Tuesday, April 26, 2005

SOMETHING ABOUT CHINA AND JAPAN

CYBER AGE BY ND BATRA From The Statesman

After selling its ThinkPad to a Chinese company, Lenovo Group Ltd, IBM has begun to admonish us about the inevitability of China’s rise and the need to harness its strength for corporate America. A recent full-page ad crowed, “The future is a dragon. Do you hear it coming?” Along with its recently acquired ability to channel the power of the dragon, IBM boasts of access to a global pool of Nobel laureates, research labs and no less than 3,000 scientists, engineers and technologists.

Instead of paying the salaries of scientists and technologists to solve complex problems, the ad asked, wouldn’t it be great simply “to rent their minds”? Since “outsourcing” has become rather a sordid word in American political lexicon, renting brainpower from other countries for doing specific jobs sounds more acceptable. But this is only one view of China, that is: help develop its intellectual and manufacturing power but control it through deals like Lenovo and other co-dependent corporate relationship. Will that keep the dragon tamed? Of course, Japanese, too, hear the dragon coming out of its lair but they would rather have a different future than a dragon on their doorstep. For several weeks, Chinese government permitted (read: encouraged) loud, ugly and sometime violent protests against Japan in several big industrial cities including Shanghai and Hong Kong, regarding Japanese insensitivities to their bruised feelings.

Whatever happened? The Chinese claim that their feelings have been hurt because some recently approved Japanese school textbooks show no remorse about the atrocities the Japanese troops had committed against them during World war II; Japan began to explore undersea oil and gas deposits in a disputed region of East China Sea; and of course Japan’s strategic alliance with the USA regarding the Taiwan issue. When Japan asked for an apology and compensation for vandalism and damage to its diplomatic and commercial property, China said it has nothing to apologise about.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said, “The problem now is that the Japanese government has done a series of things that have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people….” Before the street protests, the Chinese government had allowed an online petition drive by millions of Chinese against Japan’s effort to seek permanent membership of the UN Security Council. That was an unprecedented online phenomenon. From time to time, Japanese governments have apologised for the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 and inhuman treatment of Chinese during the occupation of China during World War II. But Japan cannot be expected to live on shame and guilt forever over what another generation had done, what happened six decades ago, and at the same time continue pouring billions of dollars in investment and cheap loans that have helped build Chinese economy.

There is hardly any country that could lay an uncontested claim to a spotless historical past, least of all China. Chinese school textbooks do not admit that it committed a surreptitious attack against India in 1962 and invaded Vietnam in 1979; nor its blatant destruction of Tibetan culture during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. The fact is that every society tries to sanitise history to some extent but the advantage of living in a democratic open society is that eventually the truth comes out. At least the German and Japanese youth know what their countrymen had done to others during World War II. The Chinese youth would never know the truth about Tibet and Tienanmen Square, for example, so long the Communist Party maintains its sole grip over power. Just as the Chinese authorities pressed an emotional button to arouse the Chinese to come out and protest against Japan, with the same alacrity they ordered protesters to pipe down. In spite of its quick march to market capitalism that has generated more than nine per cent growth over the last two decades, China continues to be a command and control society.

The Communist Party is capable of generating controlled mass hysteria through nationalism and uses it as a negotiating tool for diplomatic goals. In a recent international conference of Asian-African leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia, Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeated the apology for his nation’s past militarism that “caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly those of Asian nations.”

But the latest apology is not surrender, not of its national interests especially its strategic relations with the USA and its commitment to prevent China from using force against Taiwan, even if China withdraws its opposition to Japan becoming a Security Council member. Would India give up anything for a permanent seat in the Security Council?

China might have overplayed its hand this time. China and Japan need each other. Their economies have become interdependent. Japan has replaced the USA as China’s biggest trading partner. Just as corporate America views China as a partner, corporate Japan too believes that “the future is a dragon” and hears it coming. Chinese businesses also know that confrontation against Japan is counterproductive. This is another aspect of globalisation, when a country’s multinational corporations’ search for labour, markets and capital and its national political interests are likely to intersect and clash. And there lies the hope of compromise and peaceful solution to international disputes, when business interests trump politics.

3 comments:

  1. [b]This guy simply need do more research on this issue before opening his mouth.[/b]

    Japanese school textbooks show no remorse about the atrocities the Japanese troops had committed against them during World war II????

    [b]No, they just denied it. [/b]

    Japan began to explore undersea oil and gas deposits in a disputed region of East China Sea???

    [b]No, Chinese are doing this on its own region. Japanese says it's too close to the disputed area.[/b]

    From time to time, Japanese governments have apologised for the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 and inhuman treatment of Chinese during the occupation of China during World War II.

    [b] Japanesegov has never written anything to apologise to China. They just speak in one way but act in the other way.

    You need open your eyes, NOT ONLY chinese BUT ALSO other Asian counties have the strong feeling against Japan.

    So, don't speak on the history you don't know[/b]

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