Working Paper No. 115 (March 2009)
The Rebirth of Minjian Waijiao: China’s Popular Diplomacy toward Japan
by James Reilly


The term “popular diplomacy” [minjian waijiao, 民間外交] was first used in China-Japan relations to describe the informal interactions between government officials before China and Japan normalized relations in 1972. The term resurfaced in China to capture the wave of popular activism toward Japan from 2002 through 2005.[1] This wave of popular diplomacy demonstrates how even in an authoritarian state, non-state actors can affect the international environment and influence foreign policy decisions.

During the Maoist era, Chinese leaders enjoyed wide latitude in making foreign policy. They pursued diplomatic relations with Japan while maintaining a drumbeat of propaganda on Japanese wartime atrocities and Communist-led resistance. In 1978, the onset of the reform era began to transform state-society relations in China. By the late 1990s, the spread of information technology, a market-oriented media sector, and a vibrant market economy created an opening for China’s “history activism” to emerge.[2] Chinese activists capitalized on the state’s nationalist rhetoric toward the wartime past by insisting on a full accounting for Japan’s wartime atrocities, compensation for Chinese victims, and a robust defense of China’s sovereignty claims on disputed island territories. The contradictions between China’s pragmatic foreign policy toward Japan and pervasive anti-Japanese sentiments at home slowly began to emerge.

In 2002, public animosity toward Japan exploded in a wave of popular nationalism in China. Widespread coverage on the Chinese internet and in market-savvy newspapers catapulted individual activists to national prominence and quickly spread the protests around China. The Chinese government initially tolerated sporadic activism for diplomatic leverage and as a pressure valve to release popular emotions, yet protests soon began to inject contentious issues into bilateral relations, constrain Chinese policy toward Japan, and exacerbate a spiraling bilateral conflict. In spring 2005, widening unrest began to threaten domestic stability and undermine China’s broader strategic objectives. In response, Chinese leaders moved decisively to restrain domestic media and activists, and improve diplomatic relations with Japan. By 2006, China’s wave of popular diplomacy had come to an end.

I will begin by looking at the Chinese state’s manipulation of public images of Japan and the wartime past and how this created an opening for a wave of popular activism to emerge on Japan-related issues. Next I will focus on the emergence and impact of two groups of Chinese activists: the ‘redress movement’ and the ‘baodiao’ (Protect Diaoyu Islands) campaign. The final section captures the end of the wave of popular mobilization and suggests implications for the public diplomacy concept and for China-Japan relations.

Using the Past to Serve the Present

Since its earliest days, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has linked its nationalist credentials to the War of Resistance to Japan (1937-45). The CCP gained popular support by promoting Communist leadership of anti-Japanese resistance, eventually riding the mass movement of “peasant nationalism” to victory in the civil war against the Nationalists.[3] After 1949, Party propaganda relived this historic victory endlessly in public memorials, academic research, and propaganda campaigns.[4] Even China’s national anthem was an anti-Japanese fight song composed during a 1934 battle. Yet Chinese leaders were always careful to avoid allowing the wartime past to obstruct their foreign policy objectives. As Premier Zhou Enlai told visiting Japanese Diet members in 1954:
The history of the past sixty years of Sino-Japanese relations was not good. However, it is a thing of the past, and we must turn it into a thing of the past. This is because friendship exists between the peoples of China and Japan. Compared to the history of a few thousand years, the history of sixty years is not worth bringing up. Our times have been unfortunate, because we have only been living in these sixty years. However, our ancestors weren’t like this. Moreover, we cannot let such history influence our children and grandchildren.[5]

Following the Sino-Soviet split in 1960, Beijing’s desire for Japan to help it balance against the Soviet Union also took precedence over raising historical issues, even leading Chinese leaders to welcome a Japanese military buildup.[6] In order to gain Japanese diplomatic recognition in 1972, Chinese leaders agreed to forgo demands for reparations. The normalization of relations ushered in a decade-long honeymoon in China-Japan relations during which discussion of Japanese wartime atrocities in China was suppressed as “harmful to the Sino-Japanese friendship.” State propaganda distinguished between “the small handful of Japanese militarists” responsible for the war, and ordinary Japanese people, who were treated as victims of the militarists. Filmmakers were urged to avoid depiction of Chinese wartime suffering that would “dilute our hatred of imperialism” and “lower our morale.”[7] Historian Daqing Yang describes a “virtual absence of public commemoration of the Nanjing Massacre before 1982,” noting that scholars who tried to investigate the massacre were criticized for “stirring up national hatred and revenge.”[8]

China’s benevolent amnesia toward Japan began to erode in the early 1980s. Chinese anxieties about the Soviet threat were replaced by concerns over Japan’s expanding military capacity, wealth, and close military alliance with the US. Chinese analysts began to argue that Japan’s unwillingness to satisfactorily address its wartime aggression rendered Japan a potential threat likely to repeat its aggression toward China.[9] Such criticism of Japan also was useful in demanding greater Japanese economic assistance. By the mid-1980s, Deng Xiaoping began to remind visiting Japanese delegations that “Japan is the country most indebted to China,” insisting that “If we want to settle the historical account; Japan owes China the largest debt.”[10]

The early 1980s also marked the onset of China’s promotion of “patriotic education” as part of a shift away from the divisive radicalism of the Maoist era.[11] After the suppression of the 1989 student movement, promoting patriotism took on new urgency. The patriotic education campaign featured a renewed emphasis on Chinese wartime suffering at the hands of Japanese invaders as part of a revamped “victimization narrative.”[12] Revised history textbooks, government-sponsored films, and new history museums in Nanjing, Shenyang, and Beijing re-framed the history of Japan’s invasion to build popular support for national unity, the Party, and its modernization drive.[13] As a prominent statement at the September 18 History Museum in Shenyang declares, “China must increase its national strength to avoid the backwardness which leads to bullying and humiliation.” The museum urges visitors to “increase [their] patriotic spirit” and warns them to “not forget China’s national shame and work to reinvigorate China.”[14]

China’s legacy of manipulating history in the service of the state is hardly uncommon—as Ernst Renan writes, “Getting its history wrong is part of being a nation.”[15] However, decades of manipulation of the past made it impossible to openly and honestly commemorate the Chinese people’s tragic suffering while allowing Japanese conservatives to avoid a complete accounting for Japan’s wartime actions in China. The contradictions between anti-Japanese propaganda at home and a pragmatic approach to Japan abroad remained tenable only so long as Chinese society was quiescent and the state controlled all mass communication. By the 1990s, rapid economic growth, expanded social autonomy, and the spread of the internet and a market-oriented media sector provided resources for Chinese activists to begin to challenge the state’s opportunistic approach toward Japan and the wartime past.

China's Redress Movement

China’s ‘redress movement’ [索賠運動, suopei yundong] refers to the pursuit of lawsuits in the Japanese court system since the early 1990s on issues such as the ‘comfort women,’ forced laborers, biological warfare, and chemical weapons left behind in China. The redress movement emerged in the mid-1990s as wartime victims aided by Japanese lawyers began to file lawsuits in Japan demanding financial compensation. Japanese courts dismissed most cases by citing the statute of limitations in Japan’s civil code as well as diplomatic instruments ending the war and establishing diplomatic relations with China.[16] Despite these legal setbacks, the redress movement has grown through activists’ ability to link Chinese victims and their communities with Japanese lawyers while garnering publicity in Chinese media.

The most prominent of these ‘history activists’ is Wang Xuan, a former middle-school teacher who was living in Japan in 1995 when she heard that people from her hometown in Zhejiang province were beginning a lawsuit over Japan’s biological warfare. It immediately struck home. Her uncle had died from Japanese biological warfare, and her father suffered from lifelong poor heath due to Japanese biological weapons. With her unique combination of Japanese language skills, local support, and personal dedication, Wang Xuan soon became the official representative of several Chinese plaintiffs groups. Wang Xuan and other activists brought Chinese lawyers and academics into the redress movement to provide legal expertise and field research.[17] The media also helped: a local paper in Jiangxi province ran a series of stories on Japan’s wartime biological warfare in the area and then helped process the hundreds of resulting claims from former victims.[18]

Chinese media quickly embraced the redress movement as a unique opportunity to tell poignant personal stories within the context of a compelling foreign policy issue. In 2002 Wang Xuan was selected as one of the few individuals who “inspires China” [感動中國, gandong zhongguo] by Central China TV (CCTV), and given the opportunity to make an acceptance speech on national television. She was also selected by the readers of China’s premier weekly paper, Southern Weekend, as the “Person of the Year” for 2002, and began to write a weekly column for the paper.[19] National media attention soon translated into widespread local recognition: when Wang Xuan visited Dalian in 2003, the city opened the “first-ever national Wang Xuan hotline for biological warfare documentation.”[20]

Publicity over the lawsuits captured the imagination of affected communities all over China and expanded networks of support. In 1996, residents of Changde city formed a support group for a biological warfare lawsuit and organized petition campaigns, held academic conferences, and produced a documentary movie. Most of the group’s public events were staged at a local memorial commemorating military resistance, an example of how the redress movement appropriated official monuments for local purposes.[21] The national support group for biological warfare lawsuits – including Chinese lawyers, activists, and local officials – coordinated to issued publications, organized symposia and advocacy events, and hosted photo exhibitions in China, Japan, and the United States.[22] Chinese plaintiffs also filed suits in the United States, the International Court of Justice, and Chinese courts.[23] Repeated rejection of the lawsuits in Japan seemed only to strengthen the determination of the Chinese plaintiffs. As one 71-year-old woman told a reporter after a 2005 legal setback, “even if I cannot win this lawsuit, my grandson will win it.”[24]

Through their advocacy, Chinese history activists have become integrated into a transnational social movement dedicated all victims of Japanese wartime atrocities.[25] Many news stories on the redress movement praise their close cooperation with Japanese supporters.[26] In their public statements, history activists refer to universal norms such as historical truth and justice. As Wang Xuan explains, “This work is not aimed at the past aggressors but at their successors. We carefully choose our methods in order not to increase hatred, but instead to deepen understanding and dialogue.”[27] She calls for Japan, the US, and China to jointly establish a “Peace Fund” that would support joint academic research, preserve the historical record of Chinese suffering and build memorials to Chinese victims, de-classify and publish historical documents, and provide medical assistance and financial support for Chinese victims.[28]

Caroline Rose suggests that such “agents of remembrance” are supporting an “interactive process between perpetrators and victims at the grassroots level” that contributes to reconciliation between China and Japan.[29] Popular involvement in historical issues has even contributed to a more critical view of controversial periods in China’s own modern past.[30] Yet despite the noble intent of many history activists, their highlighting of Japanese wartime atrocities likely contributed to the wave of popular protests in China from 2002 through 2005. One such example was the campaign for compensation when, on August 4, 2003, abandoned Japanese chemical weapons (ACW) accidentally poisoned 37 people and killed one.

A Poisonous Legacy: Japan’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons
After World War II, Japanese units in China disposed of vast amounts of chemical weapons and agents by such crude methods as burial, dumping them in rivers, or mixing them in with ordinary weapons. The bulk of the known weapons were later buried in Jilin province by Chinese forces. China estimates that a total of 2 million weapons still exist in China while Japan estimates some 700,000.[31] For decades, the Chinese government essentially ignored the ACW issue, leaving localities to manage the problem on their own.[32] In 1996, Chinese leaders began to raise the issue with Japanese leaders in preparation for ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). On July 30, 1999, Japan formally undertook responsibility for the cleanup and destruction of ACW in China as part of its obligations under the CWC.[33]

From 1999-2003, Chinese official state-run media, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, and China’s Defense White Papers all presented Japan’s management of the cleanup process in a favorable light.[34] The Chinese government never insisted on compensation or apologies for individual victims of ACW, even when the accidental exposure of ACW in China led to injuries and deaths of Chinese citizens, such as in August 2001.[35] Indeed, before August 2003 the ACW cleanup and destruction process seemed to be one of the few bright spots in the increasingly contentious China-Japan relationship.

The compensation issue suddenly exploded into popular consciousness on August 4, 2003 when Chinese construction workers unwittingly unearthed Japanese weapons with chemicals in Qiqihair (Helongjiang Province), poisoning 37 people and eventually killing one. The Japanese government quickly sent a team to the area, confirmed that weapons were indeed Japanese ACW, and issued a statement of “extreme regret.”[36] China initially responded calmly. The Foreign Ministry quietly requested that Japan pay for cleanup expenses, medical treatment and disability payments for victims, and costs resulting from suspending construction work in the area.[37] Chinese Foreign Vice-Minister Wang Yi praised Japan for demonstrating “that it attaches importance to this serious incident and will deal with it properly and with sincerity.”[38] Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, then visiting Japan, refrained from raising the incident in his meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi, as did President Hu Jintao when he met visiting Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo on August 10. Only Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People’s Congress, raised the issue briefly in his meeting with Fukuda, describing the ACW issue as “a sensitive issue for the Chinese people.”[39]

China’s official media were similarly restrained. On August 15, the anniversary of the end of WWII, Xinhua stated that, “With the arrival of the news that the Japanese side has admitted that the barrels of toxic material hurting people in Qiqihar are part of the chemical weapons left by Japan, victims of the 4 August incident are now able to breathe a sigh of relief.”[40] Liaowang, a prominent Party-run news magazine, ran articles by leading Japan scholars in China praising Japan’s management of the issue and urging continued dialogue.[41] Indeed, before August 15 there was little indication that there would be much difficulty in quickly and quietly resolving the dispute in a fashion similar to previous ACW incidents.

Public Pressure Mounts from August 15 to September 18
On August 15, 2003, Chinese activists began an online petition campaign demanding that Japan apologize and offer compensation for the victims of the Qiqihair incident. On September 18 (the anniversary of Japan’s invasion of northeastern China in 1931), website organizers sought to deliver one million signatures to the Japanese embassy. The online campaign was augmented by public sign-on events around China, garnering support from fiery editorials in some of China’s most prominent activist newspapers. The Beijing Youth Daily declared that “condolences cannot take the place of compensation.”[42] After one of the victims died from his injuries on August 21, the movement to boycott Japanese goods [抵制日貨, dizhi rihuo] spread rapidly across the Chinese internet, urged on by postings describing Japanese people as “little bandits” and urging Japan to “pay off its bloody debts.”[43]

In response to public pressure, Chinese official rhetoric grew more critical and assertive. On August 22, Foreign Vice-Minister Wang Yi told the Japanese ambassador that the Chinese people have every right to be indignant and urged Japan to “take substantial action to shoulder its due responsibility for the loss of the victims and the local people and to give due explanation.”[44] Former Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, now a State Counselor, and Zeng Qinghong, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, also urged Japan to take a responsible attitude toward the issue and speed up its destruction of the ACW, expressing their “hope” [希望, xiwang] that Japan would resolve the issue quickly and reasonably.[45]

Seeking to resolve the situation, Japanese officials quietly offered their largest-ever single payment to Chinese ACW victims, 100 million yen (US $856,000). In line with Japan’s practice since 1999, the funds would be labeled “sympathy funds,” drawn from Japan’s ACW cleanup budget. The Japanese offer was certainly sufficient to meet the initial Chinese demands and normally would have resolved the dispute.[46] However, on September 2, the Japanese offer was revealed by Japan’s Mainichi Shinbum and immediately posted on the Chinese internet. Chinese activists decided to deliver the online petition letter, then signed by over 300,000 people, to the Japanese embassy in Beijing in advance of bilateral talks on September 4-5. They hoped to “put pressure on the Japanese government” and “support” Chinese negotiators; yet activists’ demands went far beyond, and in places contradicted, established Chinese government policy.[47]

As negotiations stagnated, public mobilization quickly mounted. The popular paper Global Times strongly criticized Japan for not declaring its funds “compensation.” Chinese lawyers representing the family of the man who had died from the Qiqihair incident publicly demanded US$2.7 million in compensation.[48] Beijing Youth News endorsed this demand, warning that the experience of Chinese compensation lawsuits in Japan “teaches us that in the difficult road ahead of us, we must steadfastly ‘fight’ ever onward.”[49] The online petition was completed on September 18 and delivered to the Japanese embassy with the names and addresses of 1.2 million signatories.[50] Public opinion polls at the time demonstrated broad support for the activists’ demands.[51] Anti-Japanese sentiments received another boost over reports of a September 16-18 sex scandal that reportedly involved 380 male Japanese tourists and 500 Chinese prostitutes.[52] On September 18, the South China Morning Post, an independent Hong Kong paper, ran an article arguing that “Chinese leaders must take seriously the people who have signed the online campaign and registered their grievances with Japan.”[53]

China’s negotiating posture soon became more assertive, reflecting this public pressure. On October 3, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing issued China’s first strong public “demand” [要求,
yaoqiu] to the Japanese ambassador to China, Anami Koreshige, noting that the incident “has touched off strong dissatisfaction of the Chinese public as well as the victims.” Four days later, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told Prime Minister Koizumi at a meeting in Bali that the most pressing task in bilateral relations was to resolve the issue, pledging that “such an effort will help remove the unpleasant feeling in the hearts of the Chinese people.”[54]

On October 19, the two sides finally reached an agreement. Japan promised to pay 300 million yen (US$2.75 million) directly to the Chinese government to cover “costs in relation to the disposal of abandoned chemical weapons,” which China pledged to distribute in an “appropriate manner.” Japan requested that the Chinese government explain that the funds were not “compensation” for victims; yet the Chinese Foreign Ministry quickly pledged to use the money to “compensate” the victims.[55] In his meeting with Koizumi on October 20th, Hu Jintao stated, “The Japanese side should take measures to quickly fulfill the agreement and compensate the victims as early as possible.”[56] After this agreement, the Chinese government quickly resumed its positive tone on Japan’s ACW cleanup.[57] The two sides quickly and quietly resolved subsequent incidents of injuries resulting from ACW before the Chinese public could get involved.[58]

Public pressure clearly influenced China’s official rhetoric, negotiating strategy, and policy decisions in this case. Before 2003, the Chinese government had never contested Japanese payment amounts for victims, never demanded that funds be labeled “compensation,” and had never negotiated on behalf of individual victims -- all policies used from August to October 2003. Officials’ negotiating demands and public rhetoric were moderate after the incident, growing more assertive only as public mobilization mounted. The online protests were initiated and sustained by individual activists. The key media report sparking public mobilization came from a news source outside China, and was spread rapidly through postings on the Chinese internet. In contrast, China’s official media urged the public to remain calm and praised Japan’s response to the incident.[59] Chinese rhetoric announcing the final agreement also indicated officials’ sensitivity to the public’s demands for “compensation” from Japan.

The Chinese government could have simply restrained all protests and negative media coverage of the incident. However such an action would have had high costs: the Party would have appeared to be siding with Japan against Chinese ACW victims. Instead, Chinese officials likely calculated that tolerating initial displays of public pressure would strengthen their negotiating leverage with Japan.[60] This decision provided an opening for public mobilization to emerge and grow quickly, increasing the costs of suppression. Trapped between Japanese intransigence and mounting public pressure, Chinese leaders had little choice but to take a highly public stance in demanding significant concessions from Japan. One activist captured the government’s predicament with a Chinese proverb: “having mounted the tiger, it is difficult to dismount” (上虎難下, shanghu nanxia).[61]

China's Baodiao Campaign

China’s baodiao [保釣, Protect the Diaoyu Islands] campaign seeks to defend China’s territorial claims to the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, a clump of five islets and three barren rocks 200 miles off the Chinese coast, northeast of Taiwan. China, Japan, and Taiwan all claim the islands based on history and geography.[62] Japan first took control of the islands in 1895, and has effectively controlled the islands since 1971. At a 1972 banquet celebrating the normalization of relations, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai announced: “There is no need to mention the Diaoyu Islands. It does not count as a problem of any sort compared to recovering normal diplomatic relations.”[63] Since 1978, China has maintained that the two sides hold different positions on the sovereignty of the islands, which should be set aside as they pursue joint development of natural resources in the area. Japan counters that there is no dispute since Japan enjoys both legal sovereignty and effective control over the islands.

Chinese leaders have been satisfied to declare China’s dejure sovereignty over the islands while not actually challenging Japan’s defacto control, a policy praised by a leading PLA scholar as “pragmatic.”[64] After China’s 1992 Territorial Waters Law restated China’s claims to the islands, Chinese President Jiang Zemin reaffirmed China’s willingness to “shelve” the dispute in favor of joint development during a trip to Japan.[65] During a 1996 dispute sparked by an attempt by Hong Kong activists to land on the islands, Chinese leaders again acted to constrain public sentiment while reassuring Japan.[66] Since 1996, China has taken “every measure possible to forestall further incidents from breaking out over the disputed rocks.”[67]

China’s moderate policy is not without costs, both at home and abroad. As China refrains from challenging Japan’s ‘effective control’ over the islands, Japan’s claim becomes consolidated through the legal principle of ‘acquisitive prescription.’[68] Moreover, the Chinese government’s perceived inability to defend its claims to the Diaoyu islands has generated popular criticism of the leadership as weak, particularly in contrast to China’s baodiao activists. Given that the baodiao movement on Taiwan eventually developed into a mass movement that undermined KMT authoritarian rule in the 1970s, Chinese officials view baodiao activists with apprehension.[69]

The baodiao campaign began as a Taiwanese-led movement in the early 1970s and reached the mainland after the 1996 protests in Hong Kong.[70] Tong Zeng, a longtime history activist, emerged as its unofficial leader after founding the “Protect Diaoyu Association.” In 1999, the Association made its first attempt to land on the islands. Over the next few years, activists established a company in Beijing, registered the baodiao association in Hong Kong, engaged in publicity activities, gave media interviews, applied to lease the islands for tourism, and called on the Chinese government to issue a “Diaoyu” stamp, as South Korea did for the Tokdo islands.[71]

In their public statements, baodiao activists proclaimed their frustration with the Chinese government. “The central government’s emphasis on ownership over the islands is not enough,” stated Tong Zeng. “It should lobby other politicians, especially those in the US, to make sure they at least have a clear idea that the islands are disputed.”[72] Activist Feng Jinhua, who was given a 10-month jail sentence by a Japanese court in 2001 for painting slogans outside the gate of the Yasukuni shrine, told reporters that “the Chinese government must exercise real administration of the islands in establishing its sovereignty claims.”[73] After the government rejected their bid to develop the islands for tourism, Zhang Likun, a former PLA soldier, stated: “It’s really nonsense. Why can’t we develop our own territory?”[74]

A Brief Tempest: Chinese Activists’ 2004 Voyage to the Islands
PRC activists soon followed the example of Japanese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese activists by attempting to land on the islands. From June 2003 to August 2004, mainland activists attempted four trips to the islands, yet the first three times the Chinese government notified the Japanese Coast Guard in advance, ensuring they were turned back before reaching the islands.[75] In their fourth attempt, on March 24, 2004, the baodiao activists managed to depart undetected and successfully landed on the islands. They were arrested by the Japanese Coast Guard on charges of violating immigration laws and taken to Japan’s southern Okinawa prefecture. According to Japanese media reports, Foreign Vice-Minister Takeuchi Yukio instructed local departments to “respond following the law” and to “refrain from actions taken out of consideration for China.”[76]

The activists immediately began a hunger strike, demanding that they be permitted to sail their boat back to China.[77] Chinese Foreign Vice-Minister Zhang Yesui insisted to the Japanese embassy in Beijing that “the Japanese side protect their personal security, and immediately release them without condition. Otherwise, the situation will expand and grow more complicated, and certainly will arouse the powerful indignation of the Chinese people.”[78] At the same time, baodiao activists began a protest outside the Japanese embassy, demanding the activists’ immediate release and burning Japanese flags. Although a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson called the flag burning “extremist,” he also defended protesters’ “rightful use of their constitutional right to free speech.”[79]

The evening of March 25, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Dawei delivered a strong demand to Japanese Foreign Ministry for the activists’ immediate release, referring to the danger of Chinese public emotions if the situation was allowed to continue.[80] The combination of Wu’s unexpected visit and the flag burning in Beijing clearly shook Japanese officials. That evening, senior Foreign Ministry officials decided to release the seven Chinese activists the next day.[81]

In response, activist Lu Yunfei told reporters that “the incident marks a big victory in China’s diplomacy towards Japan. Japan sent them back without any conditions, just as we demanded.”[82] Yet the seven activists were immediately taken into custody upon their return to China, denying them a public reception in Shanghai or Beijing.[83] The next day, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing called Japanese Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko to express China’s appreciation for the prompt return of the activists and emphasized the importance China places on good relations with Japan.[84] Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan reaffirmed that “We have an indisputable claim to these islands,” but added that China hopes that “through peaceful negotiation we can come to narrow some differences.”[85] Both governments stopped subsequent attempts to sail to the islands.[86]

The crisis evaporated almost as fast as it had emerged. Although both sides cancelled bilateral talks on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on April 3 Premier Wen Jiabao met with Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko to offer reassurances on China’s Diaoyu policy. The only sign of the previous week’s crisis was Foreign Vice-Minister Wang Yi’s last-minute absence from a signing ceremony for Japanese yen loans to China, a decision possibly influenced by concerns on the propriety of publicly accepting Japanese money only a week after Chinese citizens were arrested by Japan for traveling to territory claimed by China.[87] On April 22, less than a month after the crisis, bilateral talks on a mutual notification agreement for the East China Sea resumed in Beijing.

Impact of the Diaoyu Landings
China’s longstanding Diaoyu policy has been to argue for the shelving of sovereignty disputes while pursuing joint development. The 2004 landing incident reversed these priorities: compelling the Chinese government to articulate its sovereignty claims over the Diaoyu Islands, heightening Japanese anxiety over the sovereignty issue, and undermining support within Japan for joint exploration. As one Chinese scholar explained, “Those activists brought the government into the issue as it was the government who had to intervene after the seven were arrested. It’s a disturbance to China’s diplomatic route of ‘peaceful rise’ [和平崛起, heping jueqi].” [88]

The Chinese government did not instigate the incident; instead it discouraged broader public involvement and restrained domestic media coverage.[89] Chinese leaders tolerated limited public protests as part of a two-level game strategy, warning Japan that public anger would grow rapidly if the activists were not immediately released. By tolerating the protests, Chinese leaders gave the impression that they could not compromise due to domestic public opinion. This strategy worked only due to the brevity of the incident. If Japan had refused to return the activists quickly, it would have proven almost impossible to block the flow of information from Hong Kong media to the Chinese public and the protests would have grown rapidly.[90]

The March 2004 incident also exacerbated spiraling tensions by forcing the Japanese government to strongly assert its sovereignty claims. Japanese Diet members quickly called for the government to “exercise extreme vigilance” on the islands.[91] The Japanese government soon announced that it would renew Japanese citizens’ leases of the islands, which The China Daily denounced as an “attempt by the Japanese to domestically legalize their claim of sovereignty over the archipelago.”[92] A month after the landing, Japanese right-wing activists drove a van into China’s consulate in Osaka, sparking another flag-burning protest at the Japanese embassy in Beijing.[93] The next year, Japan took over control of a lighthouse built by Japanese activists on the islands, which Japan’s Coast Guard pledged to defend against “illegal incursions.”[94] The Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced the move as “illegal and invalid,” and Chinese activists vowed to return to destroy the lighthouse.[95] As one PLA scholar explained, after the 2004 landings, “the strengthening of public opinion and popular nationalism on both sides has worsened this issue, noticeably increasing the difficulty for both governments to control tensions.”[96]

Conclusion: The Wave Comes to an End

Protests during the Qiqihair incident and the Diaoyu landing were part of a broad wave of popular mobilization sweeping across China, culminating in the massive online and street protests in spring 2005 challenging Japan’s bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council. After putting down the protests, Chinese leaders began to rein in activists and prohibit sensationalist, negative media coverage of Japan. In October 2006, Chinese leaders welcomed Abe Shinzo, the new Japanese prime minister, in Beijing, marking the onset of warming bilateral relations. By 2007, Chinese public opinion toward Japan began to improve.[97]

The state’s success in constraining activism, shifting foreign policy, and improving public opinion of Japan underscores its continued strength vis-à-vis Chinese society. Yet the protests set a worrisome precedent. They erupted in reaction to events beyond the control of the Chinese state, initially reported by foreign media and spread via the internet in China. Working outside state structures, Chinese activists built domestic and international networks of support; utilized popular press and the internet to mobilize the public; and engaged in direct action campaigns in China and overseas. Although most of these actions required some level of acquiescence by the Chinese government, they also altered the subsequent political environment facing Chinese leaders, impacting bilateral relations and foreign policy decisions.

This case study also illuminates two types of interactive dynamics among civil society actors. The redress movement collaborated with like-minded counterparts in Japan in pursuit of an accurate accounting of the wartime past and historical justice for individual victims. Their approach is similar to Chinese professors who have collaborated with Japanese and South Korean academics to produce a joint history textbook.[98] Such initiatives may contribute to eventual reconciliation between China and Japan over the wartime past; yet they also contributed to the wave of popular protests. Activism such as the Diaoyu landings in 2004 worsened public opinion of Japan and sparked a conflict spiral at both the state and societal levels. Chinese and Japanese leaders had to take decisive measures to reverse the deepening crisis and stabilize bilateral relations.

While impressive, the recent improvement in China-Japan relations remains tenuous. As in the past, both governments have preferred to downplay issues related to the wartime past rather than directly address them. The warming of ties has been almost entirely state-led and the improvement of public opinion remains fragile. In this environment, an unexpected incident could spark another round of diplomatic estrangement and societal acrimony. To consolidate the gains of the past few years, Chinese leaders should encourage the resumption of true ‘popular diplomacy’ through direct, unfettered interactions between Chinese and Japanese individuals and institutions.

JAMES REILLY is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with the China’s War with Japan Programme at the University of Oxford.


ENDNOTES
1. For the pre-1972 use of this term, see: Shi Guifang, Zhanhou zhongri guanxi (Postwar Chinese-Japanese Relations) (Beijing: Dangdai Chubanshe, 2005), 36. For the more recent usage, see: Wang Guoping, “Cong fandui ribe changren kan minjian xingwei de zuoyong” (Understanding the Role of Social Action from the Opposition to Japan's Permanent Membership in UN Security Council) Huanqiu, April 16, 2005, 28-29. [Return to Text]
2. James Reilly, “China's History Activism and Sino-Japanese Relations,” China: An International Journal 4:2 (Fall 2006): 189-216. [Return to Text]
3. Chalmers Johnson, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962). [Return to Text]
4. Laura Hein and Mark Selden, “The Lessons of War, Global Power, and Social Change,” in Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States, ed . Laura Hein and Mark Selden (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000): 49. [Return to Text]
5. Quoted in: Daqing Yang, “Mirror for the Future or the history card? Understanding the "history problem",” in Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-first Century, ed. Marie Söderberg (London and New York: Routledge): 21. I will give all Chinese and Japanese names with surname first. [Return to Text]
6. Joseph Y.S. Cheng, “China's Japan Policy in the 1980s,” International Affairs 61, no. 1 (1984-85): 92. [Return to Text]
7. Yinan He, “Remembering and Forgetting the War: Elite Mythmaking, Mass Reaction, and Sino-Japanese Relations, 1950–2006,” History and Memory (2007): 69. [Return to Text]
8. Daqing Yang, “Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing,” The American Historical Review 104:3 (June 1999): 858. [Return to Text]
9. For example: Liu Jiangyong, “
Riben meihua qinlue lishi de dongxiang jiqi genyuan” (What Lies Behind the Japanese Attempt to Adorn its Aggression History (Xiandai guoji guanxi ) (Contemporary International Relations) 9 (1996): 2-8. [Return to Text]
10. The first comment was made in 1987; the second in May 1989.   Yang, “History Card,” 14; Yong Deng, “Chinese Relations with Japan: Implications for Asia-Pacific Regionalism,” Pacific Affairs 70:3 (Autumn 1997): 377. [Return to Text]
11. Zhao Suisheng, “A State-led Nationalism: The Patriotic Education Campaign in Post-Tiananmen China,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 31: 287-302. [Return to Text]
12.Peter Hays Gries, China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004): 69-86. [Return to Text]
13. He, “Remembering and Forgetting,” 57-58. [Return to Text]
14. Personal visits to Shenyang, Summer 2001. [Return to Text]
15. Quoted in: E.J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990): 12. [Return to Text]
16. Xu Jingbo and Hu Lingyuan, Zhanhou Riben de zhuyao shehui sichao yu zhongri guanxi (Leading Social Trends in Postwar Japan and China-Japan Relations) (Shanghai: Shanghai Finance University Press, 2003): 128-132. [Return to Text]
17. Wang Xuan, “
Xijunzhan fanzui lishi nenggou yangai ma?” (Can the War Crimes of Biological Warfare Be Covered Over By History), in Riben jiaokeshu wenti pingxi (Analysis of the Japanese Textbook Problem), eds. Zhang Haipeng, Bu Ping (Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Science Press, 2002): 304-5; Nan Xianghong, “Ta ba xijunzhan zhenxiang gaosu shijie” (She Told the Truth About the Biological Warfare to the World) Nanfang Zhoumou ( Southern Weekend) September 12, 2002: A5. [Return to Text]
18. Duan Bayi, “
Jiangxi Meiti Jielou qinhua rijun zai gan shiyong xijunzhan jiqi minfen” (The Jiangxi Media Reveals That Invading Japanese Armies used Biological Warfare in Jiangxi, Arousing Popular Anger), March 5, 2003. [Return to Text]
19. Nan Xianghong, “Jiyi bushi weile hen” (Remembering is Not for Hatred: Person of the Year, Wang Xuan) Nanfang Zhoumou (Southern Weekend), December 26, 2002: A2. [Return to Text]
20. Quanguo shoukai “xijunzhanzhengju” wangxuan rixian (Opening of the first-ever national “biological warfare documentation department” Wang Xuan hotline) Dalian Zaobao (Dalian Morning News), May 15, 2003, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2003-05-15/0302124476s.shtml [Return to Text]
21. “
Shezhizu zhuhe qinhua junyiqi wuhuaxueqi an yuangao shensu” (Film Production Group Congratulates the Successful Lawsuit on the Removal of Chemical Weapons,” http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2003-09-30/13401844324.shtml [Return to Text]
22. Caroline Rose, Sino-Japanese Relations; Facing the Past, Looking to the Future? (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005): 93.   [Return to Text]
23. The Chinese court found that according to international law, it only has jurisdiction for a suit against a natural person and so rejected the lawsuit.   “The Crucial Case For Chinese Civil Lawsuits For Compensation From Japan” (
Zhongguo minjian duiri supei de guanjian ge'an) Nanfang Zhoumou (Southern Weekend) June 13, 2002, A10. [Return to Text]
24. “
Xijunzhan zhongguo shouhaizhe supeian erjie jinri kaiting” (The Second Round of Hearings on Chinese Biological Warfare Victims' Lawsuit Opens Today), Xinhua, May 19, 2003. [Return to Text]
25. Su Zhiliang, “
2000 Nian dongjing nuxing guoji zhanfan fating jishi” (The Record of the 2000 Tokyo International Women's War Crimes Tribunal) Kangri Zhanzheng yanjiu (Journal of Studies of China's War of Resistance Against Japan) 39:1 (2001): 225-233. [Return to Text]
26. Su Zhigang, “
Dubian chunyi: fouren Nanjing datusha, zhongguoren kending hui fennu” (Dubian Chunyi: Denying the Nanjing Massacre Will Certainly Outrage Chinese People) Nanfang Zhoumou ( Southern Weekend), January 27, 2005: A3. [Return to Text]
27. Tan Jin, “
Duiri susongtuan tuanzhang xiwang genduo de xuezhe diaocha 'siwang gongchang'” (The Group Leader of Legal Action against Japan Hopes More Scholars Will Investigate the 'Factory of Death') Cankao yu sisiang (Observing and Reflecting), http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2003-12-15/16592380370.shtml [Return to Text]
28. Nan Xianghong. [Return to Text]
29. Rose, 21-31. [Return to Text]
30. Howard W. French, “Scenes from a Nightmare: A Shrine to the Maoist Chaos,” The New York Times , May 29, 2005: A 3. [Return to Text]
31. Lu Yi, Zhongri xianghu lijie haiyou douyuan? Guanyu liangguo minzhong xianghu renshi de bijiao yanjiu (How Far Away Is Mutual Understanding Between China and Japan? A Comparative Study on the Mutual Perceptions Between the Two Peoples) (Beijing, World Knowledge Press, 2006): 139. [Return to Text]
32. See the case of Dunhua city, home to 90% of all known ACW in China, in: Su Zhiliang, Rong Weimu, Chen Lizui, eds. Riben Qinhua Zhanzheng Yiliu Wenti He Peichang Wenti (Problems Left Over From Japan's War of Invasion of China and the Compensation Issue) (Beijing: Shangwu Yinshuguan, 2005): 669. [Return to Text]
33. The document text is available (in Chinese) at: http://www.sjhistory.org/site/newxh/yjzt8-4mb_a200504113155.htm [Return to Text]
34. See: http://english.people.com.cn/features/ndpaper2002/app5.html ; http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zzjg/yzs/gjlb/2721/2722/t15974.htm ; “Japanese Team in China Retrieves Wartime Chemical Weapons” Xinhua, September 27, 2002. [Return to Text]
35. “Second World War bomb explodes in China, one dead,” Xinhua, August 30, 2001. The incident was never mentioned by the Foreign Ministry or when Vice-President Hu Jintao met Morihiro Hosokawa, a former Japanese Prime Minister. [Return to Text]
36. Wu Xiaodong and Liang Dong, “A History of Suffering, Real Choices: What Does the '4 August' Incident of Injury from a Chemical Agent Abandoned by the Japanese Army Invading China Tell us?” Xinhua, August 21, 2003. [Return to Text]
37. Wu Xiaodong and Wang Qian, “Chinese Breathing Sigh of Relief on Toxic Gas Incident,” Xinhua, August 15, 2003. [Return to Text]
38. “Chinese Foreign Ministry again makes solemn representation to Japanese side on incident of people injured by toxic chemicals abandoned by Japan,” Xinhua, August 13, 2003. [Return to Text]
39. Verna Yu, “Hu issues a mild rebuke to Japan; President tells visiting minister that relations can be improved 'by reviewing lessons of the past'” South China Morning Post , August 10, 2003: A6. [Return to Text]
40. Wu Xiaodong. [Return to Text]
41. Feng Zhaokui, “Correct Handling of Historical Problems Remains an Issue,” Liaowang , August 18, 2003. [Return to Text]
42. Zhang Tianwei, “
Pinglun: 8-4 duqi shijian 'weiwen' buneng daiti 'peichang'" (Editorial: In the August 4 Incident, 'Condolences' Cannot Replace 'Compensation') Beijing Qingnian Bao (Beijing Youth Daily) September 4, 2003, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2003-09-04/0448685350s.shtml . [Return to Text]
43. Verna Yu, “Abandoned war-era gas claims its first victim; China lodges a protest with Japan over the father's death 18 days after accident,” South China Morning Post (August 23, 2003): A4. [Return to Text]
44. Xinhua (August 22, 2003). [Return to Text]
45. “Chinese Politburo Member Holds Talks with Japanese Delegation,” Xinhua , August 25, 2003. [Return to Text]
46. Liu Hua, “
Riben tuoyan jiejue 'yihua' wenti zhenxiang” (The True Facts Behind Japan's Delay in Resolving the ACW Issues) Huanqui (The Globe) September 4, 2003, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2003-09-04/16231677644.shtml [Return to Text]
47. The online petition called for Japan to provide “detailed information about the specific location of chemical weapons dumps in China,” provide a broader “compensation proposal” for all ACW victims, and urged Japan to remove all ACW weapons from China, rather than destroy them in China, as the Chinese government had already agreed to. It also demanded that Japan fund health checks for residents near places where chemicals were buried and pay for environmental damage as well as apologize to and compensate all ACW victims since 1931. Verna Yu, “Poison gas leak fuels anti-Japan crusade on Net,” South China Morning Post , August 22, 2003: A7. [Return to Text]
48. “Japan Urged to Resolve Weapons Issue,” China Daily , October 21, 2003. [Return to Text]
49. See: Liu Hua, “Riben tuoyan jiejue 'yihua' wenti zhenxiang” (The True Facts Behind Japan's Delay in Resolving the ACW Issues) Huanqui (The Globe) September 4, 2003, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2003-09-04/16231677644.shtml . [Return to Text]
50. “Chinese sign up in anger,” Courier Mail (Australia), September 19, 2003: A 14. [Return to Text]
51. Jiang Lifeng, “
Zhongguo minzhong dui riben henshao you qingjingan: diyici zhongri yulun diaocha jieguo fenxi” (Chinese public rarely feels close to Japan: analysis of the results of the first China-Japan public opinion survey) Riben Xuekan (Japan Studies) 6 (2002):12; Jane Cai, “Anti-Japanese sentiment swells among students,” South China Morning Post, November 10, 2003: A6. [Return to Text]
52. Lin Wei, “
Zhu Hai: riben luyoutuan gouchiri daohuan, shengcheng laihua zhiwei maichun” (Zhuhai: Japanese tour group announces that on China's Day of Humiliation, they have come to China just for prostitutes) Zhongguo Qingnian Bao (China Youth Daily), September 26, 2003, http://news.sina.com.cn/s/2003-09-26/0351820418s.shtml [Return to Text]
53. Wenran Jiang, “Confronting a poisonous past,” South China Morning Post , September 18, 2003: A 15. [Return to Text]
54. “Principle of 'Drawing lessons from history and looking towards the future' must be upheld in developing China-Japan relations” Xinhua, October 11, 2003. [Return to Text]
55. “WWII cleanup Approved Ahead of Summit,” The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo), October 21, 2003: A3. [Return to Text]
56. Chen Hegao and Che Yuming, “Chinese President Hu Jintao Meets with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi,” Xinhua, October 20, 2003. Italics added. [Return to Text]
57. “Positive Cooperation with Japan in Chemical Weapon's Cleanup,” Xinhua, November 14, 2003. [Return to Text]
58. In two ACW incidents in spring 2004, the Chinese Foreign Ministry coordinated closely with Japan to issue apologies and funds to victims, and to cleanup the site without media coverage or public statements. Lu Yi, 140. [Return to Text]
59. “Japan Must Show Accountability,” China Daily, September 24, 2003. [Return to Text]
60. Interview with Chinese scholar in Beijing (June 7, 2007). [Return to Text]
61. Interview with Chinese activist in Shanghai (February 5, 2007). [Return to Text]
62. I use the Chinese term “Diaoyu” since I focus on Chinese policy. This does not suggest a preference for one country's claim. [Return to Text]
63. Tian Heng, ed, Zhanhou zhongri guanxi shinian biao: 1945-1993 (Yearbook of Postwar China-Japan Relations, Vol. 2) (Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1994): 92. [Return to Text]
64. Zhang Tasheng, “
Guanyu 21 shiji zhongri changqi youhao hezuo guanxi de jidian sikao” (Several thoughts regarding long term cooperation and friendly cooperation in China-Japan relations in the 21 st Century) in 21 shiji de zhongguo yu riben (China and Japan in the 21 st Century), ed. Chen Feng (Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe, 2006): 34. [Return to Text]
65. Young C. Kim, “Japanese policy towards China: politics of the imperial visit to China in 1992,” Pacific Affairs 74: 2 (2001): 225–42. [Return to Text]
66. Erica Strecker Downs and Phillip C. Saunders, “Legitimacy and the Limits of Nationalism: China and the Diaoyu Islands,” International Security 23: 3 (Winter 1998-99): 114-146. [Return to Text]
67. Chien-peng Chung, “The Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai/Senkaku Islands Dispute: Domestic Politics and the Limits of Diplomacy,” American Asian Review 16:3 (1998): 162. [Return to Text]
68. Linus Hagstrom, “Quiet power: Japan's China policy in Regard to the Pinnacle Islands,” The Pacific Review 18: 2 (June 2005): 176. [Return to Text]
69. Interview, China Institute for Contemporary International Relations (May 6, 2008). [Return to Text]
70. Protesters included Ma Yingjiu, currently President of Taiwan. Zhu Hongjun, “Haiwai baodiao 'dilingtuan' huiguo shiwei” (The Return Visit of the 'Number Zero' Overseas Baodiao Delegation) Nanfang Zhoumou (Southern Weekend), October 6, 2005: B15. [Return to Text]
71. The preceding summary draws from interviews with Chinese baodiao activists in Beijing (June 4-5, 2008). See also the summary at: http://www.1931 918.org/bbs/dispbbs.asp?boardID=220&ID=1063; Duan Ninghong, “Daoyu renshi chengli zhongguo baodiao lianhehui; Dasuan zuyong diaoyudao” (Diaoyu Leaders Establish the China Diaoyu Islands Association; Plan to Rent Diaoyu Islands) Xinjing Bao (New Beijing News), January 1, 2004, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2004-01-01/07241479415s.shtml [Return to Text]
72. David Fang, “Diaoyu activist pushes boundaries of protest,” South China Morning Post , April 13, 2004: 7. [Return to Text]
73. Wu Shan, “Zhongguo baodiao tuanti jiejian hanguo jingyan” (Chinese baodiao group borrows from the Korean experience) Qingnian Cankao (Youth Reference) May 11, 2004, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2004-05-11/14413204658.shtml [Return to Text]
74. David Fang, “700 Ask to Join Voyage to Diaoyu Islands,” South China Morning Post , March 18, 2004: 8. [Return to Text]
75. The closest the group came was on January 14, 2004. “Chinese Fishing Boats Attacked Near Diaoyu Islands,” Xinhua (January 15, 2004). [Return to Text]
76. “Japan Deported Chinese protesters Under Political Pressure,” Japan Economic Newswire , April 1, 2004.   [Return to Text]
77. Interview, Chinese baodiao activist (Beijing, June 4, 2008). [Return to Text]
78. “Waijiaobu fubuzhang Zhang Yesui 24 xiawu jiji yuejian riben dashiguan daibiao” (Deputy Foreign Minster Zhang Yesui urgently summoned Japanese Embassy Representative on the Afternoon of 24 March),” Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), March 26, 2004, http://www.people.com.cn/GB/paper464/11643/1049573.html [Return to Text]
79. “Japanese flags burn in Chinese capital” South China Morning Post , March 26, 2004. [Return to Text]
80. “Deputy Foreign Minster Zhang Yesui.” [Return to Text]
81. “Japan Deported.” [Return to Text]
82. Irene Wang and Alice Yan, “Diaoyu Islands Activists Celebrated as 'Heroes' in Beijing,” South China Morning Post , March 29, 2004. [Return to Text]
83. Several hundred supporters were waiting at the Shanghai airport to greet them; however they were hustled immediately into government cars and taken to Hangzhou before being released the next day. Interview with baodiao activist (Shanghai, July 2, 2006). [Return to Text]
84. “Beiri feifa kouliude 7 ming zhongguo gongmin anxuan huilai” (Seven Chinese Activists who were Illegally Detained By Japan Return Home) Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), March 27, 2004, http://www.people.com.cn/GB/paper464/11645/1049678.html [Return to Text]
85. “China restates Senkakus claim, but ready to talk with Japan,” Japan Economic Newswire , March 30, 2004. [Return to Text]
86. “Japan bans political group from sailing for disputed islands,” Kyodo News Service , March 25, 2004); Anthony Faiola, “Isles Become Focus for Old Antagonisms,” Washington Post (March 27, 2004): A13. [Return to Text]
87. Nailene Chou Wiest, “Souring Sino-Japanese Ties Spread to Business,” South China Morning Post (April 6, 2004): 7. [Return to Text]
88. Liu Xiaobiao, a Chinese scholar quoted in: David Fang, “Diaoyu activist,” 7. [Return to Text]
89. Renmin Ribao only provided two brief factual accounts of the incident after the activists' return had been essentially secured, both buried on page four.   PRC-controlled press in Hong Kong was similarly moderate. See : “Resolutely Safeguard Sovereignty, Soberly Deal With the Incident,” Wen Wei Po (March 25, 2004). [Return to Text]
90. Ming Pao , an independent Hong Kong paper, issued a fiery editorial attacking “China's forbearance…as cowardice,” and arguing that “Beijing should dump its policy of mollifying Japan. It should take a tough stand when dealing with matters concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity.” “Diaoyu Activists are Patriots; China Must Protect Them” Ming Pao , March 25, 2004: A4; Agnes Cheung, “H.K. protesters urge tougher Chinese stance on isle dispute,” Japan Economic Newswire (March 25, 2004). [Return to Text]
91. “Parliament panel urges prevention of illegal landing on Senkaku Isles,” Kyodo News Service , March 30, 2004. [Return to Text]
92. “Japan Has No Right to Claim Diaoyu Islands,” China Daily (April 2, 2004). [Return to Text]
93. “Diaoyu renshi Feng Jinhua deng xiang rizhuhua dashi dijiao qianzeshu” (Diaoyu Activist Feng Jinhua and Others Submit a Demand Note to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing) Xinjing Bao (New Beijing News), April 24, 2004, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2004-04-24/07533162116.shtml [Return to Text]
94. Wang Shaopu, “Jianchi cong zhanlue quanju bawo he quli zhongri guanxi” (Continue to seize and manage China-Japan relations from a comprehensive strategic perspective), in China-Japan Relations in the 21 st Century, ed. Chen Feng (Beijing: World Knowledge Press: 2006): 15.   [Return to Text]
95. “PRC, HK Media on Diaoyu Islands Situation,” China- FBIS Report, March 20, 2005. [Return to Text]
96. Zhang Tasheng, 34. [Return to Text]
97. Li Yu and Fan Shiming, “2007 Zhongri guanxi yulun diaocha baogao,” (2007 Report on Public Opinion in China-Japan Relations), presented at the Third Beijing-Tokyo Forum, Beiijing, China on August 28, 2007. [Return to Text]
98. Dongya Sanguode Jindai Lishi (Three Northeast Asian Countries' Modern History) (Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2005). [Return to Text]


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