The official Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times and other state-controlled media outlets fired broadsides this week at Chinese tourists who traveled to Japan, ignoring the current national xenophobia calling for a boycott of all things Japanese.
About 2,200 fun-loving Shanghai tourists boarded an Italian cruise ship and arrived at the picturesque Kumamoto prefecture in southern Japan on Sunday to participate in the region's famously popular fireworks extravaganza.
"Who are the 2,200 Japan-bound Shanghai tourists hurting?" asked an angry Zhang Zhiwei, a Global Times special commentator in a prominently placed commentary published Monday.
"I do not have the right to call these 2,200 Shanghai tourists 'Chinese traitors' who are selling out our national interest," Mr. Zhang charged.
"But one fact is clear: whether you are spending your own money or government's money for this tour to Japan, you are undoubtedly providing crucial help and comfort to Japan's tourist industry, giving new hope to the Japanese government and the extreme right-wing forces [in Japan] at a time when Japan's economy is suffering gravely from Chinese boycott of Japanese goods."
"As Chinese citizens," the commentary continues, "you have the responsibility and obligation to sync with our national interest, because without our state, there would be no family.
"It is self-evident whom these 2,200 Shanghai tourists are hurting, and whom they are sabotaging."
Most say Taiwan is independent
Nearly 80 percent of Taiwanese believe China and Taiwan are two different countries, according to the results of a poll by a well-known Taiwan think tank.
The polling results were released Sunday in Taipei by the Legislative Policy Center, which has strong ties to the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.
The survey results are bad news for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, a Nationalist Party member who has made friendly relations with the mainland communist government a hallmark of his administration.
In the same poll, Mr. Ma's disapproval ratings reached a new low. A total of 70 percent of Taiwan voters oppose the way Mr. Ma is handling governmental affairs on the democratic island. Only 20 percent approved of his performance, a 5-point drop from last month.
The poll also shed light on several other key issues. Voters were asked to rank their favorite countries.
Of the four countries most relevant to Taiwan, most Taiwanese prefer Japan, followed by the United States. The least-liked countries are South Korea and China.
When asked which country they regard as most friendly to Taiwan, the top ranking went to the United States. When asked which country is most hostile to Taiwan, the dubious honor went to China.
china angered over fisherman's death
South Korean maritime police last week fired rubber bullets to chase away Chinese fishermen illegally operating in South Korea's offshore Exclusive Economic Zone.
One Chinese fisherman with the surname Zhang was struck in the chest by one of the rubber bullets and later died.
The Chinese government lodged a serious protest with the Seoul government, warning the South Koreans to behave and stop what Beijing called "law enforcement by violence."
Chinese fishermen have been trespassing into the maritime economic zones of other countries in the region, including China's communist fraternal ally, North Korea.
The clash with South Korean law enforcement was particularly tense because of the geographical proximity of the two countries.
In December, a South Korean maritime policeman was killed by a Chinese captain who resisted arrest, shocking South Korean society.
That incident prompted Seoul to equip its maritime police force with firearms while on patrol duty.
China vehemently objected to the measure and demanded that Seoul rescind the policy.
In response, the South Korean government decided to strip firearms from its maritime police force and instead began arming them with supposedly nonlethal rubber bullet launchers.
According to a police investigation, a total of five rubber bullets were fired during the recent incident with one hitting the Chinese fisherman who died.
The police report also stated that the specific type of rubber bullet used had no prior record of killing anyone hit by it.
Chinese fishermen are not usually armed but are widely reported to carry objects such as iron bars or machetes that are used to resist search and arrest by law enforcement authorities.
• Miles Yu's column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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