Mizutani Naoko and Xinjiang Updates / 水谷尚子和新疆消息

As was described on this blog on Sunday, Japanese scholar Mizutani Naoko was barred from entering China on Feb. 27 on account of Chinese apprehension toward her activities in support of Xinjiang’s exiled Rebiya Khadeer.

Today, Deutsche Welle’s Chinese service interviewed the scholar [rough translation by Adam Cathcart]:

水谷尚子表示,中国作为一个国家有权决定允许谁入境,因此她并不对此表示抗议。但她认为,中国方面拒绝她入境的人并不了解她的观点,她是一位温和派的学 者。她说:”他们可能根本不了解我这个人是什么样思想的人,这让我非常遗憾。我是温和派的人。日本有一些新纳粹,为了打击中国,利用维吾尔人、西藏人,也 有这样的。日本这些新纳粹,非常极端的右翼,甚至是黑社会,这样的人他们都可以进入中国,随便入境。那么,我为什么受到这样特别的对待?”  Mizutani Naoko stated that [she] regarded China as a country which has the right to determine who crosses its borders,  therefore she judged it incorrect to express resistance [to the immigration officials].  But she believes that the Chinese side/person who refused her entry into China did not understand her perspective, she being a moderate type of scholar.  She said: “It’s possible that they basically did not understand what kind of ideology this person [e.g., Mizutani] held, and this makes me very regretful.  I am a very moderate person.  Japan has a few neo-Nazis who want to hit China using Uighurs and Tibetan people; these kind of [Japanese] people also exist.  These few neo-Nazis in Japan, especially the extreme right wing, along with the Yakuza, these people are all allowed to enter China’s borders.  So if this is the case, why should they make such a special treatment for me?” 

Well, probably because Yakuza don’t publish books about Rebiya Khadeer.

Looking at the publicity (as opposed to the full bibliographical citation) for Mizutani’s 2007 book on Uighur exiles, it becomes clear that the text was reasonably successful in Japan, being offered as an affordable paperback which promised, in the words of the press release, to expose Xinjiang as “血も凍る拷問と虐殺。核実験場にされるウイグル自治区。中国の人権弾圧のおそろしい実態を、亡命者群像が生々しく証言し告発する,” or, roughly rendered (and with apologies for my unidiomatic Japanese), “A place of blood-curdling torture and slaughter, the nuclear test site which is the Uighur autonomous area, China’s site of of fearful oppression of human rights: Exiles testify to the actual conditions.”

Now, China should have praised her 2006 book on “Japan hands” in China, particularly as that year was witnessing a renaissance in historical scholarship which put China and Japan on better footing (such as the commemoration of the 1946 Huludao boatlift of Japanese settlers and refugees from Manchuria back to Japan).  But then again, maybe Chinese Japan-watchers were upset by her 2005 retort to China’s immense anti-Japanese upsurge of that same year: entitled “Exposing the Warped ‘Patriotism’ of Anti-Japanese Sentiment in China.”   Now it would appear the odds of her ever writing anything favorable again towards the CCP would be substantially diminished.  But then again, those buried scholars didn’t seem to have much to say to Qin Shihuang back in 209 B.C., at least according to (castrated) court historian Sima Qian.  In other words, I wonder (along with Far Eastern Economic Review, h/t to JustRecently) if much has changed about the historical profession in China when even (or especially!) foreign scholars need to kowtow to the dominant narrative.

Fortunately for the CCP, it appears unlikely that any criticism about Mizutani’s case will be coming from Washington, D.C., as this morning brings shouts of great joy: another Uighur “terrorist” has been evaporated by a million-dollar cruise missile from an unmanned aerial drone over Pakistan. AlJezeera reports on it here (along with a good report on the ongoing struggles and restored text messaging in Urumqi), but it’s the prominent placement of this story in the Huanqiu Shibao, just the day after the Mizutani fiasco, that interests me.

The Huanqiu headline reads 美导弹炸死“疆独”头目 “东突”再受重创, or, “American Missile Kills Leading Ringleader of ‘Xinjiang Independence’: Predator Drone Again Inflicts Heavy Losses.”

via Huanqiu Shibao

The story then gets into a pretty long list of what the target of this assault was responsible for: so counter-terrorist parties can now begin in both Beijing and Washington, D.C., I suppose.

It’s a pretty fresh and somewhat sensitive story, but in the last 15 minutes one comment came in on the BBS for this story, stating: 美兄给二会送礼来了, or “The American brother has given the Second Plenary Session of the People’s Congress a nice gift.”

Speaking of which: there’s a mean photo gallery of the very serious paramilitary security operations in Beijing in preparation for a big party gathering.

For a long and worthy expose on “the drone surge” in Central and South Asia, this essay by Nick Turse (via TomDispatch) is worth a read, and, for that matter, a translation into Chinese.

But in the meantime, I suppose it’s time for us all, Mizutani Naoko included, to recall that our nations (that is, the United States and China) are at war with a shadowy force that necessitates hardening of national boundaries, body scans, full-time surveillance of blogs (and cell-phone communications, and publications), and that this surveillance is done with our safety (and ultimately, our dignity) in mind.  It is precisely because we are educated that we are obligated to serve the greater societal good by sitting down and shutting up because after all, bureaucrats who wear badges are far more qualified than we to decide what is right, and who goes where, and what the just and tolerant society looks like.  Don’t you agree?

via Huanqiu

Acknowledgments: In composing this post, the Twitter feeds of Henryk Szadziewski (manager of Uighur Human Rights Project in D.C.) as well as Kaikaji (Japanese China-watcher) were very helpful, and, as usual, work by JustRecently (specifically this post) added fuel to the intellectual fires.  I should also add that Chuck Kraus’ Foreign Devil blog has carried a number of stunning posts (like this one) describing the deep history of the CCP takeover of Xinjiang with emphasis on the period 1949-1952.

13 thoughts on “Mizutani Naoko and Xinjiang Updates / 水谷尚子和新疆消息

  1. Adam,

    I don’t think justrecently’s fear is justified, that “much has changed about the historical profession in China when even (or especially!) foreign scholars need to kowtow to the dominant narrative”. The way I see it, Mizutani didn’t get denied from entering China because of her books or her views (which in my opinion are not without problems. But again, that’s exactly why the infamous Deutsche Welle is so interested in her), she seriously ruffled the CCP’s feathers and got herself on their radar by allowing herself to be associated with Kadeer, and we all know how paranoid the CCP can be when it comes to RK and the DL, which is totally unnecessary and stupid. I bet if you go ahead and write a book highly critical of the CCP you will still be allowed to visit China.

    If I were Mizutani I would formally apply for a visa from the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo and kick the ball back to China’s court.

  2. I’m almost sure that she will get an entry permission next time. That said, China Daily doesn’t mention her contacts with Rebiya Kadeer coincidentally, spontaneously, or merely for the information of the readers.

    And of course, she shouldn’t let the incident influence her research. I don’t believe it will either way.

  3. I basically agree with Juchechosunmanse (Manchurian-Korean ?) on the points that the denial of Mazutami’s visa is not because of her critical writings, but because of her subjects on the Uyghurs. Many American experts who work on the Uyghurs and Xinjiang have also been denied visa for the same reason……

    1. Yang Bixin,

      Thanks much for the comment. And I think that Juchechosunmanse’s name is variation on a Korean transliteration of 朝鲜万岁… Thanks for the visit to this blog, hope to see you back here again sometime in the future!

  4. Wow, they certainly seem to take the “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” mentality to heart. The speed at which they have something happy in the paper after a less than P.R. positive incident takes place makes me wonder if they have some pre-set system in the media specifically for this type of thing.

  5. All I have to say this is interesting about Xinjiang. Is Xinjiang a place that no one should talk about or they get banned from China.

    1. OK to talk about, it’s just _how_ people talk about it….discussion of Xinjiang independence would be a no-no if one supported a separate Xinjiang republic, for instance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s