Three suitably breathless Global Times articles and photo galleries are linked below, but for a sane appraisal of at least part of what is going on, I recommend MIT professor M. Taylor Fravel’s September 15 article. Respectively, the articles below deal with the protests in Beijing, Ferraris at the protests in Beijing, and the newly-publicized “40-year social movement” to protect Diaoyu/Senkakus with liberal borrowing from Taiwan’s archives. Unfortunately, none of this seems to get at what happened in San Francisco in 1951 and what the PRC said about the issue then, but then again, that is what Cold War historians of East Asia (like myself) are supposed to do.
I love how every photo in the first link references “Japan’s so-called “control.” Making a territorial claim is one thing, but even if your claim is a good and legitimate one, challenging effective control particularly through force, does not put you on the right side of international law/norms.
Thanks for the insight, Corey. Your own take on the matter is much more extensive and well-thought out than my own: http://sigma1.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/senkaku-shoto-2012-round-2/
I do agree with your analysis in that piece (as with the longer NYT piece on Xi’s reappearance) that there is absolutely certaily a linkage between Politburo goings-on and the allowance — indeed, the outright encouragement — of these protests. Of course that sort of thing is about impossible to measure, so we’re left wondering about things like what these incidents do to China’s claims of moral legitimacy and “soft power” in East Asia. My view on the latter question (and I think my colleague Just Recently would agree with me) is that the whole PRC “soft power” apparatus is there more or less as a shield, not as a proactive measure, so little is lost in these circumstances anyway, if that makes sense. As long as folks at home believe we are influential in more than military ways abroad, that’s all that counts.
Actually I am right now preparing tomorrow’s lecture on Chinese “soft power” and I have become somewhat more half-hearted about the concept as applied to China over the last few days, funnily enough!
That said, there are editorialists who care about comprehensive strength, including – but not limited to – China’s image.