April was an eventful month in China. Following closely on the heels of the anti-secession law, a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment arose across major cities in China. Students and young people marched to protest against Japan for its government’s callous treatment of World War II in their textbooks, applying for a permanent position in the United Nations’ Security Council, as well as the Japanese Prime Minister paying tribute to the war shrine, among other affronts.
In China, unauthorized demonstrations are against the law and strictly prohibited. Unless organized or encouraged by the government, there is simply no chance to get permission for a demonstration of any scale. As such, the majority of demonstrations in China have been immediately suppressed by armed police or military personnel, except for those regarded as "patriotic actions." The current one clearly belongs to the latter category in the eyes of the Central Government, and government manipulation behind the scenes is palpable. In the grand scheme of things, the current game is more than likely an extension of the anti-secession law in playing the nationalism card.
In the past, the CCP once had been successful in controlling its people with the Communist ideology, in part because of its control of information—the people truly did not know any better. After China opened its doors to the West in the early 1980s, this strategy gradually lost its effectiveness. Today, few, including the Communist Party members, still have faith in the Communist doctrine. After the 1989 student democracy movement, the CCP realized the imminent, dire danger of losing ideological control and shifted its efforts toward fanning nationalism among the people, particularly the younger generation. During the NATO bombing of China’s Embassy in Yugoslavia in 1999, the Chinese leadership saw the power and viability of this strategy. Angry youths were shuttled to embassies and consulates in China, leaving smashed windows and damaged buildings following demonstrations. Today, what we are seeing is a continuation of the nationalist game that has been meticulously orchestrated over the years.
In this issue, we feature articles that will help illustrate the nationalist play by the CCP, including Chinese hackers’ attacks against "enemy targets" such as the United States, Japan and Taiwan, all of which are being tacitly encouraged by the Chinese government.
With opposition leaders from Taiwan being invited to visit the Mainland one after another, the Chinese media has kicked into high gear. We will cover this topic in more depth in upcoming issues.