China Aims To Safeguard Its Oil Imports

March 16, 2009

China Aims To Safeguard Its Oil Imports
The Wall Street Journal
07 October, 2005

BEIJING (AP)– China is taking new measures to safeguard its rising oil imports from disruption by hostile forces, analysts say, putting teeth into a high level directive from President Hu Jintao.

In November 2003 Hu told a major economic conference the country had to adopt a revised strategy to deal with the possibility that foreign countries might try to control the Straits of Malacca, the funnel for 80% of Chinese oil imports, mostly from the Persian Gulf and West Africa .

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Hu said the strategy was necessary because “some big countries attempted to control the transportation channel at Malacca.”

Xinhua did not elaborate, but the U.S. is the only power with sufficient naval forces to enforce a blockade of the 900-kilometer waterway that borders Malaysia , Singapore and Indonesia .

The U.S. denies it has any intention of blocking Chinese access to the Straits of Malacca. It says the key threat in the area comes from pirates and other rogue elements disrupting commercial shipping.

Analysts say a key element in the new Chinese strategy is to conclude oil import deals with neighboring Russia and Kazakhstan , consigning shipments to overland pipelines, exempt from the threat of naval disruption.

Under a proposed deal with Russia , China would obtain 1.6 million barrels per day from prospective fields in east Siberia .

The oil would move by pipeline to the major distribution center at Daqing in China ’s northeast.

Japan is pressing Russia to construct the pipeline to a Russian Pacific port for onward shipment to Japan and South Korea , but Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said the preferred option was northeast China .

The Kazakhstan deal involves the construction of a 200,000 barrel per day line to move Kazakh oil to western China ’s Xinjiang province. The line is expected to be completed in December, and should supplies become sufficient, capacity could be doubled.

In 2004 China imported about 3 million barrels of oil per day, mostly from the Middle East . Projections for 2010 range from 5 million to 10 million barrels a day.

Kuen Woon Paik, a researcher at Chatham House, a London think tank, said the principal imperative of the Russian and Kazakh deals is to give China new sources of oil supply, but their exemption from maritime disruption is obviously a key selling point for a worried Chinese leadership.

“As China increases oil imports the safety of its transport links is going to become increasingly important for it,” he said. “For that reason it will feel very comfortable with the Russian and Kazakh lines. They will really help it a lot.”

However, Paik said, Russian and Kazakh oil shipments will constitute a minority of in the expected increment in China ’s future oil imports.

“The dependence of China on Middle Eastern crude is very high and will continue to be so,” he said. “This means the security of the Malacca Strait is going to be a very high Chinese priority.”

Some commentators maintain that China is already moving to secure its Middle Eastern supply chain, developing a “string of pearls” of bases and alliances between the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Malacca, just to the south of its major oil ports.

Major elements in the chain, they say, include a new naval base in the Pakistani port of Gwadar , an electronics listening site on a Burmese island near Malacca’s western approach, and substantial investment in upgrading the operational readiness of the Chinese navy.

The commentators say the Chinese strategy is motivated by increasing friction between Washington and Beijing over trade and strategic issues, and the expectation that the U.S. would attempt to cut off Chinese oil supplies in response to any Chinese move against Taiwan , the self-governing island from which it split amid civil war in 1949.

Robert Karniol, the Asia-Pacific editor of Jane’s Defense Weekly said China is moving rapidly to increase the quality of its navy, but doubts its ability to fend off an American naval challenge, even in the long term.

Karniol acknowledges stepped up Chinese construction activity in Burma , Pakistan , and elsewhere along the Middle East oil supply route, but says it’s still too early to conclude that the main purpose is military.

“It’s unclear whether there is a strategic quid pro quo here, or if the construction is basically commercial,” he says.

David Zweig, director of the Hong Kong-based Center on China ’s Transnational Relations, says China ’s navy is pressing for an increased role in safeguarding the country’s energy transportation links, but that no final decision has been made by the country’s military or political leaders.

“We have seen some reports about Chinese development of high speed ships to come to the aid of (oil) tankers in trouble,” he says. “But there is still no serious effort to expand the navy to patrol in the Straits of Malacca.”

Zweig said that rather than planning on a confrontation with the U.S. over oil shipments, China should work with it and the states of the Straits of Malacca area to develop transportation protocols that would benefit everyone.

He said intelligent action by Washington could do much to reduce Chinese fears about a potential oil blockade.

“The U.S. should invite China to watch how it patrols the area,” he said. “That would do much to increase their sense of security because it would show them that the U.S. has no intention of limiting Chinese access there.”


Hong Kong’s (un)happy anniversary

March 16, 2009

Hong Kong’s (un)happy anniversary
Gary LaMoshi
Asia Times Online
29 June, 2005

HONG KONG - For the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens who marched in anti-government protests during the past two years to mark the anniversary of the July 1, 1997 handover to Chinese sovereignty, the situation on this anniversary would likely have been embraced as an acceptable response to their pleas.

Article 23, the dreaded security law proposal that prompted a half-million people to march in 2003, has fallen off the radar. Hong Kong’s economy has rebounded from six years of serial recessions to show modest growth. Unemployment has eased off record highs to a 43-month low, and property prices have rebounded. The Legislative Council chosen last year includes, amid its pro-Beijing majority thanks to a rigged electoral system, two of the most outspoken critics of the mainland’s heavy hand in Hong Kong affairs.

Most importantly, hopelessly miscast chief executive Tung Chee-hwa has resigned into well-earned oblivion. Donald Tsang took over in March, boasting favorable poll ratings of 70%. Yet as anniversary presents go, Beijing’s gift of Tsang to Hong Kong is more like a steam iron than an diamond pendant.

“Tsang is popular because he is not Tung. He was born and raised in Hong Kong and is a Hong Kong person, Cantonese speaker, to the core,” says Michael DeGolyer, director of the Hong Kong Transition Project at Hong Kong Baptist University. “He is the son of a policeman who joined the civil service in 1967, a year the leftists were trying to bring the Cultural Revolution to Hong Kong. The people think he is one of them; he claims he is.”

Lukewarm welcome
Yet many experts see trouble ahead for the man with the trademark bow ties, despite his uncontested endorsement as chief executive from the mainland-backed 800-member election committee. Beijing’s decision to limit Tsang’s initial tenure to the remaining two years of Tung’s term may prove a welcome escape hatch for all sides.

Beijing’s choice of Tsang seemingly represents a great leap forward in its thinking about how to handle Hong Kong. After all, Tsang was a key member of the final colonial team as Hong Kong’s first Chinese financial secretary, a service that won him a knighthood. He’s also a devout Catholic, while Beijing preaches atheism more consistently than communism.

Hong Kong’s pro-mainland parties were initially incensed that the chief executive post didn’t go to one of their own, but fell into line behind Beijing’s choice. “The question that everyone is asking is: who is Donald Tsang beholden to?” reports Christine Loh, who left the Legislative Council to head the public-policy think-tank Civic Exchange. “Who really promoted him?”

But as is the case with so much about Tsang and his appointment, there may be less here than meets the eye.

Magnate to mandarin
DeGolyer sees similar thinking behind Beijing’s choices of Tung and Tsang. “Tung was an attempt to leave ‘capitalist’ Hong Kong in charge of [those] who the mainlanders thought ran it anyway, the capitalists. Unfortunately, a business and a society are very different creatures and need to be run very differently. Now they know that and have given it back to the ones they think were really running Hong Kong - not the tycoons, but the bureaucrats.

“But both assumptions rest on false premises,” DeGolyer adds. “Hong Kong today is not the same as colonial Hong Kong, and the dynamics then which kept the populace quiet are very different today.”

Beijing’s change in leadership from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao may have prompted a new tack, David Zweig, director of the Center for China’s Transnational Relations at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, says, since Jiang had handpicked Tung for the job. Tsang may have won over the new leadership with a key trait that Beijing prizes. “He serves his bosses well,” Zweig observes. “When Tung wanted no movement on democracy, he accepted the idea of very slow progress.”

DeGolyer elaborates, “Tsang, in charge of constitutional reform, toed the Tung line, defended it vigorously, and never let on he did not agree wholeheartedly with it, even after he became a ‘politician’ with the implementation of the ministerial system in July 2002. As a civil servant, doing so is one thing; as a ‘politician’ doing that is quite another. So Democrats do not know if Tsang is trustworthy and do not know really what his own stance is. They suspect he is far too capable and willing to implement orders, rather than being like a true politician, one who manipulates and maneuvers to shape himself to, as well as shape as much as possible to his favor, public demands.”

Tsang missed a chance to shape himself and public demands with a cautious election platform that did not include any proposals for expanded democracy, such as a timetable for universal suffrage of the full legislature and chief executive. While adopting the trappings of a democratic electoral campaign with a bow tie as its symbol, Tsang refused to debate rival candidates.

Superiority complex
Worse, Tsang’s platform advocated what Loh calls “old-style, colonial-bureaucrat policies”. DeGolyer notes, “[Tsang] has the usual Hong Kong bureaucrat’s superiority complex (a la the old mandarins) - they believe they are the smartest [people] in the room and if not, they know more about X (whatever it is) than anyone else.” Hong Kong politicians seem the coolest toward Tsang, and former legislator Loh points out, “They have some sense what he is really like.”

Tsang’s selection reflects a failure of Hong Kong’s political parties on all sides to produce a plausible alternative. “They have continued to let people down,” Zweig says, noting the parties are not respected in either Beijing or Hong Kong due to feeble platforms and a lack of charismatic figures. “Sir Donald has benefited from their weakness.”

A recent poll found that the most popular figure to oppose Tsang was Anson Chan, his predecessor as Hong Kong’s top civil servant until retiring in 2001. The real keys to her popularity may be that she has assiduously avoided party politics and has been largely out of the public eye for four years.

Hong Kong’s real failure isn’t its political parties, but its political system. Thoroughly practical Hong Kong people recognize there’s little point in having a credible opposition candidate without an opportunity to win. “Beijing is not ready for any competition,” Loh says. “As long as it stays like that, Tsang or whoever is the anointed one, can hardly be tested in open debates.”

Tsang may have been the best possible choice under current circumstances as a figure acceptable to both Beijing and Hong Kong. But on this eighth anniversary of the transfer to Chinese sovereignty, the celebrants are weary of those limiting circumstances.

Gary LaMoshi has worked as a broadcast producer and print writer and editor in the US and Asia. Longtime editor of investor rights advocate eRaider.com, he’s also a contributor to Slate and Salon.com.


Wealth gap threatens stability in China

March 16, 2009

Wealth gap threatens stability in China
Prof. David Zweig
Daily Telegraph
23 Auguest, 2005

China risks social meltdown within five years because of the stresses provoked by its economic boom, government officials were warned yesterday.

The country was now in a “yellow-light” zone, the second most serious indicator of “social instability”, according to an official report focusing on the growing gap between rich and poor.

“We are going to hit the red-light scenario after 2010 if there are no effective solutions in the next few years,” said the report, commissioned by the labour and social security ministry.

As if to bear out its warnings, police admitted that rioting had broken out in a town in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the latest in a wave of violent protests in the region. Buildings and police cars were set alight in clashes led by parents who accused a battery factory of giving their children lead poisoning.

Such unrest is now common in many Chinese towns, often triggered by protests against the mixture of corruption and environmental degradation that the dash for development has brought.

The increased publicity given to them - the labour ministry’s findings were reported in the state-owned China Daily - is a sign of growing government anxiety.

The national leadership, under President Hu Jintao, which came to power two years ago made the plight of the poor its rallying cry and announced the abolition of rural taxes.

But it has proved unable to prevent the exploitation of China’s manufacturing boom by local officials eager to bolster both their standing and their bank balances.

Han Dong-fang, a Chinese labour rights activist in Hong Kong, said Beijing’s prophecies of doom appeared to be exacerbating local corruption. “For the moment, the officials have positions and economic power,” he said. “They feel they have to hurry up, because otherwise they will lose their last chance to grab what they can.”

Ever since market-oriented economic reforms were launched more than 25 years ago, the old Maoist notions of equality have disappeared. Ironically, standard measures of wealth disparity now rank “communist” China as far more unequal than its old adversary, capitalist Taiwan.

The National Bureau of Statistics says that rural incomes last year averaged £200 a head, less than a third of average urban incomes. And the wealth gap appears to be widening. Figures released yesterday showed that while China’s gross domestic product grew by more than nine per cent last year, rural incomes rose by only four to five per cent.

In the latest local protest, up to 70 people in Mei-shan, Zhejiang, were reported injured after police waded into protesters with batons and tear gas. When police later returned to arrest ringleaders, some locals went on a rampage, setting light to the battery factory, breaking into government offices and burning police cars.

The public security ministry recently admitted that there were 74,000 protests of this sort last year, up from 30,000 the year before. Ominously, Chinese authorities announced last week the setting up of special riot squad units to counter local protests, which officials bracketed with terrorism as an enemy of stability.

 

Prof David Zweig, a political scientist at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who has studied labour unrest in China, said the latest government warning was “aimed at the cadres, saying if you don’t smarten up we are in big trouble.

“The slogan, ‘Lighten the burden on peasants’, was first put forward in 1978. So how effective have their policies been?”


Acrimony Grows in East Asia Festering Grievances Split China, Japan

March 16, 2009

Acrimony Grows in East Asia Festering Grievances Split China, Japan
Kathleen E. McLaughlin
Chronicle Foreign Service
14 April 2005

Shanghai — The current political turmoil between China and Japan may have begun with a controversial textbook, but with grievances on both sides mounting daily, there are fears that it could grow considerably worse.

In the latest move, labeled a “provocation” by China, Japan began opening up applications Wednesday for companies to explore for natural gas in a part of the East China Sea that China claims as its own.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Beijing has lodged a protest with Tokyo and will “retain the right to make further reaction,” the official Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday night.

That is just the latest protest the two governments have filed with each other over the past few days, and it comes in the wake of violent anti- Japanese demonstrations that have been staged throughout China, with the apparent approval of the Beijing government.

The protests were sparked last week by Japan’s approval of a history textbook that critics say minimizes Chinese casualties and plays down Japanese abuses in the 1930s and 1940s during the occupation of China.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the natural gas decision had nothing do with the demonstrations, but earlier this week a spokesman for Japan’s Foreign Ministry had called China “a scary country,” and the status of this weekend’s scheduled trip to Beijing by Japan’s foreign minister is now uncertain.

“In some way, the two sides really need to find a way to calm this issue down,” said David Zweig, director of the Center on China’s Transnational Relations at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The question is what the two countries — battling over 60-year-old wounds inflicted when Japan invaded China in the 1930s and on into World War II — can do to cool matters. With both sides keenly aware of the potential for losing face, a solution seems elusive.

While hostility toward Japan over its wartime record has erupted periodically over the years — not just from China, but also from South Korea and other Asian nations — tempers flared this time beginning with a highly publicized Internet petition drive to oppose Japan’s nomination for a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Petition backers say they have collected more than 32 million signatures, setting the stage for student-led rallies, one of which resulted in rocks being hurled through the Japanese Embassy’s windows in Beijing. There were other reports of attacks on Japanese-owned businesses.

Despite Japanese protests and calls for compensation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao indicated his government is not about to call for an end to the activities. Speaking at a press conference during an official visit to India this week, Wen said Japan needs to “face up to history” about its wrongdoings during World War II.

“Only a country that respects history, takes responsibility for its past, and wins over the trust of the people of Asia and the world at large can take greater responsibility in the international community,” the official China Daily newspaper quoted Wen as saying, clearly referring to China’s opposition to a Japanese seat on the U.N. Security Council.

What has taken many observers by surprise — and emboldened Beijing, they say — is the apparent lack of concern by the United States and other nations. After 10,000 Chinese students converged on the Japanese Embassy in Beijing last weekend, the U.S. Embassy issued a caution to Americans living there.

Beyond that, Washington has steered clear. The U.S. State Department issued an official statement about the turbulent rallies last weekend, decrying the property damage, saying there is “no justification for violence.”

But so far, the United States has not sprung to the defense of its firmest Asian ally, giving further encouragement to China’s belligerent stance, observers say.

“I don’t think, at this point, any outside force is going to be able to get involved or be willing to get involved,” Zweig said.

China’s unhappiness with Japan is both historical and current.

It has long maintained that Japan has not apologized or made amends for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians during the invasion and occupation of China. It also wants reparations for “comfort women,” the kidnapped women forced by the Japanese military into sex slavery, and for biological warfare experiments the Japanese army performed in China during that period.

Japan says it has expressed the proper amount of remorse and that the two countries need to move on.

Beijing also has been angered by official Japanese criticisms of human rights abuses in China and Tokyo’s opposition to the European Union’s desire to lift its ban on weapons sales to China. Japan, for its part, has vigorously protested Chinese exploration in the disputed part of the East China Sea for which Tokyo is now processing applications.

The last time China saw such large, nationalistic protests was 1999, against the United States after the mistaken U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Critics said the Chinese government took advantage of the situation to distract attention from the 10th anniversary of the government crackdown on pro-democracy rallies at Tiananmen Square.

The recent actions appear to be more of a test of China’s newfound economic strength and political power on the world stage.

Ignatius Ding, vice president of the Alliance for Preserving the Truth of Sino-Japanese War — one of the myriad groups that organized the global petition drive via the Internet — said the movement against Japan has been growing for several years, as China’s influence has increased.

“Everyone is growing up in China, empowered by their own wealth and freedom,” said Ding, who helped organize the petition drive from his home in Cupertino.

Ironically, part of that empowerment has come about through China’s growing economic links with Japan.

Japanese products and retail outlets are increasingly common in Chinese urban areas, and Japan has outsourced vast amounts of manufacturing to China to take advantage of lower production costs. Private Japanese investment in China amounted to more than $5 billion last year.

At the same time, Japanese exports to China have increased tenfold since the 1970s, when China was closed off to the outside world, while imports from China to Japan have more than quadrupled. In 2003, Japanese exports to China topped the amount it exported to the United States, as part of record overall trade between the two countries of $132 billion, the Japanese Ministry of Finance reported.

But other factors seem to be outweighing such considerations in the minds of the protesters, drawn primarily from students — who brought the nation to the brink in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

“Most Chinese have been brought up to not like the Japanese, and Chinese students can get very worked up about this,” Zweig said.


Anti-Japan Protests Sweep Across China - Chris Buckley

March 16, 2009

Anti-Japan Protests Sweep Across China
Chris Buckley
International Herald Tribune
18 April 2005

Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, arrived in Beijing on Sunday for meetings with senior Chinese officials as sometimes violent demonstrations against Japan swept across China for a second week, casting into doubt the prospects of closing the rift between China and Japan during his two-day visit.

In many Chinese cities on Sunday, crowds marched to denounce Japan’s wartime past and its bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. Some protesters attacked Japanese shops and diplomatic offices with bottles and rocks.

About 10,000 people in Shenzhen protested outside a Japanese-owned department store that was also the target of demonstrators last week. In Shenyang, in northeast China, 1,000 protesters marched on the Japanese Consulate, some pelting it with red paint and rocks, Agence France-Presse reported.

Machimura’s visit was billed as a conciliatory step to ease friction between China and Japan. But before leaving for Beijing, he said he would “strongly protest” what he said was China’s failure to control violent demonstrations and would demand an apology, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese foreign minister’s press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima, said Machimura inspected damage done to Japanese property before meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

Machimura “expressed regrets” to Li over “violent incidents in cities in China,” including violence done to Japanese businesses and diplomatic missions, Takashima said. Machimura told Li that “this is of great concern to the Japanese government and people.”

He added that Machimura told Li that Japan was requesting an official apology and compensation from the Chinese side for damage done to Japanese property.

But, he added, “there was no offer of an official apology or compensation.”

“The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologize to the Japanese people,” Li told Machimura, The Associated Press reported.

The two sides also discussed steps to improve bilateral relations including a proposal by the Japanese minister to set up an experts group to jointly study the history of relations between the two countries, the spokesman said.

In Shanghai on Saturday about 20,000 protesters surged through the streets of the usually apolitical commercial center. They attacked Japanese shops and restaurants and Japanese-made cars and smashed the windows of the Japanese Consulate, some yelling “Kill Japanese!”

Before the Japanese foreign minister’s arrival in Beijing, Tang Jiaxuan, a senior government adviser who was previously China’s foreign minister and ambassador to Japan, said the Chinese government disapproved of “excessive acts” by protesters and had taken steps to protect Japanese people and property.

But he also signaled that China would not step away from its assertions that Japan bore ultimate responsibility for the recent condemnations of Japan in China, and that China would support Japan’s bid for permanent membership on the UN Security Council only if Japan demonstrated contrition for its brutal rule of China from 1931 to 1945.

“The Chinese public just can’t understand that a country that cannot correctly reflect on its history of aggression and cannot correctly understand the feelings of victim peoples can want to strive for a permanent seat in the Security Council,” Tang told the president of the Kyodo News Agency, Toyohiko Yamanouchi, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Observers suggested that in these tense circumstances, Machimura’s visit might at best smooth over the visceral distrust between the two countries, but not heal the rifts that have emerged between them in recent weeks.

“Maybe his visit will help calm things down a bit,” said Huang Dahui, an expert on Chinese-Japanese relations at the People’s University in Beijing, “but it can’t solve the fundamental problems that the past few weeks have brought to the surface” concerning Japan’s attitude towards history and how both countries handle China’s rising power.

The anger of many Chinese people towards Japan and what they say is its failure to demonstrate heartfelt remorse for invading China and subjecting it to brutal domination has been on full display in protests in Chinese cities this weekend and last - a virtually unheard of display of organized anger in a country where the government swiftly cracks down on other protests.

Beijing remained outwardly calm Sunday, with the Japanese Embassy and other key sites crowded with prominently positioned police and anti-riot troops.

The Beijing police also issued a warning to residents not to participate in “unapproved” demonstrations.

“We hope that the broad masses and young students will have confidence that the party and government will act in the long-term, fundamental interests of the state and nation and correctly handle Chinese-Japanese relations,” said the announcement, which was issued on the Xinhua news agency. “Do not participate in unapproved marches or do things that harm social stability and damage the image of the capital.”

The Beijing police also faxed warnings to employers, demanding that they monitor e-mails about planned anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Observers said this recent tide of anti-Japanese petition drives, boycotts, and marches may congeal widespread anti-Japanese rancor into a more organized force, making it more difficult for the Chinese government to reach diplomatic compromise with Japan without sacrificing its own authority.

“There really is a deeply felt sense of resentment towards Japan that can’t be compared to feelings towards the United States,” said Barry Sautman, an expert on Chinese nationalism at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s not the kind of political sentiment that’s easy to control, and in terms of Chinese foreign policy it’s the most deeply felt sentiment.”

China’s anger will not dissipate unless the Japanese government demonstrates public contrition for wartime atrocities, he added.

Luo Rongkun, a trade union official from Handan, a small city 300 kilometers from Beijing, said she was never involved in protests or campaigns before. But recently she helped organized employees from her employer, Sunshine Supermarket, to collect signatures for a petition denouncing Japan’s bid to join the Security Council.

“For the foreign minister to want to come here and ask to join the Security Council when relations between us are so abnormal just isn’t right,” she said of the Japanese foreign minister. “I want him to understand these are the real feelings of the Chinese people.”
Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, arrived in Beijing on Sunday for meetings with senior Chinese officials as sometimes violent demonstrations against Japan swept across China for a second week, casting into doubt the prospects of closing the rift between China and Japan during his two-day visit.

In many Chinese cities on Sunday, crowds marched to denounce Japan’s wartime past and its bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. Some protesters attacked Japanese shops and diplomatic offices with bottles and rocks.

About 10,000 people in Shenzhen protested outside a Japanese-owned department store that was also the target of demonstrators last week. In Shenyang, in northeast China, 1,000 protesters marched on the Japanese Consulate, some pelting it with red paint and rocks, Agence France-Presse reported.

Machimura’s visit was billed as a conciliatory step to ease friction between China and Japan. But before leaving for Beijing, he said he would “strongly protest” what he said was China’s failure to control violent demonstrations and would demand an apology, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese foreign minister’s press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima, said Machimura inspected damage done to Japanese property before meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

Machimura “expressed regrets” to Li over “violent incidents in cities in China,” including violence done to Japanese businesses and diplomatic missions, Takashima said. Machimura told Li that “this is of great concern to the Japanese government and people.”

He added that Machimura told Li that Japan was requesting an official apology and compensation from the Chinese side for damage done to Japanese property.

But, he added, “there was no offer of an official apology or compensation.”

“The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologize to the Japanese people,” Li told Machimura, The Associated Press reported.

The two sides also discussed steps to improve bilateral relations including a proposal by the Japanese minister to set up an experts group to jointly study the history of relations between the two countries, the spokesman said.

In Shanghai on Saturday about 20,000 protesters surged through the streets of the usually apolitical commercial center. They attacked Japanese shops and restaurants and Japanese-made cars and smashed the windows of the Japanese Consulate, some yelling “Kill Japanese!”

Before the Japanese foreign minister’s arrival in Beijing, Tang Jiaxuan, a senior government adviser who was previously China’s foreign minister and ambassador to Japan, said the Chinese government disapproved of “excessive acts” by protesters and had taken steps to protect Japanese people and property.

But he also signaled that China would not step away from its assertions that Japan bore ultimate responsibility for the recent condemnations of Japan in China, and that China would support Japan’s bid for permanent membership on the UN Security Council only if Japan demonstrated contrition for its brutal rule of China from 1931 to 1945.

“The Chinese public just can’t understand that a country that cannot correctly reflect on its history of aggression and cannot correctly understand the feelings of victim peoples can want to strive for a permanent seat in the Security Council,” Tang told the president of the Kyodo News Agency, Toyohiko Yamanouchi, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Observers suggested that in these tense circumstances, Machimura’s visit might at best smooth over the visceral distrust between the two countries, but not heal the rifts that have emerged between them in recent weeks.

“Maybe his visit will help calm things down a bit,” said Huang Dahui, an expert on Chinese-Japanese relations at the People’s University in Beijing, “but it can’t solve the fundamental problems that the past few weeks have brought to the surface” concerning Japan’s attitude towards history and how both countries handle China’s rising power.

The anger of many Chinese people towards Japan and what they say is its failure to demonstrate heartfelt remorse for invading China and subjecting it to brutal domination has been on full display in protests in Chinese cities this weekend and last - a virtually unheard of display of organized anger in a country where the government swiftly cracks down on other protests.

Beijing remained outwardly calm Sunday, with the Japanese Embassy and other key sites crowded with prominently positioned police and anti-riot troops.

The Beijing police also issued a warning to residents not to participate in “unapproved” demonstrations.

“We hope that the broad masses and young students will have confidence that the party and government will act in the long-term, fundamental interests of the state and nation and correctly handle Chinese-Japanese relations,” said the announcement, which was issued on the Xinhua news agency. “Do not participate in unapproved marches or do things that harm social stability and damage the image of the capital.”

The Beijing police also faxed warnings to employers, demanding that they monitor e-mails about planned anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Observers said this recent tide of anti-Japanese petition drives, boycotts, and marches may congeal widespread anti-Japanese rancor into a more organized force, making it more difficult for the Chinese government to reach diplomatic compromise with Japan without sacrificing its own authority.

“There really is a deeply felt sense of resentment towards Japan that can’t be compared to feelings towards the United States,” said Barry Sautman, an expert on Chinese nationalism at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s not the kind of political sentiment that’s easy to control, and in terms of Chinese foreign policy it’s the most deeply felt sentiment.”

China’s anger will not dissipate unless the Japanese government demonstrates public contrition for wartime atrocities, he added.

Luo Rongkun, a trade union official from Handan, a small city 300 kilometers from Beijing, said she was never involved in protests or campaigns before. But recently she helped organized employees from her employer, Sunshine Supermarket, to collect signatures for a petition denouncing Japan’s bid to join the Security Council.

“For the foreign minister to want to come here and ask to join the Security Council when relations between us are so abnormal just isn’t right,” she said of the Japanese foreign minister. “I want him to understand these are the real feelings of the Chinese people.”
Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, arrived in Beijing on Sunday for meetings with senior Chinese officials as sometimes violent demonstrations against Japan swept across China for a second week, casting into doubt the prospects of closing the rift between China and Japan during his two-day visit.

In many Chinese cities on Sunday, crowds marched to denounce Japan’s wartime past and its bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. Some protesters attacked Japanese shops and diplomatic offices with bottles and rocks.

About 10,000 people in Shenzhen protested outside a Japanese-owned department store that was also the target of demonstrators last week. In Shenyang, in northeast China, 1,000 protesters marched on the Japanese Consulate, some pelting it with red paint and rocks, Agence France-Presse reported.

Machimura’s visit was billed as a conciliatory step to ease friction between China and Japan. But before leaving for Beijing, he said he would “strongly protest” what he said was China’s failure to control violent demonstrations and would demand an apology, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese foreign minister’s press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima, said Machimura inspected damage done to Japanese property before meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

Machimura “expressed regrets” to Li over “violent incidents in cities in China,” including violence done to Japanese businesses and diplomatic missions, Takashima said. Machimura told Li that “this is of great concern to the Japanese government and people.”

He added that Machimura told Li that Japan was requesting an official apology and compensation from the Chinese side for damage done to Japanese property.

But, he added, “there was no offer of an official apology or compensation.”

“The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologize to the Japanese people,” Li told Machimura, The Associated Press reported.

The two sides also discussed steps to improve bilateral relations including a proposal by the Japanese minister to set up an experts group to jointly study the history of relations between the two countries, the spokesman said.

In Shanghai on Saturday about 20,000 protesters surged through the streets of the usually apolitical commercial center. They attacked Japanese shops and restaurants and Japanese-made cars and smashed the windows of the Japanese Consulate, some yelling “Kill Japanese!”

Before the Japanese foreign minister’s arrival in Beijing, Tang Jiaxuan, a senior government adviser who was previously China’s foreign minister and ambassador to Japan, said the Chinese government disapproved of “excessive acts” by protesters and had taken steps to protect Japanese people and property.

But he also signaled that China would not step away from its assertions that Japan bore ultimate responsibility for the recent condemnations of Japan in China, and that China would support Japan’s bid for permanent membership on the UN Security Council only if Japan demonstrated contrition for its brutal rule of China from 1931 to 1945.

“The Chinese public just can’t understand that a country that cannot correctly reflect on its history of aggression and cannot correctly understand the feelings of victim peoples can want to strive for a permanent seat in the Security Council,” Tang told the president of the Kyodo News Agency, Toyohiko Yamanouchi, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Observers suggested that in these tense circumstances, Machimura’s visit might at best smooth over the visceral distrust between the two countries, but not heal the rifts that have emerged between them in recent weeks.

“Maybe his visit will help calm things down a bit,” said Huang Dahui, an expert on Chinese-Japanese relations at the People’s University in Beijing, “but it can’t solve the fundamental problems that the past few weeks have brought to the surface” concerning Japan’s attitude towards history and how both countries handle China’s rising power.

The anger of many Chinese people towards Japan and what they say is its failure to demonstrate heartfelt remorse for invading China and subjecting it to brutal domination has been on full display in protests in Chinese cities this weekend and last - a virtually unheard of display of organized anger in a country where the government swiftly cracks down on other protests.

Beijing remained outwardly calm Sunday, with the Japanese Embassy and other key sites crowded with prominently positioned police and anti-riot troops.

The Beijing police also issued a warning to residents not to participate in “unapproved” demonstrations.

“We hope that the broad masses and young students will have confidence that the party and government will act in the long-term, fundamental interests of the state and nation and correctly handle Chinese-Japanese relations,” said the announcement, which was issued on the Xinhua news agency. “Do not participate in unapproved marches or do things that harm social stability and damage the image of the capital.”

The Beijing police also faxed warnings to employers, demanding that they monitor e-mails about planned anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Observers said this recent tide of anti-Japanese petition drives, boycotts, and marches may congeal widespread anti-Japanese rancor into a more organized force, making it more difficult for the Chinese government to reach diplomatic compromise with Japan without sacrificing its own authority.

“There really is a deeply felt sense of resentment towards Japan that can’t be compared to feelings towards the United States,” said Barry Sautman, an expert on Chinese nationalism at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s not the kind of political sentiment that’s easy to control, and in terms of Chinese foreign policy it’s the most deeply felt sentiment.”

China’s anger will not dissipate unless the Japanese government demonstrates public contrition for wartime atrocities, he added.

Luo Rongkun, a trade union official from Handan, a small city 300 kilometers from Beijing, said she was never involved in protests or campaigns before. But recently she helped organized employees from her employer, Sunshine Supermarket, to collect signatures for a petition denouncing Japan’s bid to join the Security Council.

“For the foreign minister to want to come here and ask to join the Security Council when relations between us are so abnormal just isn’t right,” she said of the Japanese foreign minister. “I want him to understand these are the real feelings of the Chinese people.”
Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, arrived in Beijing on Sunday for meetings with senior Chinese officials as sometimes violent demonstrations against Japan swept across China for a second week, casting into doubt the prospects of closing the rift between China and Japan during his two-day visit.

In many Chinese cities on Sunday, crowds marched to denounce Japan’s wartime past and its bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. Some protesters attacked Japanese shops and diplomatic offices with bottles and rocks.

About 10,000 people in Shenzhen protested outside a Japanese-owned department store that was also the target of demonstrators last week. In Shenyang, in northeast China, 1,000 protesters marched on the Japanese Consulate, some pelting it with red paint and rocks, Agence France-Presse reported.

Machimura’s visit was billed as a conciliatory step to ease friction between China and Japan. But before leaving for Beijing, he said he would “strongly protest” what he said was China’s failure to control violent demonstrations and would demand an apology, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese foreign minister’s press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima, said Machimura inspected damage done to Japanese property before meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

Machimura “expressed regrets” to Li over “violent incidents in cities in China,” including violence done to Japanese businesses and diplomatic missions, Takashima said. Machimura told Li that “this is of great concern to the Japanese government and people.”

He added that Machimura told Li that Japan was requesting an official apology and compensation from the Chinese side for damage done to Japanese property.

But, he added, “there was no offer of an official apology or compensation.”

“The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologize to the Japanese people,” Li told Machimura, The Associated Press reported.

The two sides also discussed steps to improve bilateral relations including a proposal by the Japanese minister to set up an experts group to jointly study the history of relations between the two countries, the spokesman said.

In Shanghai on Saturday about 20,000 protesters surged through the streets of the usually apolitical commercial center. They attacked Japanese shops and restaurants and Japanese-made cars and smashed the windows of the Japanese Consulate, some yelling “Kill Japanese!”

Before the Japanese foreign minister’s arrival in Beijing, Tang Jiaxuan, a senior government adviser who was previously China’s foreign minister and ambassador to Japan, said the Chinese government disapproved of “excessive acts” by protesters and had taken steps to protect Japanese people and property.

But he also signaled that China would not step away from its assertions that Japan bore ultimate responsibility for the recent condemnations of Japan in China, and that China would support Japan’s bid for permanent membership on the UN Security Council only if Japan demonstrated contrition for its brutal rule of China from 1931 to 1945.

“The Chinese public just can’t understand that a country that cannot correctly reflect on its history of aggression and cannot correctly understand the feelings of victim peoples can want to strive for a permanent seat in the Security Council,” Tang told the president of the Kyodo News Agency, Toyohiko Yamanouchi, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Observers suggested that in these tense circumstances, Machimura’s visit might at best smooth over the visceral distrust between the two countries, but not heal the rifts that have emerged between them in recent weeks.

“Maybe his visit will help calm things down a bit,” said Huang Dahui, an expert on Chinese-Japanese relations at the People’s University in Beijing, “but it can’t solve the fundamental problems that the past few weeks have brought to the surface” concerning Japan’s attitude towards history and how both countries handle China’s rising power.

The anger of many Chinese people towards Japan and what they say is its failure to demonstrate heartfelt remorse for invading China and subjecting it to brutal domination has been on full display in protests in Chinese cities this weekend and last - a virtually unheard of display of organized anger in a country where the government swiftly cracks down on other protests.

Beijing remained outwardly calm Sunday, with the Japanese Embassy and other key sites crowded with prominently positioned police and anti-riot troops.

The Beijing police also issued a warning to residents not to participate in “unapproved” demonstrations.

“We hope that the broad masses and young students will have confidence that the party and government will act in the long-term, fundamental interests of the state and nation and correctly handle Chinese-Japanese relations,” said the announcement, which was issued on the Xinhua news agency. “Do not participate in unapproved marches or do things that harm social stability and damage the image of the capital.”

The Beijing police also faxed warnings to employers, demanding that they monitor e-mails about planned anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Observers said this recent tide of anti-Japanese petition drives, boycotts, and marches may congeal widespread anti-Japanese rancor into a more organized force, making it more difficult for the Chinese government to reach diplomatic compromise with Japan without sacrificing its own authority.

“There really is a deeply felt sense of resentment towards Japan that can’t be compared to feelings towards the United States,” said Barry Sautman, an expert on Chinese nationalism at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s not the kind of political sentiment that’s easy to control, and in terms of Chinese foreign policy it’s the most deeply felt sentiment.”

China’s anger will not dissipate unless the Japanese government demonstrates public contrition for wartime atrocities, he added.

Luo Rongkun, a trade union official from Handan, a small city 300 kilometers from Beijing, said she was never involved in protests or campaigns before. But recently she helped organized employees from her employer, Sunshine Supermarket, to collect signatures for a petition denouncing Japan’s bid to join the Security Council.

“For the foreign minister to want to come here and ask to join the Security Council when relations between us are so abnormal just isn’t right,” she said of the Japanese foreign minister. “I want him to understand these are the real feelings of the Chinese people.”