Chinese to Japan: Be more like Germany (but not the Nazis)

 
A protester in Hong Kong holds up a sign with photos of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and World War II Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. Chinese critics think Japan hasn't let go of its imperialist past

The war of words between Japan and China seems to have deteriorated into an international trolling match, what with the level of name-calling and Voldemort-referencing by diplomats on both sides.

The latest bit of over-the-top instigation by the Chinese media compares Japan unfavourably to postwar Germany. Such sentiments have been expressed recently by Chinese officials in print and public statements, but the Chinese papers seem eager to join the fray.

"[Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo] Abe wants to rewrite history to whitewash the atrocities Japan committed on the people in neighbouring countries, especially China, during World War Two, and accord pride of place to war criminals in the country's pantheon," writes Cai Hong in the state-run China Daily.

In contrast, Germany is still on the lookout for Nazi war criminals. In fact, on 8 January, an 88-year-old man in Dortmund was charged with the murder of 25 people, and for aiding and abetting the killings of several hundred residents of Oradour-sur-Glane village in central France in 1944. Germany was an ally of Japan during World War II, but the two countries couldn't be more different today.

Start Quote

The West should cast most of its wariness about China onto Japan instead”

End Quote Editorial Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times)

China needs to encourage Germany to step in and set Japan straight, according to Ou Wen in Huanqiu Shibao.

"As a third party whose standpoint is relatively detached from the conflict between China and Japan, Germany could teach Japan by example on historical issues," he writes. "China should make use of high-level mutual visits, government consultations and other mechanisms between China and Germany to proactively promote China's stance."

Of course, China also has come up when talk turns to Germany - although the comparison is with the pre-World War One rule of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This rankles the editors of Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times).

"World War One was triggered by a handful of colonial powers which lived in international anarchy and went crazy grabbing land," they write. "But now the world is protected by a set of systems that guarantee free trade and peaceful competition between world powers. China is also involved, observing the rules set by the West. It is committed to self-development by means of a win-win strategy."

Sadly, note the editors, Japan is the real pre-war Germany parallel that the West should be worried about:

Japan today under Abe is similar to pre-World War Two Germany - they are both dissatisfied with the postwar system and are eager to break it and become 'normal countries'; both have fanned nationalist sentiment within their countries to maintain support ratings; and both have strong industrial and technological foundations. Those in the Western media who have compared China to pre-World War One Germany - a growing power uneasy with the current world order - have unfounded fears. The West should cast most of its wariness about China onto Japan instead.

It's the "I know they are, but what am I?" defence, it seems.

So, to summarise: Japan should be more like Germany. But not pre-war Germany. They're already like that. And that's scary.

I wonder how Germans feel about all this.

(From reports provided by BBC Monitoring)

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    Let's hope at this point that China's actions today will not force Japan to build its own nuclear arsenals.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 25.

    Here is my opinion and analysis on the reason for the difference between Germany and Japan in post WWII: Japan does not have the Christian tradition of repentance. Neither China.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 24.

    Japan should admit the role it played in WWII and not glorify such

    The visit to the shrine was a big mistake and attitudes hopefully one day will change

    At the same time, the reason why Japan is building up its military is because China is building up theirs including increasing nuclear weapons

    China is also claiming the whole sea around it

    So to me Japan is practicing self defense

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 23.

    These comments by the Chinese show how distorted their views are compared to the rest of the world. It would be humorous were it not for the fact that a distorted perspective of the world around them could result in a dangerous situation given China's powerful military. By the way, has China ever apologized to its own populace for slaughtering 20 - 30 million of its citizens during Mao's reign?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 22.

    There's some truth to the Chinese allegations regarding Japan but China conveniently overlooks it's own role in fostering tensions among its neighbors when it claims huge tracts of ocean as its sovereign territory without regard for the internationally accepted law of the sea. Neither side is blameless and both are catering to their own nationalist agendas.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 21.

    This could be the most elaborate and unbelievably embarrassing example of Godwin's Law I'll ever see in my entire life.

    And the saddest part is China looks worse than Japan ever could for it. Leave this crap to internet forums.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    All nations should honor their war dead Young soldiers sent to war by military industrialists to fight and die for their nation. Those who should be castigated are the leaders who sent them to fight in unjust wars. The soldiers were fed propaganda and led by elders that they trusted to know the facts of the situation. The internet can now help us create worldwide transparency of truth stop wars.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 17.

    Comparing modern day Japan to Nazi Germany might be among the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 16.

    Can't believe so many comments tried to diverge from the main point of the article and try to focus on China. Current China's economy and military raising may cause some concerns, but it doesn't change the fact that Japan is trying to hide the past and refuse to educate its young generations. "China" in this article can be easily replaced with "South Korea". GO ON! let's complain about Korean.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    @lordBanners If China was so free and lovely then my VPN wouldn't be getting cut off, nor would comments that question what China is doing wouldn't be deleted in China and this wouldn't be blocked.
    Don't mention the War. China has decided that it was committed by those alive today. Do Chinese expect reparations 70 years on? The only child syndrome is hitting the country hard.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 14.

    Yes, Japan wants to forget the its atrocities and regain full national sovereignty but that is where the similarities with pre-WW2 Germany end. China is the country which restricts information, makes undesirables disappear, is rapidly expanding its armed forces, oppresses faiths which do not compliment its government, and exercises total control over all institutions. This article is naive.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    Over the last few decades, Japan spent far less than it could on defense; the notion of sending unarmed JDF troops on a compassionate mission to Cambodia (1992) had caused fierce debate in favour of an ultra-strict pacifist interpretation
    PRC pursues a divide & conquer strategy in the S.China Sea, insisting on bilateral over collective negotiations - where bullying tactics were less effective

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    cymroynyrusa Are you quoting Patton from before, or after, the Allies overran and liberated Nazi extermination camps?
    Are you aware of any heretofore undisclosed resources available to MacArthur, whom all credible military analysts conclude had severely lacked the manpower, materiel, and logistical capability, to pursue the campaign of your fantasy?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 11.

    People need to comprehend that our propaganda is meant to deceive us. China is not half as bad as we're led to believe. I have a Jamaican friend who travel to China regularly, and he has nothing but praise for the manner he is treated in China in comparison to N America or Europe where he is a natural suspect on sight. Over there he is just another Foreign Businessperson.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 10.

    Well, Japan does have the Uyoku dantai- right wing groups with their black vans broadcasting outside foreign companies. They shout out messages, telling westerners to leave the country and always made me feel it was as if post-war Germany had been allowed to retain the SA Brownshirts. Most Japanese ignore them and pretend not to notice them out of embarrassment.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    It was precisely China's lack of external Ambitions which saw it brutally Colonised by Japan, and occupied by US, Europe & Australia specifically for purpose of selling Opium at street level to raise Foreign Exchange. Chinese still have Japanese signs "No Chinese or Dogs Allowed" in Chinese parks.
    Caribbean History has it all catalogued in detail.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 8.

    Japan has TOTALLY been committed to Pacifism since WWII. The ONLY reason for the recent rise of nationalism is attributed to China's expanding military and the rising fear that USA may abandon Japan in face of war between Japan and China because of China's growing economic importance to the USA. It's like Japan has no other choice. Is it so difficult for journalists to point out this fact?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 7.

    Gen George S Patton had the right idea when he said that the Allies shouldn't have been fighting the Nazis, but fighting the Soviets. He saw the next fifty years of Cold War politics clearly. Likewise, Gen Douglas MacArthur could and should have pushed his way through to Pyongyang and then all the way to Beijing, and then the world would not be in its current mess with both North Korea and China.

 

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