Sunday, September 16, 2012

A QQ Conversation on the China-Japan Island Dispute

A friend in China forwarded me the following on-line conversation between two ordinary Chinese nationals (names hidden) – there's some frightening, if unintended, irony here.
[In translation]
A: 21:20:30 上午看到很多骑车的举着国旗去浦西日本领事馆游行。
This morning I saw many people riding bicycles and carrying national flags to protest at Japan's Shanghai consulate.

B: 21:20:35 不会打起来吧?
Hope there won't be a war.

A: 21:21 我认为主权问题也只有通过战争解决。
I think sovereignty issues probably can only be solved through war.

B: 21:22 打起来有什么好,还是老百姓吃苦。
What's good about war? It only makes ordinary people suffer.

A: 21:23 打也最多也是局部战争,都不会打双方的本土。
Such a war would be local at most; neither side would attack the other's mainland.

B: 21:24 有美国政府在后面给日本人撑腰,中国是不敢随便动手的。
With the US government backing the Japanese, China wouldn't dare such a rash fight.

A: 21:25 中国政府最无能了。
The Chinese government is weak.

A: 21:27 昨天电影院发短信给我,说今天从早到晚都是抗战题材影片,免费观看。
Yesterday a theater texted me that they will be screening "War of Resistance against Japan" [note: 1937-1945] movies, from morning to evening, all free today.

A: 21:28 上海有一牛人,把自己家的一台本田雅阁车给烧了。
A bold man in Shanghai burned his own [Japanese-made] Honda Accord car.

B: 21:30:16 那听说是辆烂车 本来就要换的
I heard that was a broken car, needing replacement anyway.

A: 21:31:11 照片上看还是很新的
Looks still new on photos.

B: 21:32 人家吞侵你国家财产还不够,你还亲自烧自己的私人财产?真够蠢的。如果你不满一个国家就拒绝用那个国家生产的商品,那中国人只好回到唐朝去了。
It's not enough for others to invade your country's land; you have to burn your own private property?  That's very stupid.  If you boycott the merchandise of each country you resent, then we Chinese have to retreat to the Tang Dynasty.

A: 21:33:52 上海日本领事馆发通告,告诉在沪日本侨民,没事不要出门,不要去人多的地方。
Shanghai's Japan Consulate issued a warning to Japanese residents in Shanghai, telling them to stay at home if possible, and not to go anywhere crowded.

A: 21:38:49 上海好多日本车后面都贴了标语“钓鱼岛是中国的固有领土。”我今天看到两辆。
In Shanghai many Japanese-made cars have bumper stickers, "Diaoyu Islands are China's inherent territory."  I saw two today.

Once again I recommend reading Evan Osnos's recent comment in his New Yorker blog. In a piece about two weeks ago titled "A Diplomatic Incident in China: A Close Call," Osnos wrote, "When the day comes—and I fully expect it will—some of the world’s great powers will discover that their fragile and carefully managed relationships now rest, more than ever, in the hands of the public." Unfortunately, he speaks a chilling truth.