Right now , China is undergoing the most heated anti-Japanese sentiments in decades. Various simmering issues and resentments have come to boil over the rocky , uninhabited , uninviting , islands called Senkaku (in Japanese) and Diaoyu ( in Chinese) .
These guys are causing protests , egg throwing , rock throwing , Toyota smashing , Nikon destroying , convenient store closing , and hot noodle attacking.
Let’s take a look at the physical location.
Well , it’s very close to clusters of other islands that Japan owns , and it’s closer to Taiwan than mainland China. What’s the argument all about?
It’s a simple one very short word answer. It fuels many of the world’s problems as well as most of our vehicles.
Ahhh, oil. Of course!
As far back as we can trace in history the islands were ruled by the Ryukyu kingdom (14th century). This kingdom was its own political entity but had a special relationship with the Chinese and was a tributary of the Ming Dynasty. Vietnam was also once a tributary kingdom of China but no one is arguing that now. In the 17th century the kingdom found itself in sort of a dual subordination to the Chinese and Japanese. The kingdom was dissolved in 1875 and Japan annexed the entire kingdom in 1879 ( Senkaku islands being a part of the kingdom). A private Japanese family straight out purchased the island in 1930. History passed pretty quietly until 1968 rolls by and oil is discovered. Let the fighting begin. China previously had no contention on the islands until this key point in time. Mainland China made its first claim of sovereignty in 1971 but until the 2000s thing were pretty calm. In the last decade there have been some protests and activist movements which have slowly built up tensions until July of 2012 when these events : 4 July, Coastguard vessels from Taiwan and Japan collided in waters near a disputed island chain Wednesday, as the Taiwanese vessel was escorting activists to the area.
On 7 July, the Japanese Prime Minister stated that these islands are an integral part of his country and the Government is considering their purchase from the Japanese owner.
Three Chinese patrol vessels entered the disputed waters around these islands on 11 July 2012. On 15 July 2012, Japan recalled their ambassador to China to work on the response to the transgression. In late July, Japanese officials have raised alarms regarding increased Chinese military expansion. (from Wikipedia) , dramatically increased the tensions between the two countries.
The situation in China is going insane right now.
Around August 12 or 13th in an attempt to ease tensions, Japan outright purchased the islands back from the private Japanese (JAPANESE ) owner. This sparked the current rage currently ongoing.
There is government sponsored protests (let the people rage against other countries but not their own shitty government) , smashing of Japanese things , attacks against Japanese , and a bunch of other ignorant and embarrassing things causing Family Mart ( Japanese own the majority of stock) family mart to fly Chinese flags , the search engine Baidu to support the CCP , and Zhonghua toothpaste to declare the islands to be part of China.
It will be interesting to see how things develop , and I’m drinking a Japanese KIRIN beer while using my SONY PS3 . Japan, you rule. China , sometimes I wonder why I came here.
Check these Shanghaiist links for some awesome coverage