Ripped From The Headlines, October 21st 2013
Every week, we will endeavor to serve our readers the juiciest yet still nourishing bits from China’s headlines over the past week. These postings will cover a plethora of topics, ranging from politics to pop-culture and economics to comics, that you won’t read from headlines in American newspapers. In this week’s round-up, we will cover Chinese perceptions of recent U.S. and Japanese foreign affairs.
Xinhua.net has an article that discusses Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent to which the United States is spying on the rest of the world and its leaders. The title of the report, “America Wants to Eavesdrop on the Whole World, the Whole World Says it Does not Agree,” says it all about the Chinese attitude towards American spying. The author of the article revels in the increasing criticism and denouncement of the United States around the world. For example, he calls the U.S. a country “that takes a ‘moral high ground’ but is now faced with the embarrassment of being knocked off the “sacred altar.” (Source)
The U.S. may be the target of criticism from the official media, but this week’s main event was the escalating rhetoric against Japan. In a stirring article that covers a Chinese Ministry of Defense press conference, one ministry official was reported to say that if Japan were to shoot down a Chinese drone, this would constitute an act of war. The official was responding to comments that Japan has a contingency plan to shoot down any unarmed Chinese aircraft should it wander into Japanese territory. “If Japan actually implemented the policy to shoot down a Chinese military unmanned aircraft, then this to me is a grave provocation, it is an act of war, we will inevitably adopt a firm measure to strike back. All actions have consequences.” (Source)
Japan and China are engaged in a high-stakes game of chicken. Each country continues to ratchet up the rhetoric against the other, while waiting for their adversary to blink. When no one blinks, they strengthen their commitments to react aggressively, thus making backing down from a volatile situation exponentially more difficult. Both sides should work out their differences on the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands before this rhetoric escalates to the point of no return.