Tags: Chinese | Working | Block | Japan | From | U.N.

Chinese Working to Block Japan From U.N.

Tuesday, 05 April 2005 12:00 AM

The reported number of signers is more than a quarter of the 87 million Chinese people the government says use the Internet. The true number of people can't be known for sure, because a user could easily click the signature button thousands of times.

But the petition's angry tone reflects widespread anti-Japanese sentiment among younger Chinese. And it has been publicized by news reports in a system where the Communist Party controls all media, suggesting official approval and the possibility that Beijing might cite the petition for support in opposing Japan's accession to the Security Council.

The permanent members — China, the United States, Russia, France and Britain — have veto power, and China regards Japan as its main rival in East Asia. It also could be reluctant to lose its position as the only permanent Asian member.

Tong Zeng, a leader among China's passionate and well-organized anti-Japan activists, insists China must veto Security Council membership for Japan.

"How can a nation that has never apologized for its barbaric behavior gain the trust of the international community to be a Security Council member?" he said. "A country like this in the Security Council would be a huge threat to world peace."

Communist leaders promote Internet use for business and education. But they try to block access to sites abroad run by dissidents, human rights groups and organizations such as the banned Falun Gong spiritual group. An Internet petition demanding, say, an investigation into the crushing of the pro-democracy movement at Tiananmen Square in 1989 would be unlikely to reach the average Chinese Web surfer.

Censors have even shut down some anti-Japanese sites in the past, depending on the diplomatic climate of the moment, but also for fear that they might morph into platforms for attacking the Chinese government.

China's education system, state media and monuments like the one in Nanjing, the eastern city formerly known as Nanking, keep alive resentment of Japanese atrocities.

The memorial commemorates the victims of a 1937 rampage of murder, rape and looting by Japanese troops, an event also known as the Rape of Nanking. China says as many as 300,000 people were killed.

Japan's campaign for a permanent council seat — which carries the right to veto U.N. actions — gained new momentum last month with reforms proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan that could add six new permanent members and three non-permanent members.

Brazil, Germany, India, Nigeria and South Africa are also likely candidates.

Beijing hasn't said how it would vote, but when asked, Chinese spokesmen repeatedly invoke Japan's war record. They say the government has "taken note" of the petition.

"China's government has never clearly expressed itself on the issue and will keep saying that consensus is needed," said Chu Shulong, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

But the petition at www.china918.net could make it harder for Beijing to accept a compromise without provoking public anger, forcing it to oppose the entire reform package.

The petition will "give the government some pressure," Chu said.

The communists stake their claim to power on their guerrilla war against Japanese invaders dating to the 1930s.

Japanese leaders have apologized for the war and expressed concern about what they see as growing anti-Japanese feelings among Chinese. But Chinese bitterness is regularly roused by incidents such as visits by Japanese politicians to a Tokyo shrine honoring dead soldiers, including executed war criminals.

Many Chinese have been outraged by new Japanese history textbooks that Beijing says play down Japan's aggression and say of the Nanjing massacre that its "true nature remains in dispute."

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The reported number of signers is more than a quarter of the 87 million Chinese people the government says use the Internet. The true number of people can't be known for sure, because a user could easily click the signature button thousands of times. But the petition's...
Chinese,Working,Block,Japan,From,U.N.
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2005-00-05
Tuesday, 05 April 2005 12:00 AM
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