Legacy of gunboat diplomacy
The western reporters could only quip that the Chines furore over the Diaoyutai Incident is about face saving. These are the only two words that they knew over the centuries of reporting about China. Other vocabularies include Chinese are inscrutable, good housekeepers, good cook for chop suey and laundrymen. The arrest of the Chinese fishing boat captain by the Japanese in the disputed Diaoyutai Island harks back to the days of Unequal Treaties. The island was wrestled from China at the Treaty of Shimonoseki. China than was a weak nation in the dying days of the Qing Dynasty. It went further down as the Sick Man of Asia after repeated raids and territorial aggression by the Western Powers and Japan. In the days of gunboat diplomacy, might is right. The Japanese told the Chinese then that they deserved to be attacked and defeated because the Chinese were weak. Yes, weakness was sexy and tempting. And Japan and the Western Powers raped and invaded China, and extorted all kinds of war reparations and ceding of Chinese territories and concessions. Diaoyutai was one of the islands ceded to Japan. Taiwan was ruled by Japan for several decades. So was Korea. History has come full circle. The difference is that China has the power of balance in its favour now. Japan may still think that it is a great imperial power and could do what it did to China all over again. It is in for a rude surprise. The Chinese, including the Koreans, are ready to take back whatever they lost to the Japanese during Imperial Japan. The stupid westerners can only think of Chinese face. They refused to acknowledge the days of humiliation, aggression and Unequal Treaties when China had to give up its wealth and land, and islands. Today China is strong enough to stand up to the aggressors and will demand the return of all lands taken from old China. They will do it on the negotiating table and will use the gun only if necessary. Japan want a war with China, with the US backing? The Chinese will meet the Japanese and Americans in the battle field. This time it is not a ragtag army of ill equipped peasant soldiers carrying only rifles and small arms. The Chinese military is in a position to take on the most advanced military power in the world today. Japan is chicken feed. Of course the militant Japanese will think otherwise, that they are capable of invading China once more. They want to return to the days of Imperial glory. The show has just started.