Geopolitics

UPDATE: As Violent Anti-Japan Protests Spread Across China, 1,000 Fishing Boats Headed To Disputed Islands

NHK, KYODO, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, THE DAILY YOMIURI (Japan), CHINA DAILY, XINHUA (China), THE STANDARD (Hong Kong), THE GLOBE AND MAIL (Canada)

Worldcrunch

Around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats are expected to arrive in waters near the Senkaku Islands claimed by China later Monday, reports Kyodo news, in what may be Beijing's additional countermeasures over Japan's nationalization of the islets.

UPDATE1: 1,000 Chinese boats to arrive in waters near Senkakus: report bit.ly/PrhVcW

— Kyodo News English (@KyodoNewsENG) September 17, 2012

According to Kyodo, the 1,000 boats, which come from coastal provinces such as Zhejiang and Fujian may be joined by six Chinese surveillance ships that have been staying in nearby waters since intruding into Japanese territorial waters near the islands Friday.

If a large number of Chinese vessels intrude into Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, says Kyodo, it could trigger unexpected incidents such as clashes with Japan Coast Guard patrol ships, further escalating tensions between the two countries.

Chinese demonstrators rallied in front of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing for the seventh straight day on Monday, reports the NHK.

Chinese protests grew Sunday against Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, with rallies counted in at least 85 cities and spotty reports of continuing violence and property damage.

Aside from Beijing and Shanghai, the rallies spread to other major cities. The NHK reported rallies drew over 10,000 people in Guangzhou, where thousands of demonstrators, some holding flags and pictures of Chairman Mao Zedong, stormed the Japanese Consulate General compound, attacked a nearby sushi restaurant and destroyed Japanese-made vehicles parked on the street.

The Communist Party is believed to have been encouraging the protests with inflammatory media coverage of the islands dispute and laissez-faire policing that cleared a route for the demonstrators and allowed them to bring in boxes of eggs and other projectiles, reports Canada's Globe and Mail. “It’s all staged. Only the Japanese could help us to have such a demonstration,” dissident artist Ai Weiwei told The Globe and Mail while wandering past Sunday’s protest in Beijing. “We haven’t had such street protests for decades. The Japanese are helping us get back our rights.”

In Shenzhen, said Kyodo, about 10,000 people clashed with riot police as they forced their way toward a department store. Police fired tear gas at the crowd, which chanted slogans such as “patriotism is not a crime.”

Many Japanese companies have suspended operations in China for a few days following reports of damage to production lines of Japanese manufacturers and expectations of further anti-Japan protests, said the Asahi Shimbun.

Japanese electronics maker Canon decided to shut down its three main plants in China. The Japanese School in Beijing, which has about 640 students, has also cancelled classes for the next few days.

Panasonic also suspended operations in China after two attacks on its factories during anti-Japan protests, reports Hong Kong’s Standard. The newspaper says the violent protests could cause more damage to Japanese carmakers operating in China than last year’s earthquake and tsunami. Many Japanese car dealers have shut after outlets were attacked and vandalized over the weekend.

Anti-Japanese protestors set fire to Panasonic factory and Toyota dealership in #China bloom.bg/OxGN6c

— Akiko Fujita (@AkikoFujita) September 16, 2012

In Shanghai, which has the largest community of Japanese nationals in the country, says the Daily Yomiuri, many Japan-affiliated companies near the Japanese Consulate General told employees not to work overtime and go home early.

The Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Saturday issued a warning to Japanese residents in China, which specified the following:

-- Avoid the vicinity of the Japanese Embassy because it is a target of anti-Japan demonstrations.

-- Avoid going out alone at night and refrain from speaking loudly in Japanese, even during the day.

-- Avoid entering taxis alone.

#US embassy issued warning to Americans in Beijing: protests over China & Japan dispute could turn violent.

— Anonymous (@AnonNCarolina2) September 15, 2012

In Shanghai, most of the Japanese-style restaurants, laundries and supermarkets in the foreigner-populated downtown area have been closed since Saturday, when the protests started, and some have covered their signs that have Japanese characters with plastic sheeting, reports the China Daily.

The state-owned newspaper published an editorial entitled “Japan will reap what it sows,” saying that China is no longer the weak country it was when Japan invaded its Asian neighbors during the previous century, and that it reserves all rights to take whatever action necessary to defend its sovereignty on this issue.

Coincidently, the 81st anniversary of northeast China’s invasion by Japan is September 18, writes Xinhua, who says the brutal invasion plunged China into an unprecedented disaster, in which half of its territory was engulfed in war and 35 million soldiers and civilians were killed. Today, the Chinese people cannot reverse time, says Xinhua, but they feel responsible for preventing history from repeating itself.

When China and Japan signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, they resolved to settle all their disputes by peaceful means, said the China Daily. Yet with its continual provocations, Japan seems intent on initiating a clash between the two countries.

Since the Japanese government started implementing its "nationalization" plan for the Diaoyu Islands, wrote the state-owned newspaper, it has closed the door on a diplomatic resolution to the dispute.

"China has stressed time and time again that it will never back down on issues of sovereignty.

We hope that these words will be heeded and the Japanese government opens the door to permit a peaceful resolution."

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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