To the Japanese Ambassador in relation to recent anti-Japanese riots in Beijing.

Essay by Keir October 2005

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First Secretary,

Please forgive my writing this in English. I am the Head of the Humanities Department here at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Centre and I am writing to register my deep concern over the disturbances I saw last night. I consider such violence an indictment upon this government that incites hatred against an ethnic minority to mask its own domestic problems and isdeological emptiness, and then stands back as the flames are fed; all the while accepting the invaluable aid your country has provided as is evidenced by the very compound my students work in.

In my class I deal with the Manchurian invasion and the issue of Japanese textbooks ignoring, excusing, or even justifying atrocities committed over 60-70 years ago. However, I always seek to put such incidents in context, such as how the concern about the massacre at Najing being labelled an 'incident' mirrors this country's army committing an 'incident' 15 years ago against its own people.

Indeed, this is a country that, without an ideology that commands the respect of its people, seeks to control its people through nationalism which it at the same time condemns. It is this hypocrisy that last week blocked ALL foreign websites from my school so that students (nearly all from abroad and require such sites as hotmail to keep in touch with their families) would be kept ignorant of the atrocities the CCP has committed against its own people since 1949 (my geography students register disbelief when I inform them of the 30 million dead with 3 years of the 'Great Leap Forward') while regurgitating the history it selectively uses.

I also use my history classes to explain the concern among Chinese about Japan seeking admission into the UN security council. Many of my students are Chinese and...