Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A807-W517

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A807-W517


Release Date: February 16, 2014



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part XCVIII): The Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands Crisis -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之九十八:钓鱼岛危机 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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The Way Out for China (Part XCVIII): The Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands Crisis

-- WEI, Jingsheng



Tensions between China and Japan have been raised for a while.  Talk of a war between China and Japan has been very popular.  This talk is not only popular in China, but is also very popular in Japan.  This talk puts the United States in a very awkward situation: there have been times when it expressed dissatisfaction with the provocative remarks by the Japanese government, while there have been other times it officially announced that it would defend Japan.  That results not only confused the Chinese government, but even the Japanese.


There is a group of people even adding more fuel to the fire.  They mysteriously say something like this year is exactly two Chinese sexagenary cycles after the First Sino-Japanese War, thus for sure there will be another war breaking out between China and Japan, and so on.  Just from the point of view from the news, it seems to be the case.  Since the Shinzo Abe government of Japan announced the nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands (i.e. the Senkaku Islands), the dispute between China and Japan over these islands has been continually upgraded.  The concern over the misfires of the two sides by the news media is not completely unfounded.


There are some Chinese scholars who even analyze plausibly that in the past more than one century, both risings of China were interrupted by Japan, so now is the time for revenge -- it must be and will be the time to teach "the little Japan" a lesson.  In other words, they are inciting the war fever.  On the other side, the opinion is also encouraging the war with the reasoning that the army of the Communist Party is corrupt and incompetent, comparable to the army of the Qing Dynasty during the first Sino-Japanese War.  Thus, if China gets into a war with Japan, the Communist regime will collapse like the Qing Dynasty.  In short, both those who like the Communist Party and those in opposition to the Communist regime are all agitating that there must be a war in between China and Japan.  It seems impossible not to have this war.


If we take a look at the motivation of both governments that are inciting war fever, then perhaps we will be able to analyze if this battle is avoidable or not.  The first motivation is that the Abe government of Japan intends to break the shackles of the peace constitution.  It has been deliberately and incessantly thinking of this for a long time.  It wants to use the dispute over some uninhabited little islands to create tension, to create a pretext to break the peace constitution and expand the right of self-defense.  Meanwhile, it would be able to improve its reputation in the frenzy of patriotism and so strengthen its authority in Japan.  The war-talk is one stone for two birds.


In the past, whenever the Chinese government encountered such disputes its consistent action was not to act, but with the excuse of shelving the dispute in an effort to avoid the conflict with Japan.  This time the Abe government assumed the Chinese would do the same.  Unexpectedly, this time the Xi Jinping government of China has the same need for approval of its authority.  It also needs to take advantage of the patriotic movement to improve its own reputation in China.  It treats this patriotic movement as a business without the need of investment.  But this reaction puts the Japanese government in a position without retreat.  So, the Japanese government can only take a hard stand, thus the previous notion of putting disputes aside for a joint development is broken.


When the Chinese government put up a tough stance around the disputed islands, the Japanese government was left with no room to retreat, for it would mean a crisis within its own domestic politics.  As both sides escalated, the dispute evolved into a crisis, then the crisis evolved into a danger.  What the media and observers fear is by no means groundless: a war is brewing.


Politicians on both sides are getting so angry, not really for the small islands, but with their own calculations.  The strategists of Xi Jinping think that the United States will not intervene when China enters a war with Japan, or at the most try to mediate and to persuade the two sides.  The possibility of a nuclear war with China is low.  But the advisers of Abe evaluate the internal weakness of China and think its military is slack in discipline with reduced combat capacity.  In their impression a war with Japan will jeopardize the survival of the Communist regime in China.  They think China is just bluffing without the guts to start a war.  Therefore, Japan can take the risk.


With this analysis, we realize that both sides have misjudged each other.  The political interests of the both governments have decided they cannot retreat, so both are escalating gradually and waiting for concessions from the other.  When the confrontation reaches an end without either giving in, naturally the result will be a war.  Further, with warships and fighter jets so entangled on both sides, no one could guarantee a complete control of the combat personnel at the scene.  It is possible the decisions of the highest leaders will not be followed.  In the last century, it was not the decision of the Japanese government for the Japanese army in Manchuria to launch the attack against China (the Imperial Japanese Army's Kwantung Army command-in-chief Shigeru Honjo ordered his forces to do so, in violation of orders from Tokyo).  On the Chinese side today, there is a similar risk.


So when the war breaks out, what results will both sides get?  One possibility which seems to be relatively small is the participation in the war by the United States, with the war being conducted mainly in Japanese territory and its territorial waters.  China would be defeated, but the war would unlikely be extended into the territory of China, nor it is possible for the occupation of China jointly by Japan and the USA.


However, China 's economy that is relying on the support of international trade will collapse.  Japan too will be destroyed in the war.  Only the United States will successfully realize its plans to return to Asia.  But the heavy burden of war will drag on the U.S. economy as well, which is also the reason that likely the United States would not participate in this war.


For the possibility that the U.S. will not join the war at all, the outcome would result in a continued stalemate of the war as no one would be able to win over the other, yet neither side would want to retreat.  The economy of both sides would also collapse.  The situation in Japan is not better than China.  Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist regime would also collapse, just as happened in Czarist Russia during the First World War.  The return to Asia plans of the USA would also be wasted.  None of these three sides would get a good result, but Russia, South Korea, and even North Korea could be benefited from it.  However, these benefits would only occur randomly as opportunities arise, and thus are not in the range of prediction.


Right now, the Chinese Communist regime is facing an inextricable internal crisis, thus it has a relatively strong motivation to take on the risk to initiate a war.  Regardless the outcome in reality, the war would help maintain the Communist rule of China in the minds of Communist leadership.  Further, the need for the survival of the Communist Party itself has always been above the national interest of China.  So as long as the war does not extend into Chinese territory, the Communist leaders would dare to take this risk.


Regardless whether China would have a revolution like that in Russia during the First World War, Japan will be worn down by war for sure.  It will not fit the interest of the USA if it looks unconcerned.  From the interests of all three countries China, the USA, and Japan, as well as the concern for peace in the Asia-Pacific region, we should prevent this war arising out of politicians' own interests.  The only one that could stop it is the USA.  The United States must also become a mediator between the two countries of Japan and China.


Whether the future China is to be governed by the Communist Party or democrats, this war would not be conducive to the interests of China 's development and the average Chinese.  We the Chinese people with a conscience should not rely on the fantasy of the collapse of the Communist regime through war, but to try our best to prevent this war that shall destroy the development of China, as well as the peace in Asia.  To achieve our historic duty, we would rather to fight to our own death against the Communist regime, than rely on the invasion of foreign countries to accomplish it.  Such is determined by our own conscience, as well as the stand that is determined by the self-esteem of the Chinese people.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written on February 9 and recorded on February 10, 2014.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A807-W517

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A807-W517


Release Date: February 16, 2014



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part XCVIII): The Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands Crisis - Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之九十八:钓鱼岛危机 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生










































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