The Daily Twit – 9/18/12: National Day of Humiliescalation

September 18, 2012

Once again today, the news was almost completely dominated by the spat between Japan and China over some real estate out in the ocean. The added twist was that today was the anniversary of the 1931 Mukden Incident, which precipitated Japan’s occupation of China, which lasted until the end of World War II. Put that together with the ongoing territorial dispute, and you’ve got the potential for some scary shit.

However, as it turns out, the government kept a pretty good lid on this volatile situation. They didn’t exactly discourage these protests, but from what I can tell, the property damage and violence has been kept to a minimum.

No idea where this is going after today. For now, here’s a fairly long list of mostly “naked” links for you. With a few exceptions, no descriptions are needed, as most of these reports overlap in their coverage of today’s protests and the underlying dispute.

Diplomat: For China and Japan: The Perfect Distraction? — a discussion of the political context in both China and Japan, raising a classic “wag the dog” scenario.

NPR: China Ratchets Up The Rhetoric In Island Spat With Japan — audio report filed by Beijing correspondent Louisa Lim.

Guardian: China-Japan row over disputed islands threatens to escalate

Sydney Morning Herald: Storm intensifies as China threatens Japan with sanctions

Economist: Rising tensions in the East China Sea - Avoiding escalation

Foreign Policy: Dangerous Waters

Reuters: Anti-Japan protests reignite across China on occupation anniversary

MarketWatch: More Japanese firms suspend China operations — The chatter about these protests and what they mean for foreign invested companies in China is going to go on for months. Some multinationals will definitely be reassessing risk, and not just the Japanese firms.

Financial Times: China/Japan row: business feels the heat

Bloomberg: Protests to Hurt Japan Car Sales in China, Dealer Group Says

Guardian: Japan and China: ghosts of the past

Reuters: Chinese firms wave the flag to cash in on Japan tension — Eyebrows were raised today when China search giant Baidu went full nationalist, with a Diaoyu Islands doodle and a special mini-site with a game and other information.

Next Web: Baidu explains its Diaoyu doodle: Planting a digital flag is better than throwing rocks — Baidu responded to questions with some pretty good spin, although I’m not sure how persuasive it will be, particularly to their business partners in Japan.

Wall Street Journal: Net Neutrality? Baidu Plants its Flag on Disputed Islands.

In other news:

If it wasn’t for the Japan protests, the press would have been all over the trial of Wang Lijun, former police chief who flirted with defecting to the U.S. and who, by accusing Gu Kailai of murder, brought about the downfall of Bo Xilai. His trial, which was closed to the public yesterday, finished up with an open hearing today.

Guardian: China concludes trial of flamboyant police chief

The Age: Police chief’s dash for freedom triggered a landslide – Narrative of the facts behind Wang’s overnight trip to the U.S. consulate and struggle with Bo Xilai by John Garnaut, whose reporting from Chongqing on this story has been superlative.

Business Insider: The 12 Politicians Battling For Control Of China — Here’s a user-friendly primer on China’s top politicians, a good way for newbies to prep for the upcoming Party Congress.