On Protests on the Other Side of the World…
..and by this I don’t mean the Arab ones in the Middle East.
Rather, I’m going to take a moment today to look at the string of protests/riots going on in China.
In short: The purchase of the Senkaku Islands from private hands by the Japanese national government to head off their purchase by our insane nationalist governor of Tokyo (don’t look at me, I’ve never voted for him) has backfired, leading to widespread unrest and anti-Japanese demonstrations in China.
C. Custer at China Geeks has done a bang-up job looking at the protests from the perspective of how the Chinese state is likely sponsoring (or at least tacitly allowing) these protests. Meanwhile in Japan the reaction ranges from the usual suspects trying to stir up nationalist sentiment (not working all that well) to simple puzzlement on what the Chinese are so riled up about.
In the end these issues are best handled by bloggers and journalists who are closer to the ground….
For the moment this’ll be a mini-post where I lay out a few minor propositions.
1. This is a predictable escalation of the dispute which started back in 2010. It’s also a rather predictable extension of the nationalist riots/protests which took place in 2005. That it’s happening in a power transition year along with a slowing economy isn’t very surprising, either.
2. China increasingly seems to be taking “Crowd-sourced” means of taking hard power actions disguised as civil unrest. This means using protesters to scare the bejeezus out of consular staff and foreign businessmen, independent “nationalist” hackers to attack foreign computer networks, and sending “fishermen” flotillas to essentially invade disputed sea/island chains. I’m curious to see whether or not they’re capable of reining this in.
3. Expect more of this and against broader targets (such as the US) as China faces more problems in its domestic economy and the pains of transitioning from export led growth to domestic consumption…that is to say, this is just the beginning.
Edit: Made this a front page post by request.