Editorial - China Can't Have It Both Ways

April 27th 2009

New York, NY, USA, 26 April 2009 (Editorial - The New York Times) - The Chinese government issued two statements last Thursday. Both were only briefly, and separately, noted in the press. They make for a curious contrast.

In one, China denounced Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso for making an offering to the Yasukuni shrine. This is the shrine that honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 top war criminals from World War II, when Japan committed terrible atrocities in China.

China was furious when the then-prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, visited Yasukuni in 2005, and the next two prime ministers stayed clear.

But Mr. Aso, a pugnacious nationalist, revived the controversy on Tuesday by offering the Shinto shrine a potted plant. Mr. Aso's spokesmen insisted that this was not the same as a visit, and in any case would not affect his scheduled visit to China next week.

China was furious, telling the Japanese that 'the question of history is highly sensitive.'

In the other statement, China demanded that the United States cancel a visit by the Dalai Lama (he arrived on Friday for a two-week tour). The Buddhist religious leader, a recipient of the Nobel peace prize who is respected around the world, says he is seeking only autonomy for his homeland, Tibet. China vilifies him as a separatist and regularly lambastes countries and leaders who receive him.

'We oppose the Dalai Lama going to any country to engage in splittist activities under any pretext,' said Jiang Yu, the same Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who had earlier found history to be so sensitive.

Mr. Aso's offering to Yasukuni was blatantly provocative and offensive, even if all he offered was a potted sakaki evergreen, and his explanation

 

Latest News

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Expresses Sadness about Nepal Earthquake
April 26th 2015
Dharamsala, HP, India, 26 April 2015 - Expressing great sadness about reports of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal yesterday with the loss of many lives and widespread damage to property, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to the Nepalese Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala. “The people of Nepal and Tibetans have been neighbours throughout history and many Tibetan refugees live in Nepal. I offer my condolences to you and to those who have lost members of their families, friends and their homes in this tragedy."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu at TCV
April 23rd 2015

Conversations for the Book of Joy Begin
April 20th 2015

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Departs Tokyo to Return to India
April 14th 2015

Permission and Empowerment of Avalokiteshvara, the Stages of Meditation and the Three Essential Moment
April 13th 2015

Explore