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The Political Discussion Thread

#1
Hello,
We were thinking about how we could handle political discussions. The main problem with them is that they quickly get out of hand, or derail the topic, so let's start with the latter.

This thread is dedicated to political debates. You may start any topic you wish regarding politics on the thread, you can argue for as long as you'd like, and it will be slightly less moderated since it's clear from the get go that it will go out of hand. When a political debate is started on another thread, you're kindly asked to continue it here. If you don't like political debates... then just avoid this particular topic, please Big Grin

Rules are:
1. Do not personally insult other users.
2. This should be needless to say, but no hate speech.
3. If you see that a debate has long died (say, the last post about it older than 5 pages or a few months), don't rebut it; if you must, you can re-start the argument, but continuing a dead discussion would be confusing.
4. Please try to not turn the debate into a flame war.
5. Argue, argument and present/defend an opinion, don't just bash the others.


(If you think some new rules are needed or have any suggestions, feel free to do so!)
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#2
In a friendly community language learning forum such as this, does the existence of political debates help promote positive cohesion among members, exercising our minds with intellectual pursuits and further solidify our all-inclusive camaraderie based on the basic foundation of our universal desire of learning the Japanese language?

Or does the existence of political debates instead create an air of negativity almost leading to bad feelings, anti-social behavior, segregation, ad hominems and closed threads, a barely clinging community close to being put asunder were it not for our basic foundation of our universal desire of learning the Japanese language?

Discuss.
Edited: 2013-11-21, 11:21 am
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#3
People are going to get political anyway so there might as well be one big place to send them over and have their arguments, knowing full well that it's a no man's land and it's bound to get intense, imho.
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#4
qwertyytrewq Wrote:In a friendly community language learning forum such as this, does the existence of political debates help promote positive cohesion among members, exercising our minds with intellectual pursuits and further solidify our all-inclusive camaraderie based on the basic foundation of our universal desire of learning the Japanese language?

Or does the existence of political debates instead create an air of negativity almost leading to bad feelings, anti-social behavior, segregation, ad hominems and closed threads, a barely clinging community close to being put asunder were it not for our basic foundation of our universal desire of learning the Japanese language?

Discuss.
If they are related to Japan and its politics, then, yes, they're helpful for learning Japanese. Of course, I'm assuming we take learning Japanese to consist of not only learning the vocabulary and grammar, but also the culture and history of Japan as well.

For example, the debates we've had about Japan's geopolitics (i.e. island disputes with China, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia) and censorship of Japanese atrocities during WWII have helped me understand common themes in Japanese public opinion compared to public opinion elsewhere. Having such knowledge has helped me (and hopefully others) know how to appropriately use language to discuss these topics, and so I think political discussions should not be censored.
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#5
I was on Reddit and there's some random news involving Japan. Eventually and inevitably, commenters demanded that Japan apologize. Then other commenters start posting this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war...d_by_Japan Then the original commenters claim that the apologies listed weren't sincere. Then it just goes to shit from there. And it happens multiple times.

There is a question that never gets answered though: Exactly what sort of apology from Japan would be sufficient to satisfy China/Korea (it's mostly them demanding apologies). Yes, I know they want "heartfelt" and "sincere" apologies but in practice, what would this look like and how does it differ from the apologies already given (see Wikipedia link)? There's theory and there's practice. I understand the theory, but I have trouble envisioning the practice.
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#6
china and korea use the war crimes issue to gain political leverage for their contemporary quarrels against japan. it has nothing to do with japanese politicians praying at yasukuni jinja.
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#7
qwertyytrewq Wrote:I was on Reddit and there's some random news involving Japan. Eventually and inevitably, commenters demanded that Japan apologize. Then other commenters start posting this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war...d_by_Japan Then the original commenters claim that the apologies listed weren't sincere. Then it just goes to shit from there. And it happens multiple times.

There is a question that never gets answered though: Exactly what sort of apology from Japan would be sufficient to satisfy China/Korea (it's mostly them demanding apologies). Yes, I know they want "heartfelt" and "sincere" apologies but in practice, what would this look like and how does it differ from the apologies already given (see Wikipedia link)? There's theory and there's practice. I understand the theory, but I have trouble envisioning the practice.
Almost every thread that pops up on Reddit about Japan is very negative. People don't have a very good mainstream view of Japan anymore. Posts are usually making fun of so and so about Japan's culture or being racist.
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#8
What does everyone think about Japan's secret protection law? (Japanese link [the English and Japanese articles aren't the same])

Can't say I'm a fan of it. Does anyone know of any arguments in favor of the law?
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#9
qwertyytrewq Wrote:There is a question that never gets answered though: Exactly what sort of apology from Japan would be sufficient to satisfy China/Korea (it's mostly them demanding apologies). Yes, I know they want "heartfelt" and "sincere" apologies but in practice, what would this look like and how does it differ from the apologies already given (see Wikipedia link)? There's theory and there's practice. I understand the theory, but I have trouble envisioning the practice.
It's not that difficult. First, the ashes of the war criminals need to be removed from the Yasukuni Shrine. Then the Emporer of Japan needs to issue a formal apology. That will take care of the government's part.

I did check out the Wiki link and find this:

「今世紀の一時期において、両国の間に不幸な過去が存したことは誠に遺憾であり、再び繰り返されてはならないと思います。」
「我が国によってもたらされたこの不幸な時期に、貴国の人々が味わわれた苦しみを思い、私は痛惜の念を禁じえません。」

"Regret", "unfortunate", "grief". It doesn't sound like an apology exactly. And the emperors didn't say anything about the war between China and Japan.

The Japanese PM is the one who, 3 times per year, decides if he is going to the shrine or not. He is the one who can use it as an leverage. Chinese and S.Korean governments can only react to his action. Is there any reason that he must go there?
Edited: 2013-12-19, 8:02 pm
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#10
The Chinese government has killed far more Chinese since WW2, than the Japanese during. So their demands for an apology are hardly something anyone should take seriously.

tiantian Wrote:The Japanese PM is the one who, 3 times per year, decides if he is going to the shrine or not. He is the one who can use it as an leverage. Chinese and S.Korean governments can only react to his action. Is there any reason that he must go there?
I don't know about the Japanese PM, but for me, being told that I mustn't do something by someone who's business doesn't include dictating my actions, is often reason enough to do that very thing. Just to send a clear message about what is who's business.

What the Japanese PM visits in his country is his business, and what Korea and China's leaders visit in theirs is their business. That should be a nice, clear boundary no one needs to cross.
Edited: 2013-12-19, 9:23 pm
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#11
tiantian Wrote:
qwertyytrewq Wrote:There is a question that never gets answered though: Exactly what sort of apology from Japan would be sufficient to satisfy China/Korea (it's mostly them demanding apologies). Yes, I know they want "heartfelt" and "sincere" apologies but in practice, what would this look like and how does it differ from the apologies already given (see Wikipedia link)? There's theory and there's practice. I understand the theory, but I have trouble envisioning the practice.
It's not that difficult. First, the ashes of the war criminals need to be removed from the Yasukuni Shrine. Then the Emporer of Japan needs to issue a formal apology. That will take care of the government's part.

I did check out the Wiki link and find this:

「今世紀の一時期において、両国の間に不幸な過去が存したことは誠に遺憾であり、再び繰り返されてはならないと思います。」
「我が国によってもたらされたこの不幸な時期に、貴国の人々が味わわれた苦しみを思い、私は痛惜の念を禁じえません。」

"Regret", "unfortunate", "grief". It doesn't sound like an apology exactly. And the emperors didn't say anything about the war between China and Japan.

The Japanese PM is the one who, 3 times per year, decides if he is going to the shrine or not. He is the one who can use it as an leverage. Chinese and S.Korean governments can only react to his action. Is there any reason that he must go there?
But how is the Japanese PM visiting Yasukuni Shrine any different to the Queen of England visiting Westminster Cathedral on Poppy Day, the day when past British imperialist aggression is openly celebrated.
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#12
tiantian Wrote:Is there any reason that he must go there?
yasukuni jinja is where all the war dead are commemorated... not just people that are considered by some to be war criminals. hell Abe's family's ashes might verily be housed in that shrine.
I'm not a big fan of japanese uyoku, but as part of the shinto religion honoring one's family in this way is not dissimilar from a catholic going to church on sunday. Abe says himself, it is only natural to go to this shrine and pay respects one's ancestors who gave their lives fighting on behalf of the country.

that has to take place at this particular shrine. I'll admit it's rather unhelpful how it's been taken over by the right-wingers... especially the 'history' museum on the premises.
Edited: 2013-12-20, 12:09 am
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#13
qwertyytrewq Wrote:I was on Reddit and there's some random news involving Japan. Eventually and inevitably, commenters demanded that Japan apologize. Then other commenters start posting this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war...d_by_Japan Then the original commenters claim that the apologies listed weren't sincere. Then it just goes to shit from there. And it happens multiple times.

There is a question that never gets answered though: Exactly what sort of apology from Japan would be sufficient to satisfy China/Korea (it's mostly them demanding apologies). Yes, I know they want "heartfelt" and "sincere" apologies but in practice, what would this look like and how does it differ from the apologies already given (see Wikipedia link)? There's theory and there's practice. I understand the theory, but I have trouble envisioning the practice.
I have worked with Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Indonesian activists alongside survivors of Japan's wartime military sexual slavery, calling on Japan to apologize directly to the survivors. One of the main arguments we hear is that this has already been done.

But has it really? I think the issue of sincerity is pretty clear cut. If the current prime minister of Japan sits personally in a room filled with survivors and apologizes directly to them, admitting Japan's official involvement and committing to addressing the outstanding concerns/traumas of survivors; AND NO SUBSEQUENT PRIME MINISTER THEN CLAIMS NONE OF IT HAPPENED, then we might approach sincerity.

The reality is, many of the claimed apologies occurred not in front of survivors themselves, but in front of world leaders at various summits (indeed, apparently one time George W Bush mentioned to a Japanese PM that America was concerned about the issue and that Japan should apologize, to which the PM at the time turned to George W Bush and apologized! <--- i don't have a source for this, but it's an anecdote I've heard a few times). Also, even if one PM apologizes sincerely and directly to survivors; if the next prime minister comes along (e.g. Shinzo Abe, 2007) and outright denies the existence of the Japanese military's rape centers, then it is completely understandable that the survivors of sexual slavery would no longer be satisfied with the original apology.

As for other apologies, many apologies to, e.g. Korea, didn't even mention "comfort women", so it's also important to remember there were different parties victimized in different ways and many different groups that demand recognition and reparation for their suffering, and for whom sincerity may be measured differently.

Finally, the sexual slavery system was not specific to Korea. It occurred in Korea, China, Taiwan, JAPAN, the Dutch East Indies, etc. It's more of a violence against women issue than a national issue (in my personal opinion, but of course survivors themselves make consider it differently, given that for them the two may be more interconnected), and so an apology just between nation states might be perceived as just doing a tokenistic political gesture, rather than genuinely addressing the issue of wartime rape enslavement of girls and women.
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#14
raharney Wrote:But how is the Japanese PM visiting Yasukuni Shrine any different to the Queen of England visiting Westminster Cathedral on Poppy Day, the day when past British imperialist aggression is openly celebrated.
Maybe a better comparison would be Adolf Hitler being buried and enshrined in some national cementery and Ms. Angela Merkel paying tribute to it every year with 100+ members of the government.
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#15
dtcamero Wrote:
tiantian Wrote:Is there any reason that he must go there?
yasukuni jinja is where all the war dead are commemorated... not just people that are considered by some to be war criminals. hell Abe's family's ashes might verily be housed in that shrine.
I'm not a big fan of japanese uyoku, but as part of the shinto religion honoring one's family in this way is not dissimilar from a catholic going to church on sunday. Abe says himself, it is only natural to go to this shrine and pay respects one's ancestors who gave their lives fighting on behalf of the country.

that has to take place at this particular shrine. I'll admit it's rather unhelpful how it's been taken over by the right-wingers... especially the 'history' museum on the premises.
Actually I see nothing wrong with people honoring their ancestors. We Chinese do it every year in Qingming Festival and it is quite understandable. Historically it was not an issue and there was no bitterness until the ashes of the 14(?) convicted war criminals were moved in there and enshrined.

And i don't think that only Chinese or SKorean hold this attitude. Just two month ago, the German Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke died in Rome. Vatican even issued a ban on holding his funeral in any Catholic church in Rome. Then, his church funeral in Albano Laziale was called off because of local protesting. Argentina and Germany had declined transferring his body.

That's why I think it will instantly help if the ashes of the convicted war criminals be moved out.
Edited: 2013-12-20, 2:19 am
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#16
ashman63 Wrote:
qwertyytrewq Wrote:I was on Reddit and there's some random news involving Japan. Eventually and inevitably, commenters demanded that Japan apologize. Then other commenters start posting this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war...d_by_Japan Then the original commenters claim that the apologies listed weren't sincere. Then it just goes to shit from there. And it happens multiple times.

There is a question that never gets answered though: Exactly what sort of apology from Japan would be sufficient to satisfy China/Korea (it's mostly them demanding apologies). Yes, I know they want "heartfelt" and "sincere" apologies but in practice, what would this look like and how does it differ from the apologies already given (see Wikipedia link)? There's theory and there's practice. I understand the theory, but I have trouble envisioning the practice.
I have worked with Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Indonesian activists alongside survivors of Japan's wartime military sexual slavery, calling on Japan to apologize directly to the survivors. One of the main arguments we hear is that this has already been done.

But has it really? I think the issue of sincerity is pretty clear cut. If the current prime minister of Japan sits personally in a room filled with survivors and apologizes directly to them, admitting Japan's official involvement and committing to addressing the outstanding concerns/traumas of survivors; AND NO SUBSEQUENT PRIME MINISTER THEN CLAIMS NONE OF IT HAPPENED, then we might approach sincerity.

The reality is, many of the claimed apologies occurred not in front of survivors themselves, but in front of world leaders at various summits (indeed, apparently one time George W Bush mentioned to a Japanese PM that America was concerned about the issue and that Japan should apologize, to which the PM at the time turned to George W Bush and apologized! <--- i don't have a source for this, but it's an anecdote I've heard a few times). Also, even if one PM apologizes sincerely and directly to survivors; if the next prime minister comes along (e.g. Shinzo Abe, 2007) and outright denies the existence of the Japanese military's rape centers, then it is completely understandable that the survivors of sexual slavery would no longer be satisfied with the original apology.

As for other apologies, many apologies to, e.g. Korea, didn't even mention "comfort women", so it's also important to remember there were different parties victimized in different ways and many different groups that demand recognition and reparation for their suffering, and for whom sincerity may be measured differently.

Finally, the sexual slavery system was not specific to Korea. It occurred in Korea, China, Taiwan, JAPAN, the Dutch East Indies, etc. It's more of a violence against women issue than a national issue (in my personal opinion, but of course survivors themselves make consider it differently, given that for them the two may be more interconnected), and so an apology just between nation states might be perceived as just doing a tokenistic political gesture, rather than genuinely addressing the issue of wartime rape enslavement of girls and women.
the end of your post really gets to the matter. war crimes occured among all nations involved and japanese rape centers could be compared to the systematic leveling of every civilian population center in japan by the U.S...

The U.S. hasn't once apologized for the wonton slaughter of tens of millions of women and children (a crime arguable worse than the rape of tens of thousands). The difference being that we didn't lose the war. We're also not tussling with china and korea over some islands' fossil fuel $$$.

Japan is still in a post-treaty of versaille germany-ish situation with regards to their war legacy. They should stop apologizing because it does no good and simply encourages bad behavior from korea and particularly china.
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#17
dtcamero Wrote:They should stop apologizing because it does no good and simply encourages bad behavior from korea and particularly china.
Simply put, the victimizer realized that an apology to the victim won't do anyone any good, so there is no point doing that. It's actually quite convenient.

Life goes on with or without an apology. So it's ok. I personally don't think it affects China that much.
Edited: 2013-12-20, 2:41 am
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#18
everybody has played victim and victimizer at one point or another. arbitrarily putting a dunce cap on one party at a time when you stand to benefit financially is an insult to the real victims of these wars.
Edited: 2013-12-20, 3:03 am
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#19
dtcamero Wrote:china and korea use the war crimes issue to gain political leverage for their contemporary quarrels against japan.
If that is true, then what incentive does Japan have to apologize ("sincerely")?

If that is true, then this is a pot (China) calling the kettle (Japan) black situation. They want a sincere apology from Japan. That's reasonable. But their request for apology is not sincere. China might very well want to close old wounds of the past (debatable) by getting Japan to apologize, but this apparently is overshadowed by the fact that they have political (and therefore economic) reasons for asking for an apology.

If I was Japan, I would be happy to apologize if it helps people get over the past. But I wouldn't do it if the person being apologized to gets political or economic benefits.

And another thing: If Japan apologizes sincerely and Chinese people forgive Japan, then this puts the Chinese Government in a tough spot. Like America and the Middle East, every country needs a foreign enemy to distract the populace with. If Chinese people stop giving attention to Japan, then logically, this means they will be giving more attention to the Chinese Government, which is not good (from the powerful elite's point of view).

Politics sucks, doesn't it?

tiantian Wrote:Chinese and S.Korean governments can only react to his action. Is there any reason that he must go there?
I don't think this avenue of argument is helpful or productive. It's simply a case of "he started it!" "no he started it!" which to me is childish. Which country out of the 3 will be the first to grow up, put his foot down and says "it ends here."?

Stansfield123 Wrote:I don't know about the Japanese PM, but for me, being told that I mustn't do something by someone who's business doesn't include dictating my actions, is often reason enough to do that very thing. Just to send a clear message about what is who's business.

What the Japanese PM visits in his country is his business, and what Korea and China's leaders visit in theirs is their business. That should be a nice, clear boundary no one needs to cross.
Putting the shoe on the other foot, if the Japanese PM told Koreans or Chinese people to do or not do things in their own country, for sure their first reply would be "F You! Foreigners can't tell me what to do in my own country!"
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#20
vileru Wrote:What does everyone think about Japan's secret protection law? (Japanese link [the English and Japanese articles aren't the same])

Can't say I'm a fan of it. Does anyone know of any arguments in favor of the law?
This got passed over, but one of the arguements for "why" the government had to pass the law was due to Snowden. In recent light of the leaks that have taken place in the US government (not just Snowden) there has been a push to make sure intelligence is more secure. Basically, if countries want to get intelligence information from the US, then countries need to have strong laws against data leaking/whistle blowing, otherwise the US wouldn't feel comfortable sharing sensitive information. This is the main argument I've heard in favor of the law.

The main issue has simply been, why the hell was there the section on Nuclear energy being a national secret? To me this has been the biggest glaring issue with the law. It makes no sense why this was included in the secrecy bill. My own theory has been that the government wants to make sure they can cover up some current scandal taking place at Fukushima right now, or cover up any future operation (such as waste disposal or on-site accidents) that would make the country look back. I harped on my Facebook about this with a Japanese friend. The whole thing sounds like 1980's corporate cronyism that was rampant with construction companies and government officials.

Theo other possibility is that Japan wants to hide any indication that they are developing a nuclear weapon.
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#21
tiantian Wrote:
raharney Wrote:But how is the Japanese PM visiting Yasukuni Shrine any different to the Queen of England visiting Westminster Cathedral on Poppy Day, the day when past British imperialist aggression is openly celebrated.
Maybe a better comparison would be Adolf Hitler being buried and enshrined in some national cementery and Ms. Angela Merkel paying tribute to it every year with 100+ members of the government.
Why would that be a "better" comparison.
I've a feeling they don't teach the true history of the British Empire in high-school history textbooks in your country.
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#22
tiantian Wrote:Simply put, the victimizer realized
Actually, I'm pretty confident 安倍晋三 never raped anyone. But, if you know otherwise, please enlighten us on how he's a "victimizer" who must apologize to his victims.

Same goes for 明仁.
Edited: 2013-12-20, 9:21 pm
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#23
vix86 Wrote:This got passed over, but one of the arguements for "why" the government had to pass the law was due to Snowden. In recent light of the leaks that have taken place in the US government (not just Snowden) there has been a push to make sure intelligence is more secure. Basically, if countries want to get intelligence information from the US, then countries need to have strong laws against data leaking/whistle blowing, otherwise the US wouldn't feel comfortable sharing sensitive information. This is the main argument I've heard in favor of the law.

The main issue has simply been, why the hell was there the section on Nuclear energy being a national secret? To me this has been the biggest glaring issue with the law. It makes no sense why this was included in the secrecy bill. My own theory has been that the government wants to make sure they can cover up some current scandal taking place at Fukushima right now, or cover up any future operation (such as waste disposal or on-site accidents) that would make the country look back. I harped on my Facebook about this with a Japanese friend. The whole thing sounds like 1980's corporate cronyism that was rampant with construction companies and government officials.

Theo other possibility is that Japan wants to hide any indication that they are developing a nuclear weapon.
I doubt Japan is considering developing nukes (while the current administration is slightly more concerned with military readiness, they're nowhere near at the level of a government that would take such a drastic measure). They just want to keep some details about nuclear power plants a secret to guard against terrorism. (or your theory is true, that's certainly possible too)
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#24
raharney Wrote:
tiantian Wrote:
raharney Wrote:But how is the Japanese PM visiting Yasukuni Shrine any different to the Queen of England visiting Westminster Cathedral on Poppy Day, the day when past British imperialist aggression is openly celebrated.
Maybe a better comparison would be Adolf Hitler being buried and enshrined in some national cementery and Ms. Angela Merkel paying tribute to it every year with 100+ members of the government.
Why would that be a "better" comparison.
I've a feeling they don't teach the true history of the British Empire in high-school history textbooks in your country.
You can argue otherwise but that's how we Chinese make the comparison. Maybe because the referred crime of Germany and Japan occured in the same war at the same period of time, which is about 90+ years after the opium war.

And how could we possibly forget the Opium War, which marked the start of our modern history full of humiliation and helplessness. I still remembered how much stress i felt when we were taught about the history of this period when everything went wrong for China. In fact, there is this monument in the Tiananmen Square with a series of sculptures depicting that episode of our history. But with the return of Hongkong, and most importantly, without new issue arising, the old bitterness mellowed down over time. Time heals if and only if you allow it.
Edited: 2013-12-20, 9:38 pm
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#25
tiantian Wrote:
raharney Wrote:
tiantian Wrote:Maybe a better comparison would be Adolf Hitler being buried and enshrined in some national cementery and Ms. Angela Merkel paying tribute to it every year with 100+ members of the government.
Why would that be a "better" comparison.
I've a feeling they don't teach the true history of the British Empire in high-school history textbooks in your country.
You can argue otherwise but that's how we Chinese make the comparison. Maybe because the referred crime of Germany and Japan occured in the same war at the same period of time, which is about 90+ years after the opium war.

And how could we possibly forget the Opium War, which marked the start of our modern history full of humiliation and helplessness. I still remembered how much stress i felt when we were taught about the history of this period when everything went wrong for China. In fact, there is this monument in the Tiananmen Square with a series of sculptures depicting that episode of our history. But with the return of Hongkong, and most importantly, without new issue arising, the old bitterness mellowed down over time. Time heals if and only if you allow it.
Yes, and let's hope the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indians, and Tibetans too get over their unpleasant experiences of past Chinese aggression less than 50 years ago. (China backed the Pol Pot regime to the hilt, remember.)
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