Chinese businesses, car owners play nationalist card to appeal to Japan haters and avoid violence
September 15, 2012Jing Gao14 CommentsAnti-Japanese sentiment, automaker, demonstration, Diaoyu Islands, Japan, Japanese restaurant, Nationalism, Protests, Senkaku Islands, Sino-Japanese relations, violence
Photos from Sina Weibo and NetEase
The Sino-Japanese relations have come to a complete frost after Tokyo’s recent announcement of its intent to nationalize the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands which are currently administered by Japan but claimed by China. Chinese’ century-old resentment against Japan has flared up once again. In addition to protests and clamor that filled the streets of Beijing and some other major Chinese cities, irrational and even thuggish behavior is being directed against Japanese in China as well as totally irrelevant Chinese.
So far, the consulate-general of Japan in China has received six reports of Japanese under attack in Shanghai. One Chinese poured hot noodle soup onto the face of a nearby Japanese diner. A Japanese walking in Shanghai was hit by a plastic bottle thrown by Chinese, who also verbally insulted him. Some other Japanese were waylaid and beat.
Restaurants run by Chinese that serve Japanese food, and Japanese-brand auto vehicles have also attracted such ire and hatred. Friday, a 7-Eleven shop and a FamilyMart convenience store in Chengdu had all their installations smashed by a mob of anti-Japanese protesters, who believed the two chains are of Japanese origin. In Beijing, flag-wavers tried to break into Warewareno, a Chinese-owned Japanese restaurant, and were stopped by police officers.
7-Eleven in Chengdu
Japanese restaurant in Beijing
A couple of weeks ago, numerous incidents of Japanese-brand cars, often times manufactured in China, damaged and even destroyed during protests across the nation were reported, leading Chinese owners to fear that they may fall victim to the mounting resentment against Japan.
A Japanese-brand police car was overturned and smashed by protesters with a metal rod during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
The growing sense of insecurity and fear of Chinese nationals who are at risk of being labeled as “traitors” for driving Japanese cars or running businesses that sound Japanese has prompted them to deploy a large number of bumper stickers and banners to vow allegiance and repudiate any connection with Japan.
In Chengdu, a car owner taped a Chinese national flag onto the Toyota marque and blanketed the rear of the car with stickers that say “Boycott Japanese Products”, “Paralyze Japanese Economy” , “I Bought the Car First, Before Japan Got Bitchy. From Now On, Boycott Japanese Goods”. The picture of the car immediately went viral on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform.
“Boycott Japanese Products”, “Paralyze Japanese Economy” , “I Bought the Car First, Before Japan Got Bitchy. From Now On, Boycott Japanese Goods”
Another Nissan car says “The Car Is A Japanese Car; The Heart Is A Chinese Heart”,“Diaoyu Islands Belong to China Only; Sora Aoi (note: the most popular Japanese porn star in China) belongs to the world.”
Yoshinoya, a restaurant chain that serves Japanese fast food, posted a sign at the entrance of one outlet in Beijing that reads “I Am A Hong Kong-invested Business,” hoping to keep Japan haters away.
Friday, numerous Japanese restaurants hung Chinese national flags, red banners and signs to voice their unswerving support for China while stressing that they are actually owned by Chinese people.
One Japanese restaurant (right) removed the two characters for “Japan” from its sign.
The sign reads “Diaoyu (Islands) Belong to China. We Support China!”
In the meantime, many Chinese businesses saw the chaos as a great opportunity and cashed in on the nationalism. Some businesses arranged ‘Chant-Slogan-Get-Discount’ promotions. One even changed its name to Diaoyu.
A hotel in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, changed its name from Xianju Islands (literally, ‘islands inhabited by immortals’) to Diaoyu Islands.
Thursday, a Chinese brand at an auto fair in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, beat the drum against Japan with its slogan “On Our Permanent Guard, Protect Diaoyu Islands! Ready to Destroy Invading Enemies At Any Moment.”
Thursday, another Chinese automaker at an auto show in Beijing called on Chinese consumers for “patriotic purchase of Chinese-made cars.”
A restaurant in Leshan, Sichuan, unfurled a banner for its promotion: “1, Shout ‘Diaoyu Islands Belong to China’, Get 10% off; 2, Shout ‘Japan Also Belongs to China’, Get 20% off.”
A hair salon: “Shout ‘Diaoyu Islands Belong to China’ Upon Entry.”
A clothing boutique: “Pattad Firmly Protect the Ownership of Diaoyu Islands. Any customer that shouts ‘Diaoyu Islands are China’s’ get 15% off. Shout ‘Japan is also China’s’, get 20% off.”
A supermarket in Huizhou, Fujian province arranged its toothpastes to look like a tank and put up a sign, “Diaoyu Islands belong to China!”