East Asia Theater

"Tokyo Panic" to fuel nationalist backlash?

In three days, the Tokyo stock market lost almost $400 billion in value. (ABC, Jan. 20) The crash comes at a moment of converging multiple crises for the Japanese state. On Jan. 19, some 800 protesters, mostly connected to Shinto shrines, gathered in Tokyo to protest government plans to move toward allowing women to assume the imperial throne. The ruling Emperor Akihito has two sons, Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino. The elder has only one daughter, Princess Aiko, born in 2001. The younger has two daughters. (UPI, Jan. 20)

More peasant unrest in China

Yet another report of peasant protesters killed by the security forces in (nominally communist) China. Is there any national coordination to the fast-growing peasant movement? Is anyone working in the West to loan them solidarity? From the Jan. 17 New York Times:

SHANGHAI, Jan. 16 - A week of protests by villagers in China's southern industrial heartland over government land seizures exploded into violence over the weekend, as thousands of police officers brandishing automatic weapons and electric stun batons moved to suppress the demonstrations, residents of the village said Monday.

Anti-WTO protests rock Hong Kong

Glad some hearty souls are keeping the anti-globalization flame alive, even in the post-9-11 world, and even under the heavy hand of the Chinese state. From AP Dec. 17:

Police removed hundreds of protesters who staged a sit-in that shut down one of Hong Kong's busiest streets Sunday—one day after demonstrators went on a violent rampage outside the venue for the WTO meeting in Hong Kong.

China: army fires on peasant protesters

The world is paying little note, but China may have a full-scale peasant revolt on its hands soon. The hideous irony is that the American idiot left, rather than loaning solidarity to the heroic Chinese peasants, will cheer on their oppressors in the name of (a now wholly fictional) "socialism." Bush, meanwhile, will use the Beijing regime's human rights abuses against the peasants as a lever to pry further economic concessions (privatization of land and resources, dropping of trade barriers) which will only make the lot of the peasantry even worse, disenfranchising them of what little autonomy and self-sufficiency they have left. From AFP via al-Jazeera, Dec. 7:

Bush betrays Tiananmen martyrs —but not Microsoft

The front-page synopsis below the headline of the New York Times's coverage of Bush's Nov. 20 meeting with President Hu Jintao in Beijing said it all:

Hu Jintao Cedes Nothing on Political Freedoms —Will Act on Trade

Economic "liberalization" without lifting the dictatorship an inch. Contrary to the lingering illusions of the idiot left, the model for the current Chinese regime appears not to be Mao but Pinochet. Bush, for his part, dumbed down the whole notion of human rights by reducing them to one item on a laundry list of concerns, somewhere just below the "intellectual property rights" of US compact-disk manufacturers:

Chinese peasants defend lands, village democracy

The Epoch Times, an international publication run by Chinese exiles harshly opposed to the People's Republic government, ran a synopsis Oct. 15 of its ongoing coverage of the rural conflict in Taishi, a village in Guangdong now occupied by police following protests against municipal corruption. This story says much about current political dynamics in the People's Republic of China, but it is slightly ironic that Epoch Times insists on casting it in anti-Communist rhetoric. The facts make abundantly clear that China's current rulers are now Communist in name only—the underlying conflict here concerns the privatization of village agricultural lands for the garish real-estate developments of the burgeoning nouveau riche elite.

Sinophobes fear cult of Zheng He

The New York Times today notes the growing cult of Zheng He in China, the 15th-century mariner who led gigantic fleets across the Pacific and Indian oceans in the Ming Dynasty's brief but impressive expansion of naval prowess. Statues are going up of the eunuch admiral (who happened to be a Muslim—a fact presumably not emphasized by China's rulers), and a group of young Kenyans who claim Chinese ancestry due to an apocryphal Ming-era shipwreck on the East African coast have been invited to Beijing for ceremonies. The Times is quick to point out the obvious contemporary political context for this new personality cult:

More militant anti-pollution protests in China

Another factory forced to halt operation by heroic Chinese peasants protecting their lands from the industrial onslaught. We question how "violent" it is to tear down a security fence. In contrast, the security forces' response to the rising tide of peasant protest seems to be quite genuinely violent. From AP, July 19:

Violent protest by Chinese farmers forces shutdown of chemical plant
SHANGHAI, China – Farmers angered by toxic factory discharge they blame for destroying crops have attacked a pharmaceutical plant in eastern China, officials said Tuesday, the latest rural clash sparked corruption, pollution and other problems.

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