09 September 2010

National Interest or ruler's interest?

One of the major news that occupies the Chinese media today is the collision between a Chinese fishing boat with a Japan Coast Guard boat at Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. The captain of the fishing boat was arrested by the Japanese government with charge; followed by some protest in Beijing and Hong Kong at the Japanese embassies.

This issue has been a diplomatic battle ground for decades. The islands are in the middle of the sea, with an small area of 2.7 sq. km in total, about the size of Cheung Chau. But why both governments are so desperate to claim the ownership of islands in the middle of nowhere? It's all about oil, gas and major shipping route. It's estimated to hold more than 1.6 tcf of natural gas. The location is in a strategic location in China's interest, if Japan gets the islands, the shipping route from East coast of China to the Pacific will be blocked. For these reasons, it's quite obvious why both Japan and China are so hostile on anything related to these rocks.

To me, I don't really care about the ownership of the islands but how nations manipulate their citizens to achieve their diplomatic goal. Protests of many other kinds are mostly banned by government, however, this diplomatic protests are not at all banned. Apparently, the government is trying to give pressure to Japan by escalating citizens' emotion. One protester claims they will gather over a hundred of fishing boats and go "fishing" there.

What the hell are these guys thinking? Just look at Iraq, U.S. soldiers have been killed for a lie, its "national interest". Are we ready to let the fishermen get killed again?

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