it
 into a thing of the past. This is because friendship exists
 between the peoples of China and Japan. Compared to the history of
 a few thousand years, the history of sixty years is not worth
 bringing up. Our times have been unfortunate, because we have only
 been living in these sixty years. However, our ancestors weren't
 like this. Moreover, we cannot let such history influence our
 children and grandchildren. (5)

Following the Sino-Soviet split in 1960, Beijing's desire for Japan to help balance against the Soviet Union also took precedence over raising the history issues, even leading Chinese leaders to welcome a Japanese military buildup. (6) The normalisation of relations in 1972 ushered in a decade-long honeymoon in China-Japan relations, during which discussion of Japanese wartime atrocities in China was suppressed as "harmful to the Sino-Japanese friendship". In order to gain Japanese diplomatic recognition, Chinese leaders agreed to forgo demands for reparations. (7)

China's benevolent amnesia towards Japan began to erode in the early 1980s in reaction to shifts in the domestic and international environments. Chinese anxieties about the Soviet threat were replaced by concerns about Japan's expanding military capacity, wealth and close military alliance with the US. Chinese analysts began to argue that Japan's unwillingness to satisfactorily address its wartime aggression rendered Japan a potential threat to repeat its aggression towards China. (8) Such criticism of Japan was also useful in demanding greater Japanese economic assistance. Thus by the mid-1980s, Deng Xiaoping began to remind visiting Japanese delegations that "Japan is the country most indebted to China", insisting that "If we want to settle the historical account, Japan owes China the largest debt." (9)

The early 1980s also marked the onset of China's promotion of "patriotic education" as part of a shift away from the divisive radicalism of the Maoist era. (10) After the suppression of the 1989 student movement, promoting patriotism took on new urgency. The patriotic education campaign featured a renewed emphasis upon Chinese wartime suffering at the hands of Japanese invaders as part of a revamped "victimisation narrative". (11) Revised history textbooks, Government-sponsored films and new history museums in Nanjing, Shenyang and Beijing re-framed the history of Japan's invasion to build popular support for national unity, the Party and its modernisation drive. As a prominent statement at the September 18 History Museum in Shenyang declares, "China must increase its national strength to avoid the backwardness which leads to bullying and humiliation." The museum urges visitors to "increase [their] patriotic spirit" and warns them to "not forget China's national shame and work to reinvigorate China". (12)

In many ways, the victimisation narrative was similar to countless other propaganda campaigns undertaken by the CCP during the reform era. Yet unlike most other campaigns, the history campaign captured popular imagination, sparking a groundswell of popular activism in China on history issues. Having been denied a public airing of wartime suffering and Japanese atrocities by their own leaders, by the late 1980s the Chinese people were hungry for popular histories of Japan's wartime atrocities. (13) Personal memories exacerbated by decades of negative images of Japanese soldiers also contributed to deeply felt distrust of Japan among the Chinese population, while the deepening "reform and opening up" (gaige kaifang) policies began to provide valuable space and resources for popular activism on history issues.

In sum, state propaganda promoting the victimisation narrative combined with deeply embedded popular attitudes and expanded social autonomy and resources created a supportive environment for China's history activism to develop by the early 1990s. However, as Tarrow notes, such opportunity structures serve primarily as a "set of clues for when contentious politics may emerge". (14) The following section describes how social actors capitalised on this opportunity to engage in state sanctioned, autonomous and oppositional history activism.

State Sanctioned Activism: History Museums and Academics

Prominent history museums documenting Japanese aggression and Chinese suffering have been a key element in the Government's patriotic education campaign. The Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre was established first in 1984, followed by the Memorial Hall of the People's War of Resistance Against Japan in 1987 in Beijing and the September 18 History Museum in Shenyang in 1992. A number of local museums also address Japanese wartime atrocities, such as the Fushun Jail in Liaoning Province and the Museum of Criminal Evidence of Unit 731 in Harbin. (15) While all such museums are under the authority of local Governments, they have also generated popular enthusiasm. The Nanjing museum remains the most popular of all history museums in China, having received 11 million visitors since its opening with over one million coming in 2004 alone. A network of supporters including academics, massacre survivors, overseas Chinese and the local population has helped fund the museum's two substantial expansion projects over the past decade. (16)

Mirroring the state-level process, individuals around China have also established public educational facilities documenting local aspects of Japanese wartime atrocities, such as private efforts to refurbish former "comfort women" stations in Shanghai and reconstruct a former Japanese military watchtower in Liaoning. The establishment of these local institutions follows a common pattern: they begin with individual initiative, build upon local resources and connections, gain official support at the local level and then slowly expand using media, academic and Government resources to engage in public outreach and scholarship. (17) The number and scope of such privately funded history museums focusing on the wartime era continues to expand. The "largest private museum in China" covering the wartime era was recently established, funded by a wealthy individual in Sichuan Province. (18)

Private history museums have won official support by providing local officials with a mechanism for public education on "patriotic" themes. Museums often work closely with local educational officials to arrange for student visits, conduct field studies with local students, hold public events on key anniversaries, create publicity materials and donate books to nearby schools. The role of local history museums in public education is set to expand after the March 2005 call by the Ministry of Education for all local educational authorities to expand patriotic education on the wartime era that addresses local interests and histories. (19) In addition to serving domestic educational purposes, prominent history museums like the Holocaust memorials in Germany are also used as sites where Chinese officials can host visiting Japanese diplomats who wish to show their repentance. (20)

Both state history museums and their grassroots counterparts generate negative images of Japan and Japanese people. The museum in Nanjing depicts scenes so violent that they are frequently covered in black cloth due to their inappropriateness for children. The museum in Beijing held a "summer school" which incorporated simulated battles with "Japanese devils" (riben guize). (21) These negative images are reinforced by the onslaught of populist publications on Japanese wartime atrocities in recent years. The popularity of state-level museums and the emergence of grassroots museums reflect not just official policy but also these museums' compelling appeal to the universal desire to honour one's ancestors who have suffered. It is precisely this potent combination of political support and public passion that links state and popular nationalism in China.

Academic History Activists: Combining Scholarship and Politics

The first publicly available academic research on Japan's wartime atrocities emerged only in the early 1980s when Nanjing-based scholars began to comb their collective archives, leading to a number of academic publications, a photo book, a feature film on the Nanjing massacre and much of the museum exhibitions in Nanjing. (22) Academic publications then began to proliferate in the 1990s. (23) History museums and research institutes at universities provided material support and served as the centre of a thickening web linking history activists around China with their supporters overseas. (24) Museum officials have worked closely with state-sponsored research institutions and university research centres to create local networks, hold academic conferences, establish research centres and issue publications on Japan's invasion and occupation of China. (25) The result has been the creation of a community of academic history activists who meet regularly, collaborate on research, share their findings and primary sources, engage in public education and outreach and publicly debate professional and political issues. (26)

Academic history activists have used this prominence to raise the visibility of Chinese wartime victims disregarded by their own Government. For instance, as most Chinese history textbooks do not mention Chinese comfort women, and Chinese diplomats do not raise the issue with their Japanese counterparts, there has been no compensation offered to these women and there is no official memorial to them anywhere in China. However, the combination of advocacy and academic work is helping to bring the issue of the comfort women into the Chinese mainstream. China's most prominent expert on the comfort women, Su Zhiliang, included a lengthy discussion on the issue in the revised history textbook now being used in all Shanghai high schools. (27) Building on the research of history activists, the Nanjing Massacre Museum will soon establish China's first permanent museum exhibit on the comfort women.

Chinese academics have also demonstrated an increasing willingness to take a more political stance in reaction to reports of Japanese revisionism. One conference report concludes, "Our struggle with the Japanese right-wing is not an academic struggle; it is a political one, and in a political struggle one must use political methods." (28) Such "political methods" have included public calls for the establishment of national holidays to commemorate Chinese wartime suffering, urging the establishment of an international court to re-try Japanese war criminals and promoting discussion of Japanese wartime atrocities in Chinese history textbooks. (29)

Impacts of State-Sanctioned Activism: Lobbying Within the NPC

While popular and academic efforts to document Japanese wartime atrocities generally do not conflict with official state policy, activists have lobbied the Government to take a more public stance on history issues. The most notable example has been the campaign seeking more official commemoration of key wartime anniversaries, such as September 18, the anniversary of Japan's 1931 invasion of Northern China, and December 13, the date of the Nanjing Massacre through lobbying at the China's National People's Congress (NPC).

This campaign grew out of a grassroots movement in Hong Kong which succeeded in getting Hong Kong's Legislative Council to unanimously pass a motion demanding a written apology and compensation from Japan for wartime atrocities in 2000. (30) Over the next four years, Wang Jinsi, a NPC delegate from Hong Kong, actively lobbied over 100 NPC representatives to support draft bills urging greater official commemoration of these holidays. (31) Activists also organised street demonstrations and online petition campaigns netting over 450,000 signatures. (32)

At the annual meetings of the NPC and Chinese People's Consultative Committee (CPCC) in March 2005, a Nanjing delegate proposed a bill that would commit the Government to seeking world cultural heritage status for the Nanjing museum and would declare December 13, the start of the Nanjing Massacre, a national holiday. Another delegate went even further, submitting a bill calling for September 18 to be recognised as a national "day of shame", with no weddings, opening of new businesses or any other celebratory activities permitted on this day. (33) Despite garnering extensive media and public attention, neither of these bills became law. Media attention on these efforts continues to mount even in the face of Central Government resistance. (34) This process reflects the trends within the NPC of mounting "pluralist delegate assertiveness", and the greater accessibility of NPC delegates to academics and civil society leaders. (35) As such, popular pressure on history issues is increasingly likely to percolate up into legislative proposals in China.

Autonomous Activism: China's Redress Movement

China's "redress movement" (suopei yundong) refers to the pursuit of lawsuits in the Japanese court system since the early 1990s on issues such as the comfort women, forced labourers, biological warfare and the chemical weapons left behind in China.

The redress movement emerged as part of the post-Cold War "memory boom" in the mid-1990s as wartime victims aided by Japanese lawyers began to file lawsuits in Japan demanding financial compensation. Former comfort women led the way, followed by former forced labourers and victims of Japan's biological warfare in China. Japanese courts have dismissed almost all cases by citing the statute of limitations in Japan's civil code as well as diplomatic instruments ending the war and establishing diplomatic relations with China. (36) The redress movement has grown through history activists' ability to link Chinese victims and their communities with Japanese activists while gaining publicity in both local and national media in China.

Activist networks in support of the lawsuits began to form in the mid- 1990s when Japanese lawyers visited China to gather data for the lawsuits, raising local awareness and establishing ties with China's emerging history activists. The most prominent of these activists has been Wang Xuan, a former middle-school teacher who was living in Japan in 1995 when she volunteered to help Japanese lawyers in the first round of compensation cases. Wang Xuan soon became the official representative of several Chinese plaintiffs groups and has since played a leading role in connecting Chinese victims with Japanese lawyers. Seeking legal expertise and field research for documentation, Wang Xuan and other activists have brought Chinese lawyers and academics into the redress movement. (37) Even local papers have aided in the documentation effort. For instance, a local paper in Jiangxi ran a series of stories on Japan's wartime biological warfare in the area and then helped process the hundreds of resulting claims from former victims. (38)

China's media has embraced the redress movement because it provides a unique opportunity for the media to tell powerful human stories within the framework of one of China's most compelling foreign policy issues. In 2002, Wang Xuan was selected as one of the few individuals who "inspires China" (gandong zhongguo) by Central China TV (CCTV), and given the opportunity to make an acceptance speech on national television. She was also selected by the readers of China's premier weekly paper, Southern Weekend, as the "Person of the Year" for 2002. (39) She later began to write a regular column for Southern Weekend, giving her an influential national platform. This national media attention has translated into widespread local recognition and support. For instance, when Wang Xuan visited Dalian in 2003, the city opened the "first-ever national Wang Xuan hotline for biological warfare documentation". She was warmly received by local officials and academics, offered volunteer help by lawyers and students and even spontaneously given flowers in hotels and restaurants. (40)

Of course the redress movement goes far beyond just one person. Publicity over the lawsuits has captured the imagination of affected communities all over China, sparking local activism and anger that continues to swell. For instance, in Changde (Hunan) local residents first formed a support group for the biological warfare lawsuits in 1996. As the lawsuit first stagnated and was then rejected, the community grew more angry and active, organising signature campaigns, holding academic conferences and helping to produce and promote a documentary movie about the biological warfare in Changde and the recent legal battles. Most of the group's public events are staged at a local memorial commemorating military resistance rather than civilian suffering, offering an example of how the redress movement has appropriated official monuments for local purposes. (41)

Each new set of lawsuits expands the interlocking social networks that underpin the redress movement. For instance, biological warfare lawsuits were sustained by a formal support group including Chinese lawyers, activists and local village representatives. Over 100 Chinese lawyers and academics carried out grassroots investigations to gather evidence and find witnesses for these lawsuits. Members of this group also published booklets on their findings in China; reported to symposia in Shanghai, Beijing, and Harbin; arranged exhibitions in various cities in China, Japan and the US; and took part in events organised by international NGOs on Japanese war crimes. (42)

China's redress movement has mobilised public opinion around compensation issues, compelling the Chinese Government to address history- related issues in diplomatic interactions with Japan. This pressure was most apparent in the cleanup of chemical weapons in China. At the end of WWII, Japanese units in China disposed of vast amounts of chemical weapons and agents by burial, dumping them in rivers or mixing them in with ordinary weapons. For decades, the Chinese Government failed to raise this concern to Japan, even though an estimated 2,000 Chinese people had been injured or made ill by the weapons since 1945. (43) In 1999, Japan pledged to remove all weapons deposits in China by 2007 in order to honour its obligations under the 1997 UN Chemical Weapons Convention. Yet even though Japan engaged in only three operations over the first four years, Chinese diplomats still did not prominently raise the chemical weapons cleanup in interactions with Japan.

Then on 4 August 2003, Chinese construction workers unwittingly unearthed Japanese chemical weapons in Helongjiang, poisoning 44 people and killing one. Angry coverage blanketed Chinese newspapers and internet sites. Over one million Chinese citizens signed online petitions demanding immediate compensations and an official apology from Japan. The Chinese Government responded to this public anger by issuing its first strident criticism of Japan's cleanup effort. It has subsequently expressed official satisfaction with Japan's redoubled cleanup programme. However as each new site is uncovered, another local community becomes enraged and engaged, national attention refocuses on the wartime past and the redress movement grows stronger. (44)

Even as the wartime history recedes into the past, China's redress lawsuits continue to expand. For instance, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, accused in a Japanese right-wing book of deception in her public testimony, successfully sued the book's authors and publisher for libel in 1999. (45) Chinese activists are hurriedly taking notarised testimony from aging former comfort women and other victims of wartime atrocities. Victims' advocates have also begun to pursue new arenas for lawsuits, including in the US and the International Court of Justice in The Hague. (46) Former forced labourers have even filed suits in Chinese courts against Japanese companies. (47)

Repeated rejection of the lawsuits in Japan seems only to strengthen the determination of the Chinese plaintiffs. As one 71-year-old woman told a Chinese reporter after a recent setback, "even if I cannot win this lawsuit, my grandson will win it". (48) Most significantly, Chinese wartime victims and their supporters have great popular appeal within China. Although the legal channel has not proven an effective mechanism for providing timely, meaningful relief to individual victims, the lawsuits have developed into a powerful political tool for activists seeking to both highlight official Japanese resistance to addressing wartime atrocities and pressure the Chinese Government to support their effort.

Gaining Government Support: Impact of the Redress Movement on Chinese Policy

When the redress movement began in the early 1990s, Chinese officials took a number of steps to limit its impact abroad. Former comfort women and forced labourers were either restricted from travelling to Japan to join in class action lawsuits and collective protest efforts or criticised upon their return. (49) Despite this pressure, victims' lawsuits began to build a base of support in local communities while garnering national and international media attention, creating an uncomfortable set of "facts on the ground" that the Chinese Government was forced to address. Through actions abroad, advocacy efforts in the NPC and alignment with supportive elements of the state, the redress movement successfully gained official support for the lawsuits. However, activists' demands for China to seek official reparations from Japan continue to meet with state rejection and repression.

History activists began their advocacy via the NPC in 1987 when Li Guping, a law professor at People's University in Beijing, sent letters to members of the NPC urging their support for private compensation for victims. In 1991, a NPC delegate proposed a bill urging Government support for Chinese comfort women's lawsuits. In 1992, Tong Zeng, a prominent history activist, circulated a draft bill which would have committed the Chinese Government to seeking a total of USD18 billion from Japan for "private compensation" and begin gathering information on victims so that a demand for compensation could be presented to the Japanese Government "at a suitable time". (50)

Academic history activists also used their professional and personal credibility to advocate for Government support of the compensation lawsuits, pressing the legal argument that the 1972 normalisation agreement had given up state-to-state war indemnity but did not cover reparations to personal injuries. By the mid-1990s, scholars writing in mainstream journals and in restricted "internal distribution" (neibu) publications had joined history activists in urging Government support for the lawsuits. (51)

When the Japanese emperor visited Beijing in 1992, university students launched a citywide petition movement and attempted to deliver an open letter to the Japanese Embassy demanding that the emperor apologise for war crimes and offer reparations. Sympathy among Government officials was so strong that the Government was forced to issue a stern warning for cadres "not to raise, encourage others to raise, and support any attempt to claim indemnity against Japan as the Japanese emperor is about to visit China". (52) In an effort to resist the mounting demands that the Government seek official reparations from Japan, Chinese officials began to acquiesce in the individual redress lawsuits. (53) Finally, at the 1995 NPC meeting, Foreign Minister Qian Qichen officially declared that China's decision to forgo official reparations did not cover civil lawsuits by Chinese individuals. (54)

As public prominence of the lawsuits grew, Government bodies also became more supportive. For instance, the Chinese Women's Federation refused to even discuss the comfort women issue during the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing. (55) Six years later, when a prominent comfort women lawsuit was rejected, the National Women's Federation joined two other semi-state organisations in a joint statement strongly denouncing the court's decision. (56) Today, the rejection of Chinese victims' lawsuits regularly elicits critical responses directly from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (57)

While official support for individual lawsuits has grown, activists who demand that the Chinese Government pursue official compensation from Japan have been repeatedly punished. For instance, after his 1992 efforts at the NPC, Tong Zeng was sent to distant Qinghai Province to work for the Chinese Geriatric Association. (58) After returning, he continued to call for the Government to seek reparations and so in 2000 was stripped of his university position. (59) The Chinese Government continues to avoid raising the compensation issue in diplomatic meetings with Japan and remains unwilling to provide its own compensation to the victims, such as Britain did for former forced labourers and South Korea did for former comfort women. Yet given the tide of mounting popular activism, the Chinese Government is likely to face continued domestic criticism for its reticence to demand compensation from Japan for Chinese wartime suffering.

The Redress Movement's Impact on China-Japan Reconciliation

While history activists have played a key role in building public anger towards Japan over the past decade, they have also become integrated into a transnational social movement dedicated to justice for all the victims of Japanese wartime atrocities. Chinese academics have written a joint history textbook with their Korean and Japanese counterparts and joined activists from around East Asia to bring pressure to bear on the Japanese Government in international forums. (60) Activist Wang Xuan has called for Japan, the US and China to jointly establish a "Peace Fund" that would support joint academic research, preserve the historical record of Chinese suffering and build memorials to Chinese victims, de-classify and publish historical documents and provide medical assistance and financial support for Chinese victims. (61) Rose suggests that such "agents of remembrance" are supporting an "interactive process between perpetrators and victims at the grassroots level" that contributes to reconciliation between China and Japan. (62)

As Chinese activists and academics participate in these regional networks, they are framing their actions in the language of universal human rights norms and justice rather than playing on anti-Japanese nationalist sentiments. Wang Xuan asserts that "This work is not aimed at the past aggressors but at their successors. We carefully choose our methods in order not to increase hatred, but instead to deepen understanding and dialogue." (63) Encouragingly, many stories on the redress movement emphasise the close cooperation with Japanese supporters. (64) Popular involvement on history issues may even be contributing to a more critical view towards controversial periods in China's own modern past, as new local history museums begin to address the Cultural Revolution period. (65)

Yet despite the noble intent of many history activists, their actions are likely exacerbating distrust of Japan and so worsening prospects for reconciliation in the short term. Given the current atmosphere of broad distrust of Japan and rising popular nationalism--both having been augmented by Government propaganda--the history activists' reminders of Japan's historical atrocities and highlighting of the right-wing, historical revisionist movement within Japan has likely contributed to the outbursts of nationalist, anti-Japanese protests among urban youth in China.

Oppositional Activism: Anti-Japan Protests

Sporadic throughout the 1990s, public protests in recent years have spread to cover almost every aspect of interaction between the two nations. Today, even student exchanges and sporting events seem to provoke anger and violence instead of fostering trust and friendship. While Chinese officials have generally tolerated such protests, even framing them to advance Chinese foreign policy objectives, they remain concerned that protests will undermine social stability and China's long-term interests with Japan. The spring 2005 protests highlighted these tensions. Chinese leaders initially tolerated public demonstrations, using them for diplomatic leverage and to demonstrate their nationalist credentials. When the protests grew out of control, officials quickly reversed their position and restrained further outbursts. This, however, engendered criticism of the Party and its policy towards Japan.

Street Protests in April 2005: Popular Activism and Government Responses

Chinese public mobilisation began in late March 2005 with a massive online signature campaign opposing Japan's efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. When China's media reported that the Japanese Ministry of Education had approved history textbooks which insufficiently addressed Japanese wartime aggression and atrocities, massive protests broke out on April 9 in cities throughout China. (66) In Beijing, protesters surrounded the Japanese Embassy, smashing more than 20 windows and vandalising Japanese businesses. (67) In response, the Beijing Public Security Bureau warned that all demonstrations must be legally approved and that all violators would suffer legal consequences. (68) The next weekend, security forces blanketed Tiananmen Square and the embassy district, successfully preventing significant protests in Beijing. However, authorities elsewhere were less prepared. Marches of several thousand people were reported in a number of cities, including Tianjin, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou. Shanghai protests drew up to 20,000 people, garnering international attention after demonstrators threw rocks at the Japanese consulate and vandalised Japanese cars and businesses. (69)

In order to maintain diplomatic pressure on Japan and avoid appearing weak in the face of public outrage, Chinese officials refused to apologise for the protests and instead attributed the protests to "Japan's wrong attitudes and actions on a series of issues such as its history of aggression." In a hastily arranged meeting with Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing pointedly declared, "The Chinese Government has never done anything for which it has to apologise to the Japanese people." (70) Premier Wen Jiaobao even suggested on national television that the demonstrations should cause Japan to reconsider its pursuit of a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. (71)

Despite their sharp rhetoric, Chinese officials quickly began to implement a familiar blend of propaganda and crackdowns to halt demonstrations. On Sunday, April 17, a day after the violent Shanghai protests, the People's Daily editorialised on the importance of preserving national stability, calling for young people to act "calmly and reasonably" (lengjing lizhi). Two days later in a widely distributed statement, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing warned 3,500 cadres from the Party's Propaganda Department that "the masses ... must believe in the Party and the Government's ability to properly handle all issues linked to Sino-Japanese relations". (72) After this meeting, propaganda authorities issued new guidelines for websites and media, causing the most incendiary news and articles about Japan to disappear or be obscured on most mainstream news websites. Instead of continuing to attack Japan, newspapers also began to praise China's policy of "friendship" towards Japan, report on official Sino-Japanese "Friendship Meetings", and run analysis by scholars criticising economic boycotts of Japanese products. (73)

Accompanying the shift in propaganda was a crackdown against protesters, with particular emphasis on Shanghai. An April 27 editorial in the Liberation Daily of Shanghai declared that the wave of popular protests against Japan was part of an "evil plot" with "ulterior motives" designed to undermine the Communist Party. Shanghai television showed a video of anti-Japanese vandalism during the protests, and reported that Shanghai authorities had detained 42 people and arrested 16 people for "disturbing social order". (74) The combination of propaganda and scare tactics were clearly designed to head off protests before they could escalate into a direct challenge to the Party.

In addition to exacerbating fears of domestic unrest, the protests also threatened the Government's efforts to promote a peaceful national image abroad. After the violence in Shanghai, Japanese companies cancelled visits to China and Japanese legislators publicly questioned Beijing's capacity to hold the 2008 Olympics. (75) Beijing was also preparing to host a historic visit by Lien Chan, the Chairman of the Kuomintang Party on Taiwan, and could ill-afford to present the image of an unruly, ultra-nationalistic society to Taiwan and the world. While illustrating the state's dilemma in promoting popular nationalism, the spring protests also highlighted the power of the internet for Chinese activism.

Online Protests: A New Kind of Chinese Activism

Online petition efforts, such as the massive campaign against Japan's effort to enter into the UN Security Council in 2005, have become a staple of Chinese nationalist protests in recent years. The UN campaign began among a small group of friends but spread rapidly throughout the Chinese internet and even offline in popular sign-on events in cities across China. (76) The first day of the signature campaign in downtown Guangzhou alone garnered 80,000 signatures. (77) The scope of such events is mind-boggling: within a few weeks, the UN campaign netted a reported ten million signatures. Much like Benedict Anderson's explanation of how national newspapers helped create a national "imagined community", the Chinese internet has fostered a sense of a common identity which in turn facilitates collective action like street protests. (78) By mobilising the population in late March, the massive sign-on campaign almost certainly contributed to the extent and vigour of the subsequent April protests.

Expanded use of the internet in China has also facilitated the rapid transmission of information about history-related issues, creating an opportunity for participation and fostering political mobilisation. For instance, during the spring 2005 protests, the popular "" website's top stories contained links to pages with extensive news coverage on history-related issues, links to the UN sign-on petitions and encouragement for viewers to post their opinions on the website's bulletin board. In one sitting, Chinese netizens could get the latest news, exchange opinions and engage in political activism. Chinese young people's involvement in such anti-Japan protests will likely shape their worldviews for decades to come. (79)

The internet not only creates an online space within which activism can happen, but also facilitates related offline activism through reducing transaction costs, facilitating participation, broadening impact and easing operations. Protestors in April 2005 coordinated their activities and spread word of the protests through e-mail, and particularly through mass forwarding of cell phone text messages, a technique that is fast, cheap and nearly impossible for the state to detect or block. As a result, the April protests which incorporated tens of thousands of people in cities around China "took almost no work to organise". (80)

The internet also offers the Chinese populace a relatively low-cost way to circumvent their Government's restrictions and directly affect international politics. For instance, the 2005 UN petition campaign featured not only the sign-on petition scheduled to be delivered directly to UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan, but also a number of public letters addressed to Anan widely circulated on the internet and a letter signed by a hundred Chinese lawyers addressed directly to the Japanese emperor. Most influential was a letter by Tong Zeng, a leading history activist, which was eventually published in full in a major weekly news magazine. (81)

Massive sign-on campaigns on the internet have increasingly impacted Chinese policy towards Japan over the past few years. In addition to the aforementioned online petitions in the chemical weapons incident of 2003 which sparked a quick Government response, in July 2003 an online petition quickly collected 80,000 signatures calling for the Chinese Government not to award a Japanese company the contract to build China's high-speed rail link between Shanghai and Beijing. (82) Even after Chinese officials shut down the website, they continued to emphasise their concerns about public criticism while resisting Japanese diplomats' pursuit of the contract for Japanese companies. (83) Similarly, the UN sign-on campaign almost certainly helped stiffen Chinese Government resistance in the UN.

To be sure, the Chinese Government still remains capable of preventing street protests and even stifling massive online protest efforts through blocking prominent websites and harassing or arresting their founders, thus sending a powerful signal to would-be protesters. During the Beijing protests, protesters' postings on internet bulletin boards complained that their cell phone text messages were being interrupted or blocked by security forces. These postings were removed from the bulletin board almost immediately. After the Government began to crack down on the protests, Beijing public security forces sent a text message to tens of millions of cell phone users discouraging them from participating in "illegal protests" and urging them to "express patriotism rationally". (84)

Yet even in the face of such crackdowns, there remain a number of "weapons of the weak" that protesters can employ. (85) One of the most significant is economic boycotts of Japan. While calls for economic boycotts usually peak at times of widespread public protests, local efforts are nearly incessant in China today, transmitted both online and through leafleting in urban shopping areas. (86) Calls for economic boycotts of Japanese products echo similar "patriotic" boycotts of the 1930s, touching a nationalist chord that reverberates back to the origins of the Communist Party. Although the economic impact appears negligible, the negative signal that boycotts send to Japanese companies and the fact that consumers' behaviour is largely beyond Government control clearly make the Government nervous. In the spring of 2005, Foreign Ministry spokespeople and top experts repeatedly warned that economic boycotts were harmful to China's national interests. (87)

Despite its massive repressive capacity, the Party's continued reliance upon nationalist mythmaking for its domestic legitimacy renders it ill-placed to oppose public opposition to Japan. Each time the Government cracks down on such protests, it engenders a round of muted criticism of leaders as hanjian (Chinese traitors), a label used in the 1930s to attack those who collaborated or engaged in trade with the occupying Japanese forces. Given the regime's reliance upon its nationalist credentials originating out of the anti-Japanese resistance of the 1930s and 1940s, such popular criticisms strike a poignant note.

History Activism: A New Kind of "Popular Diplomacy?"

As the UN sign-on campaign mounted in the spring of 2005, Chinese diplomats warned about its potential for circumventing traditional diplomatic channels and upsetting delicate negotiations.. In a speech in Shanghai only weeks before the violent demonstrations in April 2005, Wu Jianmin, China's representative to the UN at Geneva, emphasised China's economic interdependence with Japan and urged Chinese people to view this situation from a long-term, reasoned perspective in order to advance China's fundamental national interests. (88) Chinese scholars began to describe this kind of activism as a new kind of "popular diplomacy" (minjian waijiao). (89)

Although its impact remains limited, China's emerging popular diplomacy is disconcerting to the State for three reasons. First, it reacts primarily to developments outside the control of the Chinese state. Although Government propaganda may have laid the foundations for popular anger, public protests largely respond to Japanese Government policy and the behaviour of Japanese companies and individuals. Inflammatory coverage of contentious issues comes not primarily through prominent state-controlled media, but through the burgeoning internet media. (90)

Second, Chinese activists are increasingly participating directly in international politics, linking popular nationalism with transnational activism. They have instigated international petition campaigns, lawsuits and advocacy events in Japan and consumer boycotts around China. Although most of these actions require some level of acquiescence by the Chinese Government, they also alter the subsequent political environment within which Chinese officials make policy decisions. Finally, the growth of a partially free, market-based media sector and the rapid spread of information technology have enabled activists to tap independent sources of information, spread the impact of their actions widely within China, create a broad base of community support and engage in activism at home and abroad.

Today, China's relations with Japan are increasingly shaped by two trends pointing in opposite directions: mounting anti-Japan activism at home and deepening economic ties with Japan. A number of polls indicate that Chinese public opinion of Japan has declined in recent years. (91) At the same time, Japan has become China's most important trading partner. These elements are interrelated: growing economic interdependence may be exacerbating negative anti-Japanese sentiments in China, as demonstrated by the number of anti- Japan protests in China in reaction to economic issues. (92)

Over the next few years, the tension between "hot economics and cool politics" (re zhengzhi, leng jingji) in the China-Japan relationship is likely to continue to worsen. Moreover, as Chinese society continues to gain greater access to information and resources both abroad and at home, retaining the distinction between promoting nationalism at home and moderation abroad will become increasingly difficult. As such, the impact of changing state-society relations on China's foreign relations will remain one of the most important questions for Chinese foreign policy studies.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Second Annual Graduate Seminar on China, 5-9 January 2006 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The author would like to thank Yinan He, Daqing Yang, Caroline Rose, Michael Mochizuki, David Shambaugh, and two anonymous reviewers for their advice and comments.

(1) Two recent studies addressing Chinese popular sentiment towards Japan, including discussions of some of the above-mentioned incidents are: Peter Hays Gries, "China's 'New Thinking' on Japan", The China Quarterly 184 (Dec. 2005): 831-50; Yinan He, "History, Chinese Nationalism, and the Emerging Sino-Japanese Conflict", Journal of Contemporary China 16, no. 50 (2007).

(2) Joseph Fewsmith and Stanley Rosen, "The Domestic Context of Chinese Foreign Policy: Does 'Public Opinion' Matter?", in The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform, 1978-2000, ed. David M. Lampton (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001): 151-90; Peter Hays Gries, China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); Erica Strecker Downs and Phillip C. Saunders, "Legitimacy and the Limits of Nationalism: China and the Diaoyu Islands", International Security 23, no. 3 (Winter 1998-9): 114-46.

(3) Chalmers Johnson, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962).

(4) Laura Hein and Mark Selden, "The Lessons of War, Global Power, and Social Change", in Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States, ed. Laura Hein and Mark Selden (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000), p. 49.

(5) Quoted in: Daqing Yang, "Mirror for the Future or the History Card? Understanding the 'History Problem'", in Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-first Century, ed. Marie Soderberg (London and New York: Routledge), p. 21.

(6) Joseph Y.S. Cheng, "China's Japan Policy in the 1980s", International Affairs 61, no. 1 (1984-5): 92.

(7) This was primarily in exchange for Japan's agreement to an anti-hegemony clause aimed at the USSR. In addition, the Nationalists had originally agreed to forgo reparations after WWII, which made it difficult for Chinese leaders to demand reparations when seeking the shift in recognition.

(8) For an overview, see Chalmers Johnson, "The Patterns of Japanese Relations with China, 1952-1982", Pacific Affairs 59, no. 3 (Autumn 1986): 402-28.

(9) The first comment was made in 1987; the second in May 1989. Yang, "History Card", p. 14; Yong Deng, "Chinese Relations with Japan: Implications for Asia- Pacific Regionalism", Pacific Affairs 70, no. 3 (Autumn 1997): 377.

(10) Zhao Suisheng, "A State-led Nationalism: The Patriotic Education Campaign in Post- Tiananmen China", Communist and Post-Communist Studies 31: 287-302.

(11) For the "victimisation narrative", see Gries, China's New Nationalism, pp. 69-86.

(12) Similarly, a plaque at the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre bemoans, "The Government was in disorder and our nation was weak. How could we have been safe?" Personal visits to Shenyang and Nanjing, Summer 2001.

(13) For instance, a popular non-fiction book on The Great Nanjing Massacre released in December 1987 sold 150,000 copies in the first month and was widely reprinted. Yinan He, Overcoming Shadows of the Past: Post-Conflict Interstate Reconciliation in East Asia and Europe (PhD dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004), p. 263.

(14) Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 20.

(15) For the Fushun museum, see Shou Peipei, "Zhanqian riben zhanfan zhonghui xiezui zhi di" (The Place Where Japanese War Criminals Repeatedly Return to Apologise for Their Crimes) Nanfang zhoumou (Southern Weekend), 14 July 2005: A3.

(16) For the 1995 renovation, private companies and individuals raised four million RMB and the local Government contributed another million. From interviews in Nanjing (Sept. 2001); supported by various museum publications. See also "Nanjing daxue wei kuojian Nanjing datusha jinianguan yongyue" (Nanjing University Eagerly Contributes Funds to the Expansion of the Nanjing Massacre Museum) People's Web (Renmin wang), 7 Mar. 2005 at <> [10 Apr. 2005].

(17) Interviews in Shanghai (Sept. 2001); Chen Wangqi and Wen Jingyi, "Nongmin zijian liaoning yiyongjun kangri shi zezhanguan" (Rural Farmer Establishes the Liaoning Volunteer Japanese Resistance Army History Museum by Himself) Liaoshen wanbao (Liaoshen Evening News), 25 Sept. 2001: C11.

(18) He Haining, "Minjian kangzhan bowuguan fuqu shuimian" (A Private War of Resistance Museum Rises Above the Surface) Nanfang zhoumou, 14 July 2005: A6.

(19) "Jiaoyubu Yaoqiu zhongxiao xuexiao jihe kangri zhanzheng peiyu minzujingshen" (Education Ministry Requires Middle and Elementary Schools to Combine [the study of] The War of Resistance to Japan with Patriotic Education), 4 Mar. 2005 at <> [20 Apr. 2005].

(20) Japanese Prime Ministers have visited the following museums: PM Murayama, Beijing museum, 1995; PM Hashimoto, Shenyang museum, 1997; LDP Secretary- General Nonaka Hiromu, Nanjing museum, 1998; and PM Koizumi, Beijing museum, 2001.

(21) Rana Mitter, "Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Nationalism, History, and Memory in the Beijing War of Resistance Museum, 1987-1997", The China Quarterly 161 (Mar. 2000): 290.

(22) Daqing Yang, "Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing", The American Historical Review 104, no. 3 (June 1999).

(23) For one review, see Editorial Board, "Yinianlai kangri zhanzhen yanjiu shuping" (Annual Review of Studies on China's War of Resistance against Japan) Kangri zhanzheng yanjiu (Journal of Studies on China's War of Resistance Against Japan) 1, no. 39 (2001): 234-53.

(24) This pattern is also evident in oppositional networks in other Socialist countries. See Maryjane Osa, "Networks in Opposition: Linking Organizations Through Activists in the Polish People's Republic", in Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action, ed. Mario Diani and Doug McAdam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 77-104.

(25) See for example: Wang Jun and Guan Jie, Lishi weijing, kaichuang weilai (History as a Mirror, Ushering in the Future) (Dalian: Dalian Press, 2000). Also, the research centre on the Nanjing Massacre at Nanjing Normal University has undertaken a variety of public education projects and maintains an excellent website at <> [9 Apr. 2006].

(26) James Reilly, "China's History Activists and the War of Resistance against Japan: History in the Making", Asian Survey 19, no. 2 (Mar./Apr. 2004): 276-94.

(27) Interview with Su Zhiliang, Shanghai, 2001.

(28) "'Pipan riben zhengfu zuangai lishi jiaokeshu zuotanhui' xuezhi fayan" (Scholars Statements in the 'Repudiating the Japanese Government's Changes in History Textbooks' Conference) Kangri Zhanzheng yanjiu (Journal of Studies of China's War of Resistance Against Japan) 40, no. 2 (2001): 48.

(29) Ouyang Liedan, "Riben qinhua shi yu jiaokeshu xiuding wenti yantaohui zongshu" (Summary of the Conference 'The History of Japan's Invasion of China and the Issues of Textbook Revision') Kangri zhanzhen yanjiu (Journal of Studies of China's War of Resistance Against Japan) 39, no. 1 (2001): 222.

(30) The motion also called on the Hong Kong Government to expand history education and build a museum in memory of Hong Kong's defense against the Japanese invasion. Brian Bridges, "Hong Kong and Japan: Commerce, Culture, and Contention", The China Quarterly 176 (Dec. 2003): 1052-67.

(31) Wang Cong, "Renda diaobiao huhu yigao guige jinian kangzhang shenli 60 zhounian" (NPC Representative Calls for Greater Official Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of War Victory) Beijing Qingnian Bao (Beijing Youth News), 8 Mar. 2005 at <> [5 Mar. 2006].

(32) On 18 September 2004 activists displayed signs and distributed leaflets at Wangfujing, Beijing's most central shopping district, calling for September 18 to be made a national holiday. "Zhengxie weiyuan jianyi meinian Nanjing datushari juxing guojia gongji" (Consultative Committee Representative Proposes a National Day of Commemoration on the Date of the Nanjing Massacre), 10 Mar. 2005 Xinjing bao (New Beijing News): A6 at <> [28 Apr. 2005]. The sign-on campaign is available at <> [9 Apr. 2006].

(33) "Consultative Committee Representative Proposes".

(34) For instance, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs recently failed to respond to a Chinese reporter's question about these bills. "Live Broadcast of State Council Information Office Press Conference", CCTV-4, 30 Aug. 2005.

(35) Michael William Dowdle, "Constructing Citizenship: The NPC as Catalyst for Political Participation", in Changing Meanings of Citizenship in Modern China, ed. Merle Goldman and Elizabeth J. Perry (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2002), pp. 331-46.

(36) Xu Jingbo and Hu Lingyuan, Zhanhou riben de zhuyao shehui sichao yu zhongri guanxi (Leading Social Trends in Postwar Japan and China-Japan Relations) (Shanghai: Shanghai Finance University Press, 2003), pp. 128-32. See also Tian Heng, ed., Zhanhou zhongri guanxi shinian biao: 1945-1993 (Yearbook of Postwar China-Japan Relations) (Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1994).

(37) Wang Xuan, "Xijunzhan fanzui lishi nenggou yangai ma?" (Can the War Crimes of Biological Warfare Be Covered Over By History?), in Riben jiaokeshu wenti pingxi (Analysis of the Japanese Textbook Problem), ed. Zhang Haipeng and Bu Ping (Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Science Press, 2002): 304-5; Huang Junwu, "Liu Youming: Zhong ri youhao, xianyao jiejue zhanzheng yiliu wenti" (Liu Youming: For Sino-Japanese Friendship, We Must First Resolve the Problems Left Over From History) Southern Weekend, 27 Jan. 2005: A3; Nan Xianghong, "Ta ba xijunzhan zhenxiang gaosu shijie" (She Told the Truth About the Biological Warfare to the World) Nanfang Zhoumou, 12 Sept. 2002: A5.

(38) Duan Bayi, "Jiangxi Meiti Jielou qinhua rijun zai gan shiyong xijunzhan jiqi minfen" (The Jiangxi Media Reveals that Invading Japanese Armies used Biological Warfare in Jiangxi, Arousing Popular Anger), 5 Mar. 2003 at <> [19 Apr. 2005].

(39) Nan Xianghong, "Jiyi bushi weile hen" (Remembering is Not for Hatred: Person of the Year, Wang Xuan) Nanfang zhoumou, 26 Dec. 2002: A2.

(40) Quanguo shoukai "xijunzhanzhengju" wangxuan rixian (Opening of the First-ever National "Biological Warfare Documentation Department" Wang Xuan Hotline) Dalian zaobao (Dalian Morning News), 15 May 2003 at < 0302124476s.shtml> [19 Apr. 2005].

(41) "Shezhizu zhuhe qinhua junyiqi wuhuaxueqi an yuangao shensu" (Film Production Group Congratulates the Successful Lawsuit on the Removal of Chemical Weapons) at <> [20 Apr. 2005].

(42) Caroline Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations; Facing the Past, Looking into the Future? (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), p. 93.

(43) Peter O'Meara Evans, "Destruction of Abandoned Chemical Weapons in China", Bonn International Centre for Conversion, Paper 13 at <http://www.bicc.ed/publications/ papers/paper13.pdf> [3 Mar. 2006].

(44) Dong Zhiyong, "Hebei qinhua rijun weiqi dudan wajue chuli xianchang caifang ji" (The Record of a Visit to the Excavation and Disposal Site for the Japanese Invaders' Abandoned Toxic Shells in Hebei) Xinhua Net at <> [20 Apr. 2005]; Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations, p. 92.

(45) Huang Junwu, "Liu Youming: Zhong ri youhao, xianyao jiejue zhanzheng yiliu wenti" (Liu Youming: For Sino-Japanese Friendship, We Must First Resolve the Problems Left Over From History) Nanfang Zhoumou, 27 Jan. 2005: A3.

(46) Cheng Xianshu, "Shanghai sanwei yuan weianfu yi weituo lushi jinxing minjian supei" (Three Former Comfort Women from Shanghai Have Already Asked Lawyers to Start a Civil Lawsuit) Xinwen zaobao (Morning News), 19 Feb. 2001 at <> [19 Apr. 2005].

(47) The Chinese court found that according to international law, it has jurisdiction only over a suit against a natural person. It thus rejected the lawsuit. "Zhongguo minjian duiri supei de guanjian ge an" (The Crucial Case For Chinese Civil Lawsuits For Compensation From Japan) Nanfang zhoumou, 13 June 2002: A10.

(48) Su Haihe, "Jun yiliu huaxue wuqi yihai wuqiong, shouhaizhe riben da guansi shouci shengsu" (The Abandoned Chemical Weapons Leave behind an Endless Legacy of Trouble; Victims' Lawsuits in Japan Achieve Their First Victory) Beijing qingnian bao (Beijing Youth News) 30 Sept. 2003: A7.

(49) Interview at Shanghai Normal University, Sept. 2001; Christine Choy, "Making 'In the Name of the Emperor'", in Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II, ed. Margaret Stetz and Bonnie B.C. Oh (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2001), pp. 194-5.

(50) Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations, pp. 74-5.

(51) Yinan He, Overcoming Shadows, p. 323, notes 623-5.

(52) Ibid., p. 323.

(53) Top Chinese leaders initially dodged reporters' questions on this issue during the 1992 NPC meetings, after which a Foreign Ministry spokesperson finally stated that China would not oppose the lawsuits. Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations, p. 76.

(54) Xu Jingbo and Hu Lingyuan, Leading Social Trends, pp. 128-32.

(55) The Chinese Women's Federation resisted NGO pressure to raise the comfort women issue and instead simply held a "Friendship Meeting" with their official Japanese counterparts. Dongwoo Lee Hahm, "Urgent Matters: Redress for Surviving Comfort Women", in Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II, ed. Margaret Stetz and Bonnie B.C. Oh (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2001), pp. 131-6.

(56) "Riben bohui shanxi 'weianfu' supei bogong, zhongfang qianglie kangyi" (The Chinese Side Vigorously Protests the Japanese Rejection of the Shanxi "Comfort Women" Restitution Lawsuit) Zhonghua shibao (China Times), 19 June 2001 at <> [20 Apr. 2005].

(57) "Waijiaobu fayanren liujianzhao zai lixing jizhehui shang da jizhe wen" (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Liu Jianzhao Answers Reporters' Questions at Press Conference), 22 Mar. 2005 at < chn/xwfw/fyrth/t188533.htm> [15 Oct. 2005].

(58) Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations, p. 77.

(59) Yang, "History Card", p 13. Tong still played a leading role in the UN petition campaign of 2005 and is Chairman of the Chinese People's United Committee to Protect the Diaoyu Islands (Zhongguo minjian baodiao lianhe hui).

(60) Su Zhiliang, "2000 Nian dongjing nuxing guoji zhanfan fating jishi" (The Record of the 2000 Tokyo International Women's War Crimes Tribunal) Kangri zhanzheng yanjiu (Journal of Studies of China's War of Resistance Against Japan) 39, no. 1 (2001): 225-33.

(61) Nan Xianghong, "Remembering is Not for Hatred".

(62) Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations, pp. 21-31.

(63) Tan Jin, "Duiri susongtuan tuanzhang xiwang genduo de xuezhe diaocha 'siwang gongchang'" (The Group Leader of Legal Action against Japan Hopes More Scholars Will Investigate the 'Factory of Death') Cankao yu sisiang (Observing and Reflecting), 15 Dec. 2003 at <> [10 Apr. 2005].

(64) Su Zhigang, "Dubian chunyi: fouren Nanjing datusha, zhongguoren kending hui fennu" (Dubian Chunyi: Denying the Nanjing Massacre Will Certainly Outrage Chinese People) Nanfang zhoumou (27 Jan. 2005): A3.

(65) Howard W. French, "Scenes from a Nightmare: A Shrine to the Maoist Chaos", The New York Times, 29 May 2005: A3.

(66) "Riben jiaokeshu liuda huangyan" (Six Big Lies of the Japanese Textbooks) Liaowang dongfang zhoukan (Outlook Asian Weekly), 28 Mar. 2005.

(67) Norimitsu Onishi, "Tokyo Protests Anti-Japan Rallies in China", The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2005 at <> [11 Apr. 2005].

(68) "Beijingshi gonganju xinwen fayanren da jizhe wen" (Beijing Public Security Bureau Spokesperson Answers Reporters' Questions) Beijing xinwen wang (Beijing News Web), 14 Apr. 2005 at <> [23 Apr. 2005].

(69) Howard W. French, "China Allows More Protests in Shanghai Against Japan", The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2005 at < asia/17china.html> [18 Apr. 2005]; "Thousands March in Chinese Demonstrations", 16 Apr. 2005, CNN Online at < china.japan.ap/index.html> [17 Apr. 2005].

(70) "Waijiao buzhang lizhaxing yu riben waixiang macun xinli huitan" (Meeting between Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura) Xinhua Net, 18 Apr. 2005 at < shtml> [20 Apr. 2005].

(71) "Waijiaobu tan Beijing dengdi kangyi shiwei yundong: riben yinggai fansheng" (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Discusses the Protest Demonstration Movement in Beijing and Other Cities: Japan Should Engage in Self-Reflection), Renmin wang, 12 Apr. 2005 at <> [22 Apr. 2005].

(72) "Waijiao buzhang lizhaoxing zuo zhongri guanxi xingshi baogao" (Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Gives a Report on the Situation of China-Japan Relations) Xinhua Net, 19 Apr. 2005 at <> [21 Apr. 2005].

(73) Liu Jiangyong, "Xuezhe tan mangmu dizhi rihuo de sanda weihai" (Scholar Discusses the Three Great Damages from Blind Boycotts of Japanese Goods) China's Economic Web, 20 Apr. 2005 at <> [29 Apr. 2005]; Lin Yong, "Zhuanjia: zhongguo lingdaoren yiguan changdao zhongri youhao" (Expert: China's Leaders Have Always Been the Initiators of Sino-Japanese Friendship) China Net, 20 Apr. 2005 at < shtml> [25 Apr. 2005].

(74) Mark Magnier, "Letting Passions Burn May Backfire on China", Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2005 < la-fg-chinarage25apr25,0,6885042.story?coll=la-home-world> [26 Apr. 2005].

(75) "Ministry of Foreign Affairs Discusses the Protest Demonstration Movement in Beijing and Other Cities".

(76) For one description of the sign-on campaign's origins and global reach, see Peng Lewu, "1000 Wan qianming de quanliucheng" (The Complete Process of Gaining Ten Million Signatures) Nanfang zhoumou, 31 Mar. 2005 at < cn/c/2005-03-31/19286254269.shtml> [8 Mar. 2006].

(77) Zhang Liang, "Guangzhou shimin yongyue qianming fandui riben lianheguo changren lishiguo" (Guangzhou City Residents Eagerly Rush to Sign up Opposing Japan's Permanent Membership in the UN Security Council) Xinquai bao (Fast News), 29 Mar. 2005 at <> [15 Apr. 2005].

(78) Benedict Anderson, Imagining Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso Editions/NLB, 1983).

(79) Doug McAdam, "Recruitment to High Risk Activism: The Case of Freedom Summer", American Journal of Sociology 92 (1986): 64-90.

(80) This quote is from Xiao Qiang of University of California, Berkeley, quoted in Magnier, "Letting Passions Burn".

(81) "Zhongguo minjian renshi zhi annan huhuxin quanwen piluo" (Revealing the Complete Text of a Chinese Private Individual's Appeal Letter to Anan) Huanqui (The Globe), 16 Apr. 2005, p. 29.

(82) The website was "Aiguozhe tongmeng wang" (Alliance of Patriots) at <> [no longer available].

(83) James J. Pryzstup, "Not the Best of Times", Comparative Connections (Oct. 2004) at <> [17 Apr. 2005].

(84) Joseph Kahn, "Beijing Finds Anti-Japan Propaganda a 2-Edged Sword", New York Times (3 May 2005): A7.

(85) James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976). Another such weapon is the attacks on the Japanese internet emanating from China. See "Anti-Japanese Hostilities Move to the Internet", Washington Post, 4 May 2005.

(86) For an example of the spreading consumer boycott in April 2005, see Zhang Xilei, "Hangzhou maichang jujue mai richan shouji" (Hangzhou market refuses to Sell Japanese Cell Phones) Hangzhou wanbao (Hangzhou Evening News), 1 Apr. 2005 at < c/2005-04-01/0076254617.shtml> [5 Mar. 2006].

(87) Liu Jiangyong, "Scholar Discusses the Three Great Damages".

(88) Xu Wanqing, "Wu Jianmin: wangmin fandui riben ruchang ke lijie dan xu lixing" (Wu Jianmin: Netizens Opposition to Japan's Entry to UN Security Council is Understandable but Must Be Reasonable), 1 Apr. 2005 China News Web at < c/2005-04-01/17365530478s.shtml> [19 Apr. 2005].

(89) Wang Guoping, "Cong fandui ribe changren kan minjian xingwei de zuoyong" (Understanding the Role of Social Action from the Opposition to Japan's Permanent Membership in UN Security Council) Huanqiu (The Globe), 16 Apr. 2005, pp. 28-9. The use of this term is ironic, since before China and Japan had diplomatic relations, the use of nominally non-state actors to build economic ties was also referred to as "minjian waijiao". Shi Guifang, Zhanhou zhongri guanxi (Postwar Chinese-Japanese Relations) (Beijing: Dangdai Chubanshe, 2005), p. 36.

(90) "Zhongguo baozhi dui riben baodao neirong fenxi" (A Content Analysis of Chinese Newspapers' Reporting on Japan) at <> [5 Mar. 2006].

(91) For recent Chinese polls of popular sentiment toward Japan, see <> [7 Mar. 2006].

(92) Recent incidents include online protests over Japanese car advertisements in China, Japanese video games and treatment of Chinese passengers on Japanese airlines. One powerful example is the widespread wildcat strikes at exclusively Japanese factories in Dalian in November 2005. Chen Yanhui, "Dalian riqi yuangong bagong shijian diaocha" (Research on the Incident of Strikes by Workers at Japanese Firms in Dalian) Fenghuang zhoukan (Phoenix Weekly) (Dec. 2005): 28-32.

James Reilly ( is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at George Washington University. He received his MA degree in East Asian Studies from the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. His dissertation focuses on the impact of public opinion on China's Japan policy from 1978-2005.
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Date:Sep 1, 2006
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