The Nanking Massacre Anniversary and the CCP’s Politics of History

Since 1949, the Chinese government’s interpretation of the history of World War II seems to be continuously changing in order to adapt to local circumstances and contemporary political needs. If it’s diplomatically useful for them to pardon Japanese war criminals as part of a warming trend (as they did in 1956), they will do so, but if it is useful both internationally and domestically to … Continue reading The Nanking Massacre Anniversary and the CCP’s Politics of History

New Koguryo Research in Pyongyang, or, How to Revive a Historical Dispute on China’s National Day

It doesn’t take much skill at reading tea-leaves in Chinese or English to recognize that Kim Jong-un’s letter of congratulations to Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Zhang Dejiang on the PRC’s National Day fell far short of what, from a Chinese perspective, it should have been. Kim’s three brief sentences were newsworthy because he was ostensibly bed-ridden, but also because they indicated a lack of … Continue reading New Koguryo Research in Pyongyang, or, How to Revive a Historical Dispute on China’s National Day

15 Questions re: Jeff Kingston’s Japan Focus Essay (2008) Regarding the Nanking Massacre

Dr. Jeff Kingston is a historian of contemporary Japan who occupies a number of important positions at Temple University’s Japan campus. In 2008, he published the following essay on the subject of memorials and Nanking Massacre controversy; this essay is the focus of the questions that follow: Jeff Kingston, “Nanjing’s Massacre Memorial: Renovating War Memory in Nanjing and Tokyo,” Japan Focus, August 22, 2008 <http://japanfocus.org/-Jeff-Kingston/2859&gt;. In 2010, … Continue reading 15 Questions re: Jeff Kingston’s Japan Focus Essay (2008) Regarding the Nanking Massacre

Anti-Japanese Protests in Beijing, and the History of Diaoyu Protests

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 … Continue reading Anti-Japanese Protests in Beijing, and the History of Diaoyu Protests

Back to the 1950s? Weibo and the Patriotic Journalist

  Back to the 1950s? Weibo and the Patriotic Journalist by Adam Cathcart, with Franz Bleeker Had Chinese journalists been equipped with Weibo feeds in the early 1950s, what might they have said?  Like the slashing calligraphy of a big-character poster, a Weibo post has every potential at its disposal: It can commemorate injustices visited upon the dead, threaten violence upon the state’s presumed enemies, … Continue reading Back to the 1950s? Weibo and the Patriotic Journalist

Documenting Claims of China’s “Charm Diplomacy”

A recent essay on Chinese “soft power” written not by a US-trained academic, but from within China, provides a chance to find fissures between how and why China is using Western concepts of cultural power on the global stage.  (See Yang Danzhi, “Charm Diplomacy Bears Fruit,” China Daily, April 9, 2012). The tendency is to read the China Daily as merely a state-controlled paper whose … Continue reading Documenting Claims of China’s “Charm Diplomacy”

Huntsman in Global Times Terrain, and Republican Foreign Policy

Mainly for the hell of it, I recently spent $4 (about 26 RMB) on a big red “Jon Huntsman for President 2012” bumper sticker.  It arrived in my mailbox, and I promptly stuck it on my South Korean automobile, which I park in the guts of an old Japanese bathhouse in Seattle’s Chinatown and mainly drive up and down the I-5.  I’m an American, and … Continue reading Huntsman in Global Times Terrain, and Republican Foreign Policy

Rethinking “China’s Peaceful Rise”

Although I occasionally mourn my inability to be in two places at once — as Sichuan and Tibet come immediately to mind — the benefits of being in the Puget Sound region in the autumn, I now recall, are multiple, as these perks include the ability to spend time talking with, and hearing from, Sidney Rittenberg. A new film project, “The Revolutionary” — a preliminary … Continue reading Rethinking “China’s Peaceful Rise”

Report from the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, Sichuan (Die Zeit)

Last year I made two trips to the Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Sichuan, the PRC’s only private collection of museums and facilities which are completely ground-breaking in their somewhat individualistic take on curating and historical interpretation in general.  The museum cluster, owned and very much directed by the entrepreneur Fan Jianchuan, includes a museum of the Cultural Revolution, among other things. An excellent overview of … Continue reading Report from the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, Sichuan (Die Zeit)

Commemorating National Humiliation in China

Today is September 18, 1931, at least in China, where the 80th anniversary of the incident which unleashed the Japanese Imperial Army to break off the entire northeast from the Republic of China and, a few months later, proclaim it an independent garrison state named “Manchukuo” which was justified on rhetoric of ethnic harmony and propogation of the yen bloc. It’s usually a sign that … Continue reading Commemorating National Humiliation in China