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9-24 and 9-18: 此一时彼一时 September 27, 2010

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Global Affair.
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A simple headline on New York Times on 9-24-2010 didn’t say much about the now famous Diaoyudao incident 钓鱼岛事件 “diao4 yu2 dao3 shi4 jian4” between China and Japan which started 17 days ago on 9-7-2010:

Japan Retreats With Release of Chinese Boat Captain

You have dig it a little deeper to find the details which appears in the first paragraph. It reads:
“A diplomatic showdown between Japan and China that began two weeks ago with the arrest of the captain of a Chinese trawler near disputed islands ended Friday when Tokyo accepted Beijing’s demands for his immediate release, a concession that appeared to mark a humiliating retreat in a Pacific test of wills.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/world/asia/25chinajapan.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
The key words of this article are: “humiliating retreat.”
Every Chinese in the world should be proud of this moment because 79 years almost to this date another headline  appeared on many Chinese newspapers:
九一八事变
“jiu3 yi1 ba1 shi4 bian4”
The Incident of September 18

On September 18, 1931, a Japanese army first lieutenant by the name of Suemori Komoto placed some explosives about 6′ from a section of the railway tracks of  South Manchuria Railway (owned by a Japanese company) near the city of Shenyang and detonated it at 10:20 PM on that evening.
The detonation did no damage to the tracks except a small hole on the side of a track. But the Japanese Army accused China of instigated the incident and gave Japanese an excuse to attack the city of Shenyang the next day. By the end of 9-19-1931, Japanese army had occupied the city of Shenyang and killed 500 Chinese soldiers. During the fighting over the next five months, Japan occupied Northern China and established a puppet government.
In the following 6 years, Japan invaded China in multiple occasions:
  • 一二八事变 in 1932 resulting in forbidding China deploy its own troops in the city of Shanghai.
“yi1 er1 ba1 shi4 bian4” “The January 28 Incident”
  • 長城抗戰 “zhanf2 cheng2 kang4 zhan4” “The Great Wall War” in 1933 which resulted in the occupation of  the province of 熱河 “Rehe”  by Japan.

“zhang2 cheng2 kang4 zhang4” or defense of the Great Wall

  • 華北特殊化 “hua2 bei3 te4 shu1 hua4” or Specialization of Northern China which established several tribal governments in northern China  friendly to the Japanese government.

“hua2 bei3 te4 shu1 hua4”

  • The signing of The He-Umezu Agreement in 1935 demanding Kuomintang ceasing all political activities in and withdrawing all military forces from the province of Hebei 河北.

梅津・何応欽協定 “mei2 jing1 ・he2 ying4 qin1 xie2 ding4”

  • The establishment of 蒙古軍政府 “meng2 gu3 jun1 zheng4 fu3” or The Mongol Military Government by the Japanese government in the province of  察哈尔 “Cha1 ha1 er3” in northern China on May 12, 1936,

All these humiliating incidents culminated into the invasion of China and  the eight year war between China and Japan, the so-called

八年抗戰.” “ba1 nian1 kang4 zhang4.”

Although the war ended in the total surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces, the preceding humiliating events left a bitter taste in my mouth as I learned recent histories of China when I was a small boy in the elementary school.

You see, China was often called a 纸老虎 “zhi3 lao3 hu3,” or Paper Tiger, by foreign countries and Chinese people are described as “东亚病夫 dong1 ya3 bing4 fu1″ or The sick men of Eastern Asia by foreign newspapers.
I knew from early on that China, our country, has to be strong militarily to fend off foreign invasions. Without a strong arm force, China was like a piece of meat on a chopping block. Any country with a strong navy could come and take a piece of China.
The recent leaders of China are no doubt good students of  Chinese history since 战争鸦片 “ya1 pian4 zhan4 zheng1,” or The Opium War, and multiple conflicts between China and Japan.
I have no doubt that they also know that a strong China is essential to rid off once and for all the humiliating images of China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
I am proud of What China can do now against the unreasonable action of the Japanese government on Diaoyu Island. I also  want to tell the Japanese government that you shouldn’t act as a puppy of the United States. The United States uses Japan as a small and insignificant pawn, the so-called  马前卒 “ma3 qian1 zu2,’ or the pawn in front of the Knight, in its futile effort to block the now much stronger and powerful China.
Well, with five thousand years of history behind us, Chinese also has a saying to describe this:
此一时, 彼一时
“ci3 yi1 shi2, bi3 yi1 shi2”
This time is different from the last.
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