Instapundit has provided us with pictures of the anti-Japanese riots in China. This news story quotes the Japanese government complaining that the Chinese knew well in advance that these riots were going to happen and “did nothing” to stop them. Japanese understatement at work. The official explanation is that the Chinese people are angry about Japanese textbooks. Maybe. There may be people who are upset about this. In China, however, an organized and disciplined “riot” like this is anything but a spontaneous expression of popular sentiment. The Chinese government is a hard-nosed authoritarian regime that picks and chooses who will get to have a riot and about what. A real riot would be met with immediate and lethal government force. The Chinese government decided to have “riots” after the United States bombed their embassy in Serbia, as I recall, and these were blatantly done with government cooperation and organization. The Chinese government uses “popular” violence as a way to have plausible deniability when it wants to send a violent signal to a foreign government. So why three weeks in a row of anti-Japanese riots? In this case, the Chinese government appears to be sending the Japanese business community a signal that its interests will be damaged if the Japanese government continues down the path of an anti-Chinese military alliance with the United States. China’s communists are well aware of Lenin’s dictum that the capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with. Lenin was usually right. Why fight the Japanese Navy when you can get its business people to remove it from the fight before the fight begins? Let’s see if the Japanese crack.
UPDATE: Instapundit has an update linking to the email sent around to organize the “riot”.