Some Thoughts about War and History

I didn’t mention too much about this topic, but the recent discussion on Fight Between Foreigners and Local led to heated discussion, and I was touched by the depth of the thinking. Then in response to some of the comments, I talked a little bit about my thoughts about war (especially the WWII), and the recent anti-Japanese movement (which I think is a little bit out of track).

Again, I am open to your continuous input. As I always believe, the more facts and perspective we collect, the more likely we are closer to completeness (although I don’t think we can reach it.)

About Japan Text Book

@ling,

“However, I still cannot accept how the Japanese (most of them) can blatantly attempt to rewrite history and refuse to apologise.”

Where are your facts on how MOST Japanese blatantly attempt to rewrite history? If you’re talking about the revised textbooks, a vast majority of schools REFUSED to use them. Is that what you’re talking about? Also, no Japanese person who was not involved in the war of aggression (IE, basically all Japanese under the age of 65) owes ANYONE an apology. The disaster wrought upon Asia by the Japanese imperial army was a travesty, yes, but it was in the past. People shouldn’t have to apologize for crimes they didn’t commit.

Posted by: Steve on September 26, 2007 2:13 PM

@Steve, I agree with you on this part. I stood exactly the same side of the massive crowd in China before on the issue of text books in Japan, but recently, after really seeking for the truth, and I know more about the text book issue. Just as you said, it is one version out of many versions of textbook, and it is not government appointed text book (not like China). It is not widely accepted and it does not represent the majority. It is the local media itself twisted the fact and create something far from the fact.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on September 26, 2007 3:40 PM

Who is Covering the History?

@Jian Shuo

So just what are the Japanese are teaching their kids about the war ??

Is it glazed over by two sentences ? or nothing at all ?

Why are the youths always surprised when they visit sites around memorial sites around Asia regarding the war ? Why are they when told always expressed shock at what their country did ?

All I know is that when their minister commented that the bomb had to be dropped to end the war, it caused a huge uproar in their country. Why ?

Why is it that until today, more events were organised for the victims of the bomb than the people they slauthered in Asia ??

Just my 2 cents

Posted by: wonton on September 26, 2007 7:11 PM

@wonton, this is useful observation. By stating that the text book issue is not completely as many media reports, I am not saying that Japan is doing a good job. The situation you mentioned is true, since people in Japan don’t know too much about history, especially those younger generations, and about the WWII part. I think it is the right thing for other Asian countries to keep speaking loudly about what the truth of history is and showing the evidences. History makes future, and we have to be respectful to history, and let it reminds us all the way to the future.

However, I do think that we are doing a even worse job than Japan about history in China. If there are just few places mentioning wrong facts (or just ignoring the facts) in Japanese textbook, there are pages and pages of wrong facts and stories in Chinese textbook. I was also shocked (maybe even more shocked than people in Japan to see their history) to face the history of my OWN country. Talking about the China’s role in Korean war, China’s role in Anti-Vietnam War, do we know what we did outside China?

For what happened inside China in the last few decades, we know even less. Many history in China has already been burned into dust for many younger people, even the history is just as recent as 20 years. We are still using very inappropriate names to refer to our own part of the history.

Also, for the aggression of Japan into China, I believe we should focus on what is the structure of government in Japan at that time that leads to the war, what mentality leads to war, and what we can do to keep peace. We should also (both China and Japan) should re-examine what is in the current society that seems like the seeds for another war. That is the more important thing to think about.

Unfortunately, the current education about history is all about hate. The education is something like: “they killed many of our people. Let’s remind this hate forever, and never, never forgive them…” I don’t like this kind of attitude, since if this kind of hate spread widely enough, this may just leads to another war. We did exactly the opposite from what we should learn from the bloody history.

I am not thinking Japan has done enough, but that is not the excuse for us (China) to do the same thing.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on September 26, 2007 7:33 PM

Who is the Victim?

@Jian Shuo

Don’t believe everything you read.

The history of the opium war written in 1850s will be very different from the one written in 2007.

The view outside China may be different from within.

Perhaps, like you said, they are different parts of an elephant.

For example, Saddam Hussien is generally regarded as somekind of monster by many western countries. But he was able to provide peace to much of his country, and prevent sectarian bloodshed. Something the Americans were unable to do. Is the country better off now?? I’m sure from W. Bush’s point of view, I’s a great improvement. I am not saying that the killing of Kurds was an excusable crime. But whatever in Saddam’s reasons, we will never know. But it is interesting to note that even Iraq’s neighbour Turkey is afraid of them (Kurds). A hundred years from now the view might be quite different.

Stephen wrote : “Japanese Imperialism is to seek better livelihood for her nationals in the era of great depression.” Perhaps so, but it certainly does not include developing germ warfare and testing it on the vanquished, neither does it include mass killings of the Chinese throughout Asia. It would be so easy to just say ‘lets move on”

What I am concerned about the Japanese is that without an admission of responsibility and the absence of education, Imperialism will rise it’s ugly head again. Not possible ? happened twice in Germany. I don’t think there will be a third because the people did the right thing. Nazism is widely reject because of education.

I have no problems with the Japanese born either before or after the war. Most were not involved. And many responsible are dead or will be soon. But I am concerned about the tales that are spun in their popular culture turning disgrace into heroism. Celebrating the soldier’s samurai spirit, while continuing to wrap themselves as “victims” just like everyone else.

Can anyone blame China for building up it’s army and freak out everytime Japan flex it’s military might ?

Just WHO are the victims of the war ??

The bully who got slapped in return ???

@wonton, exactly. No one should fully believe in what he/she reads, no matter it is in China or outside China. However, different point of views (as stated in the book Mao or other English books by Chinese) does help me (at least) to re-think about history. That is why we need free flow of information.

I agree with the part you said about Japan. Education should be strengthen to prevent the war again. Peace is so precious. Everyone knows it, but it is harder than people’s imagination to keep it. If anyone say it is easy, look at the war everywhere, and the potential war by the inclining attitude toward war around us.

For your last question, “WHO are the victims of the war?”, my answer is (let me put disclaimer here: it may be controversial), both the Chinese people and the Japanese people are the victim of the war.

I want to say, the normal people in Japan or German are also victim of the crazy thing done by those people who control government or military. They also suffer a lot during the war. In this meaning, the people in China and Japan should stand firmly together, hand in hand, to fight against those attempt to break peace, no matter under what cause those attempt is.

I have no problem when people in Japan memorize the civilians killed in the bomb. They have the right, just as people in China have the right to hold events to memorize the our victim in the war. But I am completely offended when someone there show respect to those guys who planned and committed the aggression war! They are not only guilty to people in Asia, they are also guilty for their own people. It is those War Criminals who brought the world into war, and killed so many people in China, Korea, etc, and in Japan as well. I do want to protest if it happens.

In a war, no one is a winner. This is the fact of war. No one – both the aggressor, and the victim country – lose. It is the mentality that “war can solve all problems” that we (people in both Japan and China) are fighting against, not the people of Japan.

Just my 2 cents, and as always, I am open with more thoughts about this matter.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on September 27, 2007 1:35 PM

Any one has more facts to support or reject the thoughts?

54 Comments

  1. why carry a grudge for so many years? it is time to put that in the past and try to keep it there. Most don’t carry a grudge against the Germans for all the atrocities committed by the Nazis under Hitler during WW II.

  2. @Shrek7, do you still not understand after reading all the previous posts/comments?

    Most people have forgiven the Germans for what they did during WW II because the Germans acknowledged their misdeeds and rejected Nazism. On the other hand, the Japanese government, until now, has not admitted to most, if not all, of the atrocities the Japanese imperial army committed during WW II.

    And that is the reason why some of the war victims, until today, are still bringing up this issue. For example, just think of the “comfort women” in Korea, China and even in Japan itself. For decades, the Japanese government has refused to admit their existence during WW II. If you were one of those women, would you be able to let it go just like that? Yes, the soldiers who abused them may have died or are dying, but the Japanese government still owes these women an apology and some compensation for their suffering. Of course, it is difficult to quantify suffering, but up till now, I don’t see much effort in the Japanese government trying to make restitution in the first place.

    @all, if I have been ignorant again, please correct me. Thanks.

  3. WJS, I basically am in total agreement about the Japanese and Chinese people both being victims in WWII. The Japanese bear some responsibility for allowing their leaders to bring them to such a tragic state, but for average people the responsibility was not great and the suffering was terrible, just as it was in the countries that they victimized. But I’m afraid you can’t generalize that to all war, otherwise war wouldn’t exist. In some wars, one of the parties benefits. Look at Britain in the opium wars, or the U.S. in the Mexican war, both of which were imperialist wars in which the victor benefited at the expense of the loser.

    But it’s true that if you look at any likely wars in the near future – India/Pakistan, China/Taiwan, Korea, there will only be losers. I certainly don’t see any winners in Iraq.

    This is a good conversation and you’re providing a valuable service by hosting it.

    Regarding Japan, I don’t see any contradiction in remembering what Japan did in the past and abhorring those actions, and working with and befriending modern Japanese. No nation or people is without guilt.

  4. For many years the French also did not acknowledge or admit their collaboration with the Nazis during WW II and their participation in the arrest of many Jews who were sent to Nazi death camps.

  5. I believe the French under the French Vichy government also collaborated with the Japanese in French Indo-China back in WW II. I can understand why a lot of the Vietnamese wanted the French out of Vietnam at the close of WW II. However the French refused to leave.

  6. Hi all… I’m going to keep nice and quiet on this topic – but very interested in everyone’s posts – great topic, Jian Shuo…

    I’ll just quote an old saying – “Make love, not War!!”

  7. @AussiePB, hahahahaha. *:b *:)

  8. @Shrek7, up until today, the German government is still paying restitution to the holocaust survivors. The Japanese government, on the other hand, does not even try to acknowledge the atrocities committed by Japanese troops.

  9. @AussiePB,

    If I were you, as an Australian, I would find out what happened to those Australian prisoners when they worked on building the Thailand-Burma Railway in 1942?

    Then, you can ask any Japanese, as many as you possibly could today, what do they know about the Thailand-Burma Railroad and what do they know about the people who worked on it. If there were one, only one, Japanese would/Could give you the correct answer, then I would forgive them once for all.

    AussiePB,You owe your own people to do this!

  10. A grudge may be unnecessary. But there is always the need to be on guard against a powerful neighbor, espicially so when you got so much with him in history.

  11. A grudge against Russia may be necessary, after all, she has annexed the entire outer Manchuria from China in the last hundred years which is an area three time bigger than Japan and Chinese government recently has endorsed the border treaty.

  12. I am against war. But I am also the kind of a person who likes to argue. So for the sake of argument: are all wars bad in the world history? Isn’t there always something worth fighting for? Worth giving up your life for? If there are wars int the history that can be justified, then there have to be reasons to justify starting a new war in modern time. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year.

    If “In a war, no one is a winner” is true, then what the U.S. would be without the independence/civil war?

  13. @ILH – I don’t wish to bring up this issue with my Japanese friends or colleagues. My grandfather was a POW and worked on the railroad and survived, so I have heard his account first hand before he passed away. Granted, atrocities occurred, but I owe my people nothing… my grandfather forgave before he died – forgiveness is an integral part of christian faith, and grandpa was a devout christian, so why should I pursue ‘bad blood’?

  14. How do you forgive a person who sees no wrong in his actions ??

    Turn the other cheek ???

    How many time do we need to be slapped ??

    @AussiePB, ILH makes a good point. I read about the horrors your country’s soldiers had to endure as japanese POWs. I think many of them had not forgiven the Japs.

    I think its a terrible attitude to simply assume that the wronged individuals will die in time and no forgiveness need to be seek. It really dosen’t speak well of the conscience of Japan.

    @Jian Shou

    I am sorry I have to disagree with you.

    The statement “we were all victims” can only apply if the local population of that time in Japan objected to war. I am sure these people exist. But the problem is the majority did support it and “banzai-ed” all the way until the bombs started dropping on them. How is it possible for us to group them with the chinese who were maimed and killed ?? I am sorry but I sincerely find this grouping of “victims” highly insulting to the true victims and people who died as their POWs.

    The wound is deep and salt is added when we agree that we were ALL victims. This is a statement I expect to be issued from the Japanese but not the Chinese !

    I have not seen any sincerity on their side so what are we forgiving ???

    Their continuing denial to face the truth ??

    I can still feel the hurt in my father’s voice when he recalled how his family members suffered and died because of the japanese. Am I supposed to tell him that they are ALL victims ??? I don’t think I can do that.

  15. Too sensitive and controversial topic.

    We don’t like wars in the peaceful time, especially wars interfering other country’s affairs. All the peoples are victims.

    As for Japanese war, I can say something.

    Chinese and Japanese politics analyst had a big discussion about sino-Japan relations on the phoenix TV. I watched it and don’t feel optimistic about Japanese attitude to that history. 70% or even higher Japanese people don’t believe Japan has ever invaded China.(The statistic is surveyed by Japan not China). And there are still many chemical weapons left in China during WWII, but Japan government would do nothing about it.

    So in my opinion, as time goes by, this history will be forgotten gradually by Japanese. But should never be forgotten by our Chinese.

    Of course we can forgive, but it depends. depend on Japan’s attitude. While it seemed Japan would not like give us the chance to forgive them. They’d like to burden the guilt forever.

    Too heavy topic, is there any meaning we discuss it here?

    if any solecism or ignorance, please correct me. Thank u!

  16. @wonton – hi – cultures and religions differ – in Christianity, heaven awaits those who have the ability to forgive. :)

    History and tradition is held closer to the hearts in some cultures compared others. I have many Japanese friends who I care for very much – and so did my Grandpa before he passed away.

  17. @AussiePB

    Good for you but perhaps my heart is not great enough.

    @Elaine

    I agree that this is a heavy topic and a real downer. But It just bugs me everytime Japan expresses it’s “concerns” about China’s military build up and acts the frightened little boy in front of the US. What do you do with a neighbour like that ??

  18. Just come back from JS’s Chinese blog, very interesting!

    @wonton

    Yes, many countries also have the “concerns” about China’s military build up. But only we know it is not true.

    If we can not change others, the only thing we can do is to change ourselves. Make ourselves more powerful to avoid the history repeat.

  19. Hi all… I actually know a little about this (believe it or not – on many other subjects I’m quite ignorant – hehe) – the ‘build-up’ of China’s military is exaggerated in many countries – especially the US who claim that China is spending much more than they really are.

    The increase in spending this year is just 17.8% over last year. This was reported on March 15th at the Fifth Session of the 10th National People’s Congress. It was announced that the country’s military budget for 2007 is 350.92 billion yuan, or roughly US$44.94 billion. This marks an increase over the previous year of US$6.8 billion.

    The US DoD claim that the figure in China in 2007 is really US$90 billion (which most conservative people believe is exaggerated). It should be noted that the US expenditure this year is budgeted at US$419.3 billion!!!!!!… In terms of % of GDP (on official budgets), China is still somewhere in the vicinity of 2%, the US around 4%. So which military power should we be more concerned about??

  20. @AussiePB

    Like I said, don’t believe everything you read. :)

    Those guys are still looking for weapons of mass distraction for W. Bush !

  21. About war much has been written.

    More must yet be said

    by those who saw them die,

    so that the dead may rest,

    and sight be gained,

    to see war

    for what it was, and is:

    War is not fighting,

    though fighting’s what we see,

    nor is it death,

    for death is but it’s end.

    It is the rancor of disunited hearts,

    the death of love,

    the end of hope.

    The war around us echoes in our hearts,

    and grants it life.

    Once, mortals dared to tame

    this ancient beast,

    and yet it thrives.

    Each age must fight this force again,

    or pay it’s price.

    Wolfgang P. May

    Advisory Team Leader

    Republic of Vietnam

  22. Oh God, my eyes are getting crossed !

    Slap me and call me stupid !

    What the heck was THAT !

  23. @AussiePB,

    Just like Wonton said, How can you forgiven someone who do not even admit any wrong doing or do not even acknowledge that parts of history.

    Christianity teaches the belief that no one is perfect, and everyone is a sinner. If you have accept Jesus as your personal saver, then when you ask for forgiveness for the sins you have committed, you will be forgive. But first, you must admit you are a sinner and you have commit sins, then you have to ask for forgiveness.

    Did your grandpa ever receive an official letter from the Japanese government saying that what they did was wrong and they are sorry? Did they ask your grandpa for his forgiveness? If none of above two things have happened, and then what exactly is thing your grandpa has forgiven??

  24. @ILH… hehe – sigh, now we’re getting into a theological debate. You only got it half right… yes, as christians we have to admit to our Lord God that we have sinned and ask for forgiveness – this is very true… the other half is that we must forgive those that have sinned against us unconditionally – we ask God for forgiveness only. In light of this discussion, the Japanese people are not a Christian god, and therefore do not need to ask for our forgiveness in order for us to do so… let me explain this further so you can understand.

    The basis of all christian religions, is “The Lord’s Prayer” and what I’ve stated above is clear in the words (praying to God) “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us” (in laymen’s terms – forgive us for our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us)… this is fundamental christianity, and no matter what light you might put on it, you cannot change such a fundamental belief – to do so, would be considered blasphemous.

    Therefore, before my Grandfather passed, he asked for God to forgive him, and he forgave all and any people that wronged him throughout his life – as a result I hope that he has now entered the kingdom of heaven. :)

    I hope now you understand why I have no ‘bad blood’ or even wanted to get into dicsussion on this topic (per my original entry above) – I hope you can respect my position, as I respect yours – it’s not up to me to tell you that you are wrong, or for you to tell me I am wrong – as I also previously mentioned – we have different cultures and beliefs, let’s just leave it at that, hey??

    Take care…

  25. @shrek7, are you serious when you said most don’t carry a grudge against Germans? I grew up in a community with a strong Jewish presence, and from what I can tell many of them do still carry a grudge. One of the things I remeber very clearly was that many of the parents did not allow their children to take German as a second language in school.

  26. I agree with Elaine that this is a heavy topic, but kudos to WJS for being brave enough to host a discussion about it despite how many brick walls it might lead to.

    The local Chinese I have met who hold grudges against the Japanese almost always use the same argument as mentioned above–that the Chinese could forgive if the Japanese would just admit to the mistakes and show genuine remorse for the events that took place during the war.

    To that I have always responded the same way WJS has. The average Japanese citizen under 65 is unaware of the events that took place and historical information has been distorted or withheld. And as a result they do not seem sorry. But before the average Chinese citizen under 65 goes and blames their Japanese counterparts for their ignorance about history, he/she should also ask how much of China’s history has been distorted or withheld from him or herself. As a Chinese person, do you feel it is fair for a foreigner to hate you because the information they have about your history differs from the information you have? I have been a victim of that kind of prejudice, and I personally don’t enjoy it.

    Granted the younger Japanese and Chinese generations should take the responsibility upon themselves to learn the facts and search for the information that has been lost. I do not agree with the statement that younger generations should not feel remorse for the actions of their predecessors. Or just put the past behind them. Knowing the mistakes of those who came before you and openly admitting that they are mistakes is the only way to prevent them from happening again in the future. I only ask that, before you get all your facts straight, don’t pass judgment on others or allow other people (or governments) to manipulate you into holding a grudge or hating in such a blanket fashion. That kind of unfocused hate can only lead to more misunderstanding.

  27. (off the topic)

    @Elaine

    I am a Chinese and I concern about China’s military buildup. History has told us repeatedly that all communist powers are greedy and evil and are always ready to cheat, oppress and kill people within and beyond their countries’ borders.

  28. wars.. history are always rewrote according the the country needs…

    everybody knows that the most important thing is to make the mass, people as few politicians want… that why we teach that there is bad country leaders and good country leaders… in example, from present, bush, chavez, saddam hussein, to a recent past, pinot chez, ho chi min, to a less recent past, in china, or germany or japan, or other countries…

    the issue is a war is created fro private, corporate interests, against the will of people, didactors, leaders, and other wage war.. seating inthe their expensive chairs… and with few shamefull historian re write history according to their wills… and pass to us….

    who made more people suffer in China the War or the after war… ?

    who made more poeple suffer in Indochina, the french colonization, the savage american bombing, or the aftward ?

    history remain the same… folks pays for what politicans does…

  29. @YUT

    really? why do you have that concern? This is the last thing I may believe that China will invade other countries. Is this what you mean?

  30. It’s a fact that Red China invaded Korea (Rep of) in support DPRK.

    It’s a fact that Red China invaded Vietnam simply because it wiped out Khmer Rouge (Red China’s running dog) from Cambodia.

    I believe Red China is eager to invade Taiwan.

    I believe Red China wants to invade Japan.

    I believe Red China wants to invade the US.

  31. @Elaine

    Bet you are sorry you ask huh ?

  32. @wonton

    yes, you are right. I’m thinking of how to take back my questions. LOL

    @YUT

    That can not convince me. There maybe many things behind that you and I can not reach. Let’s go and see.

  33. Today’s China is everything but “Red”!

    China does not need to invade Taiwan!

    Sorry yut, You will not live long enough to see other two invadtions.

  34. Recently, due to the military crackdown on Buddhist monks and other civilian protestors in Myanmar, I’ve started reading up more on Myanmar and also Darfur in Sudan. Then, I realised that China has a part to play in the military government in these two places. Seems like China has been supplying arms and military aircraft to Myanmar and Darfur because China has vested interest in them.

    The violence that has been going on in Myanmar for the past few days (weeks??) has been plain horrible. You can visit these two blogs for updates from two Burmese who are in Myanmar:

    http://niknayman.blogspot.com/ (Burmese version)

    http://www.ko-htike.blogspot.com/ (English translation)

    By the way, I’ve read somewhere that it is not China’s responsibility alone, but the Western world (Europe, US etc) have responsibilities too. I agree that it is not fair of Westerners to put the responsibility solely on China to stop the violence in Myanmar and Darfur. However, China should at least stop supplying arms and other military equipment to the government in Myanmar and Darfur.

    What do the citizens of China think of all this?

    Feeling very sad and sorry for the victims of the military crackdown in Myanmar,

    Ling *:~(

  35. @YUT

    Red China is eager to invade Taiwan? Excuse me. Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, OK?!

    Currently, one side is PRC the other side is RoC. PRC currently represents CHINA in UN. PRC+ROC=CHINA (Now a lot of people possibly will not agree with what I say abt the existing ROC part, but I am simply stating the reality…)

  36. @Jianshuo, I tried to post a comment last night but the system said that it required your approval. Was it because it contained urls? Thanks.

  37. @Ling, you are right, and I have approved the comment – this is the way we fight back against spam.

  38. @Fujianren

    Red China is the mainland; the very island across the strait is called Taiwan. Yes, I believe the mainland is finding (and creating) every excuse to invade Taiwan.

    By the way, to be independent or united is not something pre-determined by someone, but should be decided by the interest of the people related. It should be open to study, discussion, and even more. European countries united, and some day in future it may break up again–but I am pretty sure to be united best reflects European people’s interest today.

  39. @Ling

    What do you mean by vested interest ?

    I think currently China has a vested interest in being friends with everybody.

    Just because it sold arms to the government don’t mean it is endorsing them for beating up their own people. There is nothing wrong with selling weapons. Every country needs them for protection. I heard that even Singapore sold weapons to them.

    What is the Asean organisation doing ? why did it allow this loopy government to join it the first place ??

    I am not thrilled by what is happening in Burma now, but you may notice that there were in fact some restraint by the police/army. Batons and rubber bullets (similar to the type used by the Israelis) were used.

    Frankly, I think they should reinstate Aung San Suu Kyi. She won the elections fair and square.

    The Burmese are peace loving people that is why they were willing to put up with all the nonsense for so long. So much so that the protest were basically a peaceful walk across town.

    If it’s in Korea or Japan, the protesters whould have firebombed the army.

  40. @wonton, actually I’m not quite sure what ASEAN does in the first place. I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to politics and world affairs (as most Singaporeans are), and only in recent months have I started broadening my horizon to understand the world (and my own country) better.

    Batons and rubber bullets? Please visit the two blogs I listed in my previous comment to see how brutal the Myanmar military is with the protestors and civilians. I felt so sick seeing part of a student’s brain on the ground in one of the photographs.

    Hmm, wow, I didn’t know that Singapore sold weapons to the Myanmar military government too. Is this true???

    By the way, speaking of war and history, recently I’ve also read of how the China government treated the Tibetans (are they same as Mongolians?).

    After reading too much about politics within a few days, I have only one conclusion so far – “Power corrupts”.

  41. Every country will have it’s own version of what is “true” Singapore is no exception.

    China considers Tibet a part of it’s territory. This is non negotiable. How it deals with pro-independant factions is an internal affair. If they need to be punished, so be it. Tibet is a poor region and China has made big investments there for the betterment of the people. I doubt the Dalai Lama can do better. OK, perhaps they might be “spiritually happier” but you can’t satisfy hunger with that. You think goodwill from countries entertaining the Dalai Lama can built the railway connection ??

    There are many countries who would like to see China break up in little pieces. Mongolia was lost. What next ? Taiwan ?, Tibet ? Xinjiang ?

  42. Just my thoughts on this – I don’t think any comparisons can be drawn between Tibet/China and the current situation in Myanmar (nee Burma)… this is not about pro-independance, it is about what’s right or wrong, just or unjust in relation to basic human rights. The current government have retained power unjustly.

    As far as ASEAN is concerned (of which Singapore is currently the leader), their hands are tied on this matter as far as ‘real’ action is concerned. This is well documented day-by-day in the newspapers here… the Myanmar protest groups and peoples’ voice in support of the victims in Myanmar is growing stronger every day in Singapore. This is the hottest topic in the media right now here, and there is much information available around the actual events, ASEAN’s involvement and ability to act, global action, etc etc.

    @wonton – hi – as far as the police in Myanmar military and police using ‘restraint’ – this is just incorrect. Many innocent people are getting seriously injured and killed in the most horrible ways. Shootings, stabbings, bashings, just to name a few methods… and not a few people – hundreds… and, I might add that innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire – people not even involved in the protests. The videos and pictures available across all forms of media (inc. the internet) are gut-wrenching.

    Now that the UN has stepped in, let’s hope that some resolution to the issues is forthcoming, and in the meantime let’s pray for the victims and their famlies of this horrible tragedy that the govt will cease the violence and offer basic human rights to the people of Myanmar. No one deserves this kind of treatment.

    Finally – it is a good thing that Myanmar has joined ASEAN – although ASEAN are powerless to do much now, overtime the group of nations will finalize the human rights agreements put forward and currently agreed upon by all but two countries, which means that next time this sort of infingement of human rights can and will be acted upon by ASEAN.

    Anway, they are my thoughts on this – let’s pray for the victims.

  43. @AussiePB

    It is possible there were many who were injured or even killed.

    But so far, all I have seen are clips showing the killing of the Japanese newsman. All the rest showed people scattering about, police firing in to air, and wacking them (sometimes on the head) with what looked like bamboo sticks.

    There were some pictures of injured people, and footwear all over the streets.

    Even the on sites supporting the people showed the same thing. I may not have the true picture yet, but the figures seemed exaggerated.

    Sorry but I am always a little skeptical about western news reports. As far as I am concerned, the weapons of mass destruction so widely reported turned out to be bogus. Yellow journalism is still alive and there are still many Randolf Hearst types around. China have fallen victim many a times by sensationalized reporting.

    I would like to state though, that I don’t support the actions of the current Burmese government.

    The people deserve the freedoms denied by the military for so many years.

  44. @wonton, have you checked out the two blogs I mentioned previously? Those two blogs were created by Burmese who are still in Myanmar now. They’re risking their lives to update the world with the latest news of the situation. If they get caught, I believe they may get arrested or even tortured to death for spreading the truth. Please read the English version and then say if the figures are exaggerated or not. If anyone’s lying, it’s the Myanmar military with their state-controlled news. Do you know that they even send protestors who are heavily injured but not yet dead straight into the crematorium??? And many monks have been literally beaten to death.

    Meanwhile, people in many countries were allowed to protest against the Myanmar government, but in Singapore, the peaceful protestors were asked by the Singapore police to leave the Myanmar embassy. There was also a policeman filming the entire incident, and recording each person’s face individually. I’m really furious that the police force can be that insensitive at a time when others are grieving and protesting for their own countrymen. They were not even shouting. They were just holding up a few small placards and lighting up candles on the floor. Sigh…..!!!!!!

  45. @Ling

    I might be missing something because I did visit the two sites. I can’t read Burmese and of the clips I saw, I have not seen the bloodbath everyone seems to be talking about. Like I said, Don’t believe in everything you read.

    I am not saying that what was claimed did not happened.

    But I know that there are always two sides in a story and the truth is usually somewhere in between. Remember that as far as freedom is concerned, the Burmese is never this close to getting international support for their cause. It is in their interest to play up their agony and hope for intervention. Of course on the flip side, the Junta would want you to believe that there were only minor injuries and one “accidental” death.

    Let us not forget that foreign press coverage of Singapore is not always kind.

    HOWEVER , based on your account, I guess they were right after all, Singapore is not as democratic as what it’s government claims. While most citizens there disagree with the opposition’s accusation of the lack of freedom and the “climate of fear”, I have to wonder the purpose of the police’s filming people’s faces.

    Like I said, the truth is somewhere in between.

    Hope you understand what I’m trying to put across.

  46. Hehe – who posted this last one?…. @Ling? I think must be wonton… hope you’re well mate. On this one, I think @Ling is right on the mark… it’s not a case of ‘bad press’… I’ve been travelling everywhere, and the international media has the same reports and footage of the atrocious acts in all countries I’ve been recently… I hope the leaders of the junta go through the same sort of torture that they are putting there own countrymen through… it’s unbelievable the things they are doing – and getting away with it while the whole world watches on!!

    Having said that – I do however, completely understand your position and comments… :)

  47. Heh heh, sorry bout that.

    I tried looking up Myanmar on youtube. Not much there, same clip of people dashing everywhere and the military fellas wacking them with sticks.

    But I did see some really offensive clip of the wedding of the general’s daughter. It’s just disgusting how these people can live like that while the people suffer. Seems like the only fat people around are those with army connections.

    I think the Asean can do much more than just issuing communiques. If even the people in Singapore are not allowed to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Myanmar, how motivated is the Government ??

  48. @wonton, hahaha, why did you signoff as “@Ling”? You must have been too tired or distracted when signing off. Heehee. Or is my name so nice you decided to use mine instead, heehee. *:D

    Anyway, I too, understand your comments on Myanmar, although my stand is the same as AussiePB’s on this one. As for how motivated my government is in helping to restrain the Myanmar military government, I think the answer is just too obvious for all to see. Yes, some of us question our pledge which goes like this, “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.”

    Btw, I hope I don’t get into trouble for saying so much. Perhaps there is no climate of fear. Maybe I’m just paranoid… sigh.

  49. @AussiePB, when you said “On this one, I think @Ling is right on the mark… “, were you referring to me or “@Ling” aka wonton. Heehee *:)

  50. @Ling

    Ideals as nice only when there is a sincere attempt to acheive it. Otherwise they are meaningless.

    An anal retentive government may tell you that they are opening up. But if you look carefully, you may still see their finger stuck in their arse even though you hear farting.

  51. @wonton – hehe… I love that analogy…

  52. While it would be nice to believe that a particular country holds the interests of its citizens at heart, I am afraid that best intentions notwithstanding, governments slowly coalesce into totalitarian regimes, no matter where you are. It’s just a matter of time. The less people fight it, the quicker. But slowly, slowly, you’ll see countries inching towards police statehood.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    Which is why I am human first, a citizen of my nation second. Don’t let your government mislead you, whether you are British, American, Chinese, Australian, anything.

  53. heh heh…the words of a traitor.

  54. One thing for sure:

    – japan is quilty for aggression to china.

    – china’s war on Korean and Viet, is simply ideology wars. it’s different if you

    compared to japan aggression to control china.

    vietnam and North korea this day controlled fully by themselves.

    have any report on China make comfort women and slave on North Korean or

    Vietnam people? u must be joking.

    – china must strong to overcome past situation of being bullied by other

    nations. end of topic.

    – if japan nowadays very frighten of china’s vengeance, simply because of point

    above. they were QUILTY thats why they very afraid of Vengeance.

    – taiwan independence is simply stupid, its a separatism, which if happened,

    the happiest side will be japan, west, etc which again, want china weak,

    easy to divide, back to level of weakness of later Qing dynasty chaos.

    – taiwan independence is wasting islands resources for nothing, only pleased

    japan and west to keep buying their expensive weapons.

    – china people need to gather in one voice. from slave to respected human

    being equal to those west-japan people. one small and narrow minded, easily

    to become ‘others-interest’ walking dog. think bigger!

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