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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Jim Vesely
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Lee Moriwaki
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Eric Devericks
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Bruce Ramsey
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Kate Riley
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Lynne Varner
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Ryan Blethen
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April 21, 2005

China's young nationalists


This New York Times story on the protests in China is saturated with a cynicism that I think is fully justified. It reminds the reader that the protesters are almost all under 30, and cannot have suffered from Japan’s occupation of 1937-1945 (in Manchuria, 1931-1945). The Japanese Army was extraordinary cruel, and is infamous particularly for the Rape of Nanjing, but Japan has apologized for the war many times. It is an odd thing, this continual demand for new and greater apologies. The people demanding the apologies did not suffer during WWII, and the people expected to apologize committed no sins—because all of them are too young to have been involved in it. The whole business is ridiculous.

The other complaint is that Japan’s school textbooks do not paint an appropriately negative image of its wartime acts. I have not seen the textbooks, but I assume they tread rather lightly on the subject of Japanese cruelty. But everywhere textbooks are written or approved by the government, and project a view to achieving the government’s aims. Do China’s textbooks give an accurate picture of Mao Zedong, and the oppression and famine he caused with his Anti-Rightist Campaign, his Great Leap Forward and his Cultural Revolution? I bet not.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at April 21, 2005 05:18 PM



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