Saturday, August 15, 2009

The 64th Anniversary of the End of WW2: Annual Aug 15th Remembrance Post.終戦64週年記念...终战64周年記念....

Above: Map of the Largest Extent of Japanese Invasion and Expansion circa 1895-1945.

Today marks the 64th Anniversary of the End of WW2 in Asia and throughout the world. The Pacific War began on July 7th 1937 (some would argue it began with Japan's invasion of northern China in 1931, setting up puppet Manchuria)and ended with Emperor Hirohito's pronouncement of unconditional surrender on August 15th 1945, following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early Aug.

As in the tradition of my blog since it began way back in '05, I have written a remembrance post on every Aug 15th commemorating that fateful day when the horrific war in Asia ended, leaving millions dead, wounded, raped, and traumatised. It has been always a tremendous interest of mine in researching,archiving, and collecting materials, books, and personal accounts and eyewitness stories of the war in Asia and how the war affected the occupied territories of Asia, which included what is now called modern day Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Burma, East Timor, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and many other nations. Yes, indeed, the Imperial Japanese Forces invaded all the above places, which may surprise many given how little is still known by the general public, even within Asia itself, much less, people residing outside of Asia in Europe, America, or the Middle East and India about WW2 in Asia.

Much attention has focused on China and Korea, whom are great economic powers now and make the most noise about Japan's wartime record, whilst the suffering of people's of other Japanese occupied nations such as Philippines and Vietnam is rarely known outside of those countries. (Yes, i was surprised myself when i started learning about South East Asia under Japanese rule and didn't even realise Vietnam had been occupied by Japan before during the war, or that Japanese atrocities in the Philippines equalled those committed in China...heck, with all the attention given to the Vietcong and the American involvement in the Vietnam War in the 60s/70s, who'd have known about the WW2 period and the Japanese involvement in Vietnam bck in WW2??!! Certainly not me!)

I've been involved in the Demand for Full Japanese Redress and Compensation Movement of sorts since around '05 when i went over to Tokyo for my exchange program. n i first met former Imperial Japanese vets whom spoke about their atrocities in China, and attended even Court Hearings and even a Judgement Hearing (i was lucky! these judgements usually take yrs to hand down, and i happened to be in Tokyo, when i could attend) on WW2 compensation cases in Japan's courts. I have been passionate about this issue since 14 yrs old or thereabouts when i first chanced upon this film starring Chingmy Yau and Veronica Yip Yuk Hing (two of my fav HK stars of the 90s) called 'Hong Kong on Fire 1941'.

Up until then, my image of the Japanese was one of refinement, of upper-class, prim and proper, polite Japanese ladies and mothers and their advanced nation of high-tech stuff, of Japanese being rich and cultured at the same time...this was, after all, the 90s...Japan led the way in Asia even despite the burst of the bubble economy as South Korea and China were still not in the world scene so-to-speak yet...i hadn't known about Japanese wartime atrocities AT ALL since it wasn't taught in schools and in the media, it wasn't such a big issue at the time, well it was, but it wasn't like it was headline news or anything like that..that single movie, changed me. It remains one of my fav movies depicting the Japanese atrocities committed during WW2.

Below: The film which forever changed my impression of the Japanese and where I first learnt about Japan and WW2 atrocities; called 'Hong Kong on Fire 1941'...

Since 2000, much has changed. In 1997, Iris Chang's book on the 'Rape of Nanking' came out, also the first time i heard about Nanking and what occurred there. China made little to no noise over the issue of wartime atrocities and indeed throughout the 80s/90s, it actively sought to restrict and ban any attempts by activists to highlight the issue or publicise compensation demands ( PRC relinquished the right to official compensation from Japan as a gesture of goodwill in 1972 when it re-established diplomatic ties with Japan). However, from 2001, when Koizumi (the Ex-PM of Japan) began his annual high-level official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, China began protesting in a loud manner and since then, the government and the media in China have been highlighting the issue very prominently. In fact, WW2 dramas are prob the MOST popular genre when it comes to war dramas nowadays, and even my mainland Chinese apartment sharemate is watching them now, que all the patriotic scenes of PLA soldiers killing Japanese soldiers and gory scenes of Japanese rampages..i'm glad actually...i mean many commentators say this is propaganda and brain-washing..etc..all that anti-commie crap as usual...i distinctly remember feeling so angry that no one seemed to bother during the 90s including China when the issue of Japanese warcrimes came up...with the strong exception of South Korea,and i NEVER heard people or commentators back then argue about the lack of justice for Asian victims of Japanese atrocity or howl over the Chinese government's ACTIVE PROHIBITION on activists seeking to gain attention to this issue, as it wasn't and still isn't 'convenient' ....and nowadays you get these (mainly western observers) saying these highly condescending and patronising statements like 'China and Japan should just grow up..' 'Korea should stop whining over the colonial issues lest it be viewed as not international enough, jeopardising its aspirations to becoming a first world country' ...' and I'm like 'what total nonsense!!!!!'...imagine what it'd be like if Germany behaved like Japan today, the western world would be up in arms...

I'd just like to ask which part of Chinese textbooks is 'propaganda'?? Is it the mention of rapes of women? The figures stated as killed? The emphasis of Japanese warcrimes?

I don't see any problems with them...Indeed, I never went through ANY education on those topics and yet you find me still feeling very strongly about it...I think people need to understand that this is a very sensitive topic and that if people cannot be sympathetic nor understanding over the issue, they should just BUTT OUT and not contribute pathetic racist patronising comments about how China and Korea and Japan are acting like children, or how Korea is not acting like a first-world power by wallowing in self-victimhood. Cos it is EXACTLY a FIRST WORLD NATION such as Korea or China (whom has many characteristics of a first world major power now) that would make a big fuss about stuff like see, poorer and weaker nations such as Vietnam and Indonesia are not 'more mature', they're simply poorer, and have too many domestic problems to worry about historical issues like this, its only the stronger and richer nations which can afford to call out Japan for its atrocities. So please try and understand that....just like how in richer countries you have 'post-traumatic stress disorder' whereas in poor African nations, you just have to live with it and not worry about how traumas affect you...which doesn't mean its a healthy thing:-)

As for movies made on the WW2 issue in Asia, contrary to popular belief, there's been VERY LITLE made on Japanese atrocities in Asia...many films simply touch on it or its the setup but not the focus, such as Ang Lee's 'Lust, Caution' which dealt very briefly and hinted on Japanese terror during WW2. Two recent Chinese films on Nanking came out this yr, one being 'Nanking! Nanking!' and the other being 'John Rabe', a German-PRC Co-production. Although i lamented on the lack of good well publicised films back in the 80s and 90s on the topic of Japanese invasion/atrocities in Asia...i must say now that despite all the attention that the Rape of Nanking is getting now, all the films made in the past 10 yrs are pretty much crap compared to the ones made during the era when the issue wasn't as prominent!!!

Nanking! Nanking! was highly anticipated and is arguably the most high-profile Chinese film to have been made on the Nanking Massacre in history. It did massively well in the Chinese box-office but i suspect that's bcos there's just been such a lack of films on the Nanking Massacre that mainland Chinese audiences simply bought tickets to watch what was available. 2 stars out of 5. Miss it. It is one of the worst films i've watched on the Nanjing Massacre...despite all the supposedly research done, it was totally historically inaccurate, very much a work of the director's 'imagination' of what happened, totally incoherent storyline to the point of it being more suited as a play than a movie, and having wrong casting decisions putting japanese actors whom look like 21st century actors from tokyo playing 30s rough and rugged japanese soldiers..

The other film, 'John Rabe' fared better, and i'd recommend it if only cos there's no other films on the Nanking Massacre for the past few is also quite inaccurate in its portrayals, and miss out huge chunks on atrocities, shying completely away from depicting any rape scenes...

I still think of all the tv dramas and movies on Japanese wartime atrocities, 1 tv drama and 4 films come to mind in terms of what i'd recommend (despite them having some flaws as well).

The tv drama would be Singapore's 'The Price of Peace' in 1997 which dealt with the Japanese invasion and occupation of Singapore 1942-1945. I cried countless times when i saw this on video yrs later..i get very emotional when i see media on this period..i don't know why, but i cry easily on depictions of especially the bombings and raping by the Japanese.

The films i'd recommend would be 1) Aishiteimasu (Mahal Kita) 1941 dealing with the Filipino experience of WW2 which was produced in 2004. 2)屠城血证 A mainland chinese film which was the first Chinese production on the Rape of Nanking bck in 1987. Yes, despite the PRC been found in 1949, no movie was ever made on the Nanking Massacre from 1949-1987! Almost 4 decades! Even with this film, the director reported restrictions from the govt not to portray japanese atrocities such as would 'harm' sino-japanese relations at a time when China was still in deep need of Japanese economic assistance. 3) 南京1937. This Taiwanese-HK coproduction was produced by John Woo and came out in 1995 on the 50th Anniversary of the End of WW2. It is the best film i've seen (so far) on the Nanking Massacre and highly recommended. 4) 香港沦陷1941 HK on Fire 1941. Mentioned above, by Wong Jing in 1994 which is good despite it being essentially a typical 1990s wartime hk sex-ploitation film.

Try to watch any of the above, they're all pretty good..Google for more info on these films...

Don't Cry, Nanking 1937 南京1937 (1995) Extra Review:

I'd like to elaborate more on Don't Cry, Nanking 1937. Which is the No.3 film above...I like this film the best and would DEFINITELY RECOMMEND it for people interested in a fair, unbiased, and most importantly, historically accurate film on what happened during the Nanking Massacre. It takes you on a coherent, dramatic storyline focusing on a Chinese-Japanese family during the Nanking Massacre and gives the proper introduction on the days leading up to the massacre, the bombing of the city, the mass killings, and of course, did a marvellous job of not shying away from depicting one of THE worst MASS RAPE SCENES I've ever scene on film, in a way not tiltillating, but extremely raw and poignantly horrifying. I salute the chinese extras whom were willing to sacrifice their bodies for this historically important film on a historically important event. Compared to Nanking! Nanking! this yr, the actors all looked the part unlike the former, and the Japanese actors looked like they were from 1930s Japan and spoke in such a manner, unlike the former film...the japanese daughter was actually played by a chinese teenage girl judging from her title credits name and the way she spoke japanese was very accurate and she looked just the part, not just a japanese girl of the 90s (the movie was made then) but a japanese girl of 1937!.. and it dealt with possible reasons for the massacre, the inherent racism of the massacre and how soldiers felt they could do anything during war.

Two scenes illustrate (without giving too much away) the above themes perfectly. One scene had the two jap soldiers telling the (very) frightened Japanese wife she wouldn't be so nice to them if they were in Japan in peacetime, would she? It also illustrated perfectly subtly that most soldiers then were from the countryside as it showed them being wowed by the fact that she was a 'woman from tokyo'....

Another scene had a soldier attempting to rape the japanese daughter as they were living in the chinese refugee camp and the wife said 'この子は日本人です、コノ子はニッポン人デス!’(This girl is Japanese! THIS girl is Japanese!) And that showed perfectly how racism was entrenched in that war as the soldier backed off and looked ashamed..cos Japanese girls n women were off-limits and they only raped 'enemy women (chinese women/girls)'..

There's also a reason for the English title 'Don't Cry, Nanking.' which besides being a metaphor for the city of Nanking during those dark days of winter 1937...also has a more literal meaning..its revealed subtly towards the end of the film...but watch the movie, i shouldn't spoil it!..
I liked the opening scene as well, where they show you an empty rail track and the haunting background score, and for almost 20 secs you don't see anyone, and slowly the symbolic Chinese-Japanese family escaping from war-torn Shanghai, of a Chinese father and his son from a previous marriage,and the Japanese wife and her daugther from a previous marriage slowly emerge from the distance, following the railway tracks towards the city of Nanking...all of a sudden, they hear Japanese fighterplanes flying overhead, prob towards bombing the city...she says:

アナタ、南京は本当に安全なの?(Dear, is Nanking safe?)
He replies:
不会有问题的,南京是中国的首都,如果我们连这里也守不住,我们也没有地方可以逃了。(There will be no problem. Nanking is China's Capital. If the Chinese can't even defend this, we'll have no where to run....)

If only they knew...:-(

Links to Entire Movie here (with Eng Subs!, simply click part a,b,c,d, etc in that order to complete film): (But be forewarned, it's extremely heartwrenching to watch!)
Above: I volunteered with Amnesty International NSW on their Comfort Women Butterfly Campaign at the National Rally for Same-Sex Marriage on Aug 1 at Darling Harbour. Kinda a way for me to show support for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbians too; that's what i call killing two birds with one stone! PS: Also participated in their final campaign event in front of Customs House Circular Quay which was quite a success in terms of the no of butterfly signature cards we managed to collect:-)

Previous Posts on WW2 and Asia:

Lest We Forget....a moment of silence for the at least 30 million Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Vietnamese, Filipinos, East Timorese, Hong Kongers, Indonesians, Taiwanese, and others as well as the Japanese civilians at home whom perished in that immensely devastating war.


aimlesswanderer said...

An insightful and timely reminder of a series of issues which have not yet been sorted out, mostly due to Japan's intransigence. Perhaps the (hopeful) change of government there will mean a different approach.

I think that in many places they gloss over the Japanese atrocities and only focus on the Nazi ones. The Germans at least have made serious attempts to acknowledge and rectify past problems.

I would guess that the CCP has now allowed more anti Japanese (and anti foreign) sentiment to be expressed partly due to China's rising power, and also as an outlet/scapegoat for people's frustrations. I hope that the seemingly rising tide of Han nationalism doesn't get out of hand. That would be a mess, and confirm people's worst fears about China's rise.

hcpen said...

aimlesswanderer: Well, I don't think it matters whether its a scapegoat or not, cos ppl's grievances are genuine. It does not matter what the CCP does,
I fully support current patriotic outpouring of chinese sentiments over the WW2 & Japan issue. I also think you fall into the trap of 'Han nationalism and anti-foreign sentiments' arguement of westerners..there is little anti-foreign sentiment in china...that's why you never see chinese ppl riot at sports events against any foreign countries EXCEPT Japan. Its really an Anti-Japanese issue, NOT an anti-foreign one. This needs to be understood through an important grasp of history which most westerners are just too indifferent (and borderline racist) to care much about..i mean its not like 30 million of their citizens perished under the Japanese, so why bother heh?

Furthermore, why is 'chinese patriotism' always painted in a negative light?? Whilst we call ppl in western countries 'american patriotism' 'australian patriotism',etc...using the word 'nationalism' in china's case already proves an unwarranted bias. It should be 'Chinese patriotism' which is a good thing and which many asian countries would do well to learn from... There seems to be a trend that countries with strong patriotism amongst their ppl do well economically and culturally (in terms of ability to export their cultural products overseas) such as Korea, China, and Japan, Thailand. Whilst, those with weak nationalism/patriotism do relatively less well economically and DEFINTELY cannot create a proud national culture/identity much less export their culture overseas thru a strong film industry,etc such as Malaysia.
I thus recommend you give more thoughts on this matter before falling into the conventional western line of thought when it comes to Chinese patriotism in general and Chinese reactions to the Japan/WW2 issue in specific.

aimlesswanderer said...

Well, I think that one of the reasons that the CCP allowed them (they can clamp down if they want to, they do that all the time) is that it is useful for them to have people's anger directed at others. The CCP is most worried by internal problems, not external. Traditionally internal problems have brought regimes down, and an issue that redirects anger towards foreigners is sometimes useful. I am not saying that many people don't have genuine concerns and feelings, just that the CCP can either allow or clamp down on protests and such if they choose to.

There is a difference between thinking that Japan and Japanese people are evil, and a belief that Japan and its people have not fully acknowledged or are ignorant of its atrocities. I cannot rationalise that belief in the latter should lead to riots during sporting matches. There must be something more going on.

I do believe that there is a belief among many Chinese that "them furriners are making trouble" (also, coincidentally, the official line) when events in Tibet or Xinjiang burst into the open. Many Chinese at times like that complain that the evil foreigners are trying to put us down, making stuff up, etc etc. Again, this is aided and abetted by the government (otherwise they would censor the news), as the official line is that it was "evil foreigners" who were stirring up trouble in Tibet/Xinjiang. It had nothing to do with oppressed minorities at all.

Sadly, nationalism often turns into an "other people are dodgy" thing. I do not have a problem with being proud of your country (I am proud to be Australian), but often that becomes a "we can do no wrong, they are all wrong/evil" mentality, like the sentiments expressed during the Cronulla riots - dodgy 'foreigners' should "go home". In China's case, it seems like Han nationalism means that them pesky minorities like Tibetans and Uighurs should just shut up and be "helped", as it is for their own good. No thought about the repression and such of said minorities being bad, and causing problems later blamed on "outside forces".

In no way do I condone the lack of acknowledgement or ignorance of a catalogue of atrocities on the part of Japan and its people, and I can understand that many people in countries badly affected by them are unhappy. However, it seems to me that the issue can and often is manipulated for other ends.

hcpen said...

aimlesswanderer: Well, it's just simply my personal opinion, just as i said bfore, you put too much unwarranted emphasis on what the reasons/motives for the chinese ccp govt allowing the protests means, and i'll say it again, for myself, it does not matter why they're allowing this trend amongst the citizens. The fact is, Japan hasn't done enough and the chinese and other ppls have all the right in the world to protest as they wish. I don't see why you have put it in a negative light. Furthermore, why in the world shld the govt censor or clamp down?! Isn't this democracy and a step in the right direction, even if selective? I mean, why clamp down on all this? Also, the CCP govt has clamped down on anti-japanese sentiments since 1978-early 2000 and shouldn't the ppl be allowed to express their feelings now FINALLY? You make the mistaken assumption, like most foreigners whom dun understand contemporary chinese history into thinking that the ccp has been fanning this nationalism since 1949 when in fact its a VERY recent thing that they've allowed this kind of anti-japanese sentiments out in the open. So aren't we being hypocritical? It's not alright for the chinese to exercise their democratic right to protest against japanese whitewashings and denials BUT completely ok for them to protest against evil bad ccp government,etc??

Also, you have been so embedded in the biased ways of the western media that you don't even realise in the bias of using 'nationalism' when describing china..i say 'chinese patriotism' which is a great thing. Also, one should not underrate chinese ppl's intelligence, they cannot be 'brainwashed' so easily by school education,etc. Thus, many talk in the Japanese n Western media about 'propaganda' against japanese is just plain bs in my view. I'd love to know which part of the list of crimes committed by the japanese is not accurate and considered 'propaganda'. And i am speaking never having undergone any education during school yrs on the japanese warcrime issue and having spent my entire lifetime educated under a western education system. There's no need for me to help the prc (i'm not even a chinese citizen nor have any direct relations with it,haha) but on the japanese issue, there's no room for budging in my mind.

On the minority issue, i think i need to write up a post on this to 'educate' (ok, maybe abit harsh, just provide more info)westerners and ppl whom dun really understand china's quite progressive minority policies..i mean if western media should be concerned at all, it's at countries like my home country malaysia, and other countries like india where state-sponsored or socially-imposed minority oppression is much worse compared to a country such as China. But of course, ppl don't really care cos it doesn't 'fit' into their 'Bad Communist Regime of China' bias which many westerners have been inculculated in their minds from young through the media, which is just as biased as the chinese media.

Anyways,great to hear your thought, i always appreciate readers contributing their comments;even if we don't agree.:-)

aimlesswanderer said...

Yes, I know that Japan has many unresolved issues regarding its wartime (and before) conduct. The CCP may not be evil incarnate, but there are plenty of dubious things going on over there. What did you make of the rant about Rio Tinto stealing $123 billion from China in the last 6 years? That is more than Rio's total sales to China in the period.

I wonder what you make of this rather bizarre speech. All I can say is that the "blood lineage" thing is just plain weird, and as a Chinese Australian I am less than impressed. The last thing I need is for other Australians to wonder if I am a Chinese spy.

Didn't you read my reply? I said that any nationalism/patriotism can easily become a negative force, not just Chinese nationalism. There are countless examples of US patriotism getting out of hand, and the Cronulla riots can be argued to be Australian nationalism getting a bit out of hand (helped by booze, stupidity, and dumb radio blabbermouths). Pride in your country is good, but when it gets in the way of logic and the facts then it is negative. Like Turkey, which still denies that there was any ethnic cleansing of Armenians.

Umm, some of the CCP's minority policies are good, but many are clearly not, since the Tibetans and Uighurs especially are clearly unhappy. They are not unhappy for no reason I'd say. China has acted like the "evil Western Imperialists" it hates so much, in Tibet and Xinjiang, flooding the areas with Han Chinese, and restricting the locals in many ways.

And what do you make of the recent arrest of Stern Hu, and the whole botch up about the Melbourne Film Festival and Rebiya Kadeer's visit?

hcpen said...

I've read your reply. I am precisely saying just that. In case, we have to see which situations brings which kinds of negative results and i agree virulent nationalism can get out of hand. But with the anti-Japanese sentiments/rallies and govt promotion, I do not believe this falls into that category.

So i am simply saying with the specific examples of Tibet/Xinjiang and anti-Japanese sentiments, they are good Chinese nationalism, not bad ones. I will readily agree with other instances of bad Chinese nationalism.

I do not agree that China is an 'imperialist colonial master' in Tibet and Xinjiang as they form part of China and given the history and situation, do not constitute a colony of china.
Saying they are being 'oppressed and colonised' is tantamount to saying that:
a) Australia is an evil imperialist white regime which has dispossessed the Aborigines/Torres Strait Islanders and Australia is a state of colonialism.
2) American government is a government of genocide which has effectively wiped out the native Americans and put the rest in concentration camps similar to Nazis.It also practices semi-apartheid policies given the high rates of black incarceration and black ghettos everywhere in cities in America.
3) Thailand has colonised parts of the border regions where shan people live and is an oppressive regime.
4)The Filipino govt is a bad oppressive govt which colonises the island of Mindanao where the muslim minority wants independence and their culture is being suppressed.
5) The Japanese govt has colonised Hokkaido with flooding it with Japanese ppl since 1800s and extinguished completely Ainu culture and killed off their culture.
Can you get my picture? It's how you wanna see it, if you choose to see China as somehow 'bad' or 'worse' than others, my above examples show ONLY some of the countless examples of other countries where minorities have been 'killed off' or 'oppressed' in some way.
So in my opinion, China is being unfairly targeted as somehow 'more evil' and 'more oppressive' when the reality is just the opposite.

In regards to the 'Stern Hu' arrest, I am in no position to comment, I believe they have the right to arrest him, just like the Aust govt has powers to detain anyone it believes is jeopardising national security. However, how they charge him and whether he gets a fair trial is yet to be seen.

As for the MIFF affair, I believe China is overreacting and being very dumb with its threats, if not for the threats and intimidation, no one would have prob made a big issue of the film and no one would prob be seeing it anyways.
However, given that so many Chinese films backed out of the MIFF,I believe the MIFF directors should have balanced their decision to continue showing the film in question as I wonder whether it was worth showing one film and losing 3-4 other films which in the end are the loss of audiences. So i guess China is definitely wrong in the matter but MIFF may have to consider in the future on whether they want to show controversial films which would result in losing even more films and whether that's worth it. The problem wouldn't be bowing down to pressure but more on the worth of sacrificing 3-4 films for the sake of 1 film. Its a choice they have to make as an informed decision. I cannot say as i'm not a professional.

aimlesswanderer said...

Umm, so you think that the mess in Xinjiang and Tibet is "good Chinese nationalism"? So oppression, discrimination and brutality are good when Han Chinese want to maintain control over territory?

Hmm, the whole historical 'this is part of our country and always has been' is a bit of a joke really. Apart from the many centuries when Chinese control over Xinjiang and Tibet has been nominal or non existent at best, what about Taiwan? Going by your logic Taiwan should be ruled by the CCP as it is "historically part of China". And taking your logic further, north Vietnam, parts of the Korean peninsula, Mongolia, bits of Kashmir, and other areas were, at various stages, "part of China". Then, if you can stop looking at this through an exclusively Chinese perspective, at times, Koreans controlled parts of NE China, Tibetans controlled more than just Tibet, Mongols controlled all of China and more, Manchus controlled all of China+, where does it end? It is just a tool of nationalist to give themselves a convenient excuse to get their grubby hands with more territory, which, of course, is "rightfully" theirs.

You are right, I do think that the settlers who came to Australia essentially perpetrated genocide (both planned and unplanned) and stole the land from the Aborigines, and the same with the US. However, I think there is a general consensus in those countries that a wrong was committed and that we should make efforts to redress historical grievances and deprivation. I also think that the Aborigines don't feel anywhere near as alienated as Tibetans and Uighurs, as they feel they are part of the country - no arbitrary arrests/disappearances, restrictions on religion and such here. Serious problems do exist, but there certainly isn't a separatist push.

Stern Hu was originally supposed to have "stolen state secrets", which can mean "cut out newspaper articles and posted them overseas" in the case of Rebiya Kadeeya. And there has been a lack of consular and legal access, not to mention no charges being formally laid.

Come on, you really expect artistic types to ban one film because others will boycott if they don't? Gawd, creative types are the most sensitive about censorship, and they go crazy when they get a whiff of it. Bowing to pressure would have meant that they would be censoring, and if other films are pulled because of it, that's just tough. Australia is a free country you know, and freedom of expression is extremely important, as in many countries this is not possible (hello China). You seriously thought they should make an "informed decision", oh dear, sounds like a line from the Ministry of Information (and censorship).

Love how your other readers haven't touched this topic at all.

hcpen said...

aimlesswanderer: Well, my other readers may not be interested in this topic as its quite an academic and serious issue which they may not feel confident to talk about.

About the issue of 'historically ours', i think there's been a misunderstanding. I do not believe that just because some land has been at one time or another been a part of another territory doesn't mean it should always remain so. So you're right in saying parts of China were part of a Korean kingdom thousands of yrs ago or how Northern Vietnam was essentially part of the Chinese kingdom for centuries and eternity. I am merely saying that the 'reality' is that Tibet and Xinjiang has been part of the PRC since 1950s and so it is 'impractical' now for them to gain independence in terms of politics, modern day realities,etc. Also one must factor in the large Han population and control of business there now. Regardless of state policies that encouraged them there in the 1st place, there are many many many problems in dealing with the Chinese population were Xinjiang/Tibet to gain independence.

I'm merely talking about the reality such as Western Australia will never gain independence even if they wanted to in modern day Australia or California would never gain independence even if all Californians voted for it in America..its simply a modern day political, social, and economic reality. That's why its grossly impractical and ridiculous to suggest that such large chunks of China should be allowed to gain independence now. Were it the 1960s when they were merely part of China for less than 10 yrs, maybe then it would be a valid and practical issue.

And as for the oppression,etc stuff, i basically don't believe in that 'Western theory' and so there's no need for me to go into that. I think its just a convenient western 'knee-jerk' response whenever anything to do with China comes up..the oppression, lack of human rights,etc always gets dragged out regardless of the situation as if neighbouring democracies such as India did not have similar problems.

As for the Hu arrest, I don't know much about it, so i can't comment. But i gather you prob don't think he shld be arrested at all. I disagree. I believe we (both u and me) do not even know what he was arrested for so its extremely presumptious for you to 'presume' that its merely sending 'newspaper clippings overseas'. We simply do not know so you can't simply jump to conclusions.

About the MIFF ban, well like i said, China was being extremely dumb in how it handled the entire affair but MIFF will have to factor in these decisions in the future cos whether you like it or not, 3-4 Chinese/HK films are now effectively lost to audiences and they are all more well-known movies compared to the obscure doco about the Xinjiang Lady..that may not be censorship but the reality is it DOES have the same effect as censorship in that these films will still not be seen by Australian viewers. Its something they have to balance. Of course, if it were simply 1 film which pulled out i'd say go right ahead and screen that doco cos you can't bow down to pressure from the Chinese like that, but when the loss is disproportionate to the gain, eg.3-4 films for 1 obscure doco then they must consider all the end,i am not going to judge whether they shld screen or shldn't screen cos they are the experts and they have the right to decide which direction to take as they please.