It seems that the horrific tragedy playing out in northeastern Japan is bringing out the best, and occasionally the worst, in China’s netizens. There’s no doubt that China and Japan have a very long and intertwined history, and emotions between the two Asian neighbours run deep. Reactions on China’s most popular microblog, Sina Weibo, have been mixed. The China Smack blog does an excellent job translating many of the more positive comments inspired by images of Japanese people lining up for food and water and walking home because of no train service. We decided to post a select few here:
In China, I bet [people] would have immediately broken into and looted the surrounding convenience stores/supermarkets.
A tiny pellet of a country, with nothing [few resources], being able to beat the shit and piss out of Russia and China…is not without reasons…
In Japan, the cars yield to the people. In China, the cars can’t wait to run over your body, even if you have the green light and the car is making a turn.
Without bringing up anything else, on the character exhibited when fasting disaster, we really can’t compare.
Even when there is no disaster, for simply sitting in a seat or using the toilet, we’re capable of fighting and arguing over.
We won’t post some of the more negative (read: ignorant) comments posted on Weibo, but you can read them for yourselves here. Of course, ignorance isn’t just a trait found in China. But such is the reaction when disaster befalls a nation that is despised by a great many Chinese people for its historical atrocities.
On a positive note, Premier Wen Jiabao addressed the Japanese earthquake at the close of the National People’s Congress yesterday:
It was only at the very end of his nearly 2.5-hour press conference on Monday that Premier Wen Jiabao turned his attention to Japan. He first asked if there were Japanese journalists among the gathering of hundreds (there were), then said he didn’t want to take a question from them, but had something to say. Wen offered China’s “deep condolences” to Japan.
Wen meets with reporters once every year, at the close of the National People’s Congress. He takes a pre-screened selection of questions from journalists from China and other countries. This year no Japanese reporter was called on. Instead, Wen made a statement.
“China is also a country prone to earthquake disasters and we fully empathize with how they feel now,” Wen said. “We will provide more as Japan needs it and we want to continue to help as necessary.”
Some (such as Slate) are arguing that as one of the world’s richest countries, Japan doesn’t necessarily need cash donations, if you wish to help. Instead, the country will likely need blood, which you can donate at any Red Cross in the PRD (there are many).