Between the acts
Posted by ampontan on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
And that was that? No anti-Japan protests reported thus far in Beijing or other Chinese cities.
– Mark MacKinnon for the Globe and Mail of Canada.
We can’t oppose the forced destruction of a house that we bought with our life savings, but we have to defend with our lives an island that we’ll never go to? Unbelievable!
– On Weibo, the Chinese Twitter
OF course that was that. The latest act in the mad Chinese opera is over, but there’s more to come.
Of course this has all been theater, albeit destructive theater that could become very dangerous. Try this from an article about a Chinese general telling the troops to get ready for combat:
A classified Chinese government map from 1969 that was obtained by Japan’s government shows Beijing had labeled the islands as “Senkaku,” their Japanese name, and thus confirmed their control by Tokyo. The map, which was viewed by the Free Beacon, also had a dividing line south of the islands showing that they fall within Japanese territory.
There are more unclassified maps where that one came from, both in China and in Taiwan. That the Senkaku islets issue is a Made-in-China manufactured crisis should be apparent to even the casual observer. But too often the casual observer accepts the facile and superficial explanation that the demonstrations/riots/looting in China have been an expression of “anti-Japanese” hatred. That hatred exists, and it arose naturally, but it has been easily mass produced for distribution well past its sell-by date.
What remains has been the result of conditioning — or brainwashing, if you like — on a large scale, for a larger purpose on a larger stage. The players have been conditioned to remember and respond in anger to events they would have to be at least 80 years old or older to really remember, which were committed by guilty parties who died long ago. The anger is a useful tool for those doing the conditioning. They understand it will be accepted because the subjects always crave emotional excitement. That excitement is packaged with a grand cause, making it all the more emotionally satisfying.
You really don’t think the Chinese public is well-informed, do you? Japanese Tweeter Hiro, who is bilingual in Chinese, discovered they know nothing about the Japanese constitution:
“I sent a message on Weibo that surprised everyone. They asked: Japan can’t start a war? That’s right. The government-controlled media is inciting everyone to believe there is a revival of Japanese militarism.”
Yesterday’s demonstrations were large, but well-behaved compared to those of the weekend. This screen shot from Japan’s ANN television shows why.
Now think of that x 125 cities. It must have been expensive and time-consuming to coordinate and implement, but it’s something only security and military forces attached to the national government are capable of doing.
Protestors broke 10 windows at the Shenyang consulate, which any red-blooded boy would have enjoyed, especially because it was officially approved. Police prevented the demonstrators from throwing bricks and rocks at the Beijing embassy, so they threw softer objects, such as PET bottles, tomatoes, and potatoes instead.
The protests began bright and early at the embassy in Beijing at 7:00 a.m. with about 100 people and grew to more than 5,000 by 10. The armed police made sure no one stepped out of line. There were three separate demonstrations in Shanghai, with 10,000 people in the aggregate. Two thousand people gathered in Guangdong and shouted “Patriotism is no crime!”
That’s almost Pavlovian.
The protestors sought the last refuge of the scoundrel to reject the branding they are beginning to receive by the Chinese public as criminals. Many people in China were fed up with the destruction, especially when it became apparent that patriotism had little to do with it.
In addition to the attacks on South Korean establishments that we’ve already seen, mobs destroyed a vehicle used by the Italian consulate in Guangzhou, Hong Kong-owned Watson’s drug stores, and McDonald’s outlets. (But not those of KFC. The latter company has a better reputation in China because they were the first to develop menus for the local palate, according to the story. There were reports in previous demonstrations of McDonald’s stores being trashed, while KFC outlets next door were untouched.)
Of course they got around to The Great Satan. Who doesn’t?
The banner at left calls for the killing of all Japanese below Prime Minister Noda. Fifty protestors also surrounded the offical car of US ambassador Gary Locke on Tuesday, causing minor damage.
The bottom line of this upside down sign says, “Opposed to Japan, Opposed to the US, Opposed to High Prices.”
You could watch this video from the weekend and wonder whether it would be more suitable for study by behavioral psychologists or myrmecologists.
Many reports suggested there was a collegiate carnival atmosphere. Anyone who’s ever been to a demonstration knows they’re largely social events and a great way to meet girls. And guys just want to have fun:
The first line at the top of his chest says he likes Japanese porn stars. Perhaps he’s auditioning. But another line says that he likes the Diaoyutai better. He’s also got “Grandfather Mao, the Japanese Army has come again!”, and on his right leg, “War or peace?”, with the “or” written in English.
But public dissatisfaction with the larger course of events began to make itself felt. From Weibo:
“They take iron bars to those who attack the government, but fly swatters to those who attack Japanese corporations.”
“From the authorities’ point of view, attacking Japanese companies is patriotic, but opposing the government is criminal.”
There were also concerns that recent events might cause more trouble for China’s international image than it would for Japan. Average citizens got on the Net and started calling for people to stay away from the protests. The state-run media stopped covering them, once they’d served their purpose. People are more interested now in discovering who organized them.
They know the demonstrations were organized in advance, and they’ve developed a composite portrait of the people those were most actively involved: Males in their 20s with close cropped hair, speaking regional dialects, who are disciplined, ruthless, brainless, and arrived in groups simultaneously on buses. That suggests either the military or the armed police.
They saw the banners with slogans that were shorthand references calling for the return of the now disgraced Bo Xilai, an ally of former President Jiang Zemin, and a man some called the next Mao. They also saw all the Mao posters.
The fingers point as well to the other conservatives, including Zhou Yongkang, the head of all the security services and a Politburo Standing Committee member; Jiang ally Li Changchung, who oversees propaganda, media, and cultural affairs; and Mao Xinyu, the grandson of the Great Helmsman himself. He’s a historian who majored in his grandfather at school, but made a mid-life career switch:
“Apparently, he wanted more, and was promoted in June 2009 the youngest General of the People’s Liberation Army (Chinese Army). Notwithstanding having no military experience, and not exactly having the physical condition of a war hero; he is unable to express himself and write correctly and is an object of mockery for many Chinese.”
Here’s General Mao:
What is it with these East Asian Reds who think the tubby grandsons of revolutionary leaders make plausible generals?
In short, this has been a patriot game played at the home stadium using the Japanese as the ball. The organizers’ idea seems to have been to create a greater wave of patriotism throughout the nation, which would give the conservatives (the Jiang faction) a chance to recover their status.
Some in China think they might have overplayed their hand by bringing back memories of the Cultural Revolution and presenting the country in a bad light overseas. This, they think (hope) will encourage reformers.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has stopped by the neighborhood, and he visited China yesterday after paying a call on Japan. He met his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, who declared:
“The responsibility for inciting the disturbances is entirely with Japan.”
He also said the US-Japan Security Treaty was not applicable in this situation.
Over at the Foreign Ministry, spokesman Hong Lei warned that “China has the right to take steps” if anyone from Japan lands on the Senkakus because it was an infringement of their territory. He was speaking after two more Japanese cruised there over the weekend to go ashore. They were picked up by the Coast Guard because it’s now government property.
We might see what steps the Chinese have in mind before long. Former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is running for LDP president again, which means he could come back for a second term if he wins and the Democratic Party government suffers their expected trouncing in the next election. He wants to station personnel on the islets.
He was told an unidentified VIP Diet member from the DPJ claimed that would mean war with China. He responded:
“Considering the bilateral economic relationship, I do not think putting people there will cause the Chinese military to act.”
He added that a greater Japanese presence was necessary because:
“China has positioned the Senkakus as their core national interest. In other words, that means they’ll come to get them.”
Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru, the head of the Japan Restoration Party and the cynosure of domestic politics, thinks that should have been done already:
“We should have stationed police offers there after the Hong Kong activists landed. It was extremely inept not to have done so.”
It won’t be long before the curtain rises on the next act in this Chinese opera. This is now the intermission.
If any image captures on multiple levels the Chinese vibe at one stroke, it’s this screen shot of the Baidu search engine page yesterday. Baidu has a roughly 80% share of the Chinese-language search engine market.
All you have to do is look.
It’s back to the normal Google ripoff today.
UPDATE: There’a report in today’s Sankei Shimbun that they have confirmed from several “Chinese sources” that soon-to-be President Xi Jinling was behind the new hardline attitude toward Japan. Current President Hu Jintao was willing to accept the Japanese government purchase on the condition that the islets would not be developed, but that changed with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Takeshima. UPDATE: Reuters is now reporting that Mr. Xi has called Japan’s purchase of the islands “a farce”.
The attitude of Chinese leadership, they say, changed to “Why should we be the only ones taking a soft approach to Japan?” Mr. Hu thought a boycott of Japanese goods would not be productive, but Mr. Xi does.
Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications says it was the object of six cyber attacks from the 15th to the 19th with offshore computers uploading massive amounts of data to disrupt their operation. 95% of the offshore computers were in China.
China Digital Times makes an excellent point that I too should do well to heed:
Weibo user: “Get onto Weibo you think China is not far from democracy. Go onto the streets you realize the Cultural Revolution is not over.”
Neither is class warfare.
Still think they just have it in for Japan?
Microsoft has published evidence of an extraordinary conspiracy in which potent botnet malware was apparently installed and hidden on PCs during their manufacture in China.
In ‘Operation B70’ started in August 2011, Microsoft documents how its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) bought 20 brand new laptops and desktop PCs from various cities in China, finding that four were infected with pre-installed backdoor malware, including one with a known rootkit called ‘Nitol’.
Tracing Nitol’s activity back to an extensive network of global command and control (C&C) servers, the team discovered that the malware that has infected PCs to build a larger bot, most probably used to launch DDoS attacks.
Once in situ, Nitol would spread beyond the PCs on which it had been pre-installed by copying itself to USB and other removable drives.
Disturbingly, other malware hosted on the main domain used as C&C by Nitol was capable of performing just about every nasty in the malware criminal’s armoury, including keylogging, controlling webcams, and changing search settings.