China yanks books about ties with Japan

Continuing along the lines of my recent posts, I present the following article from today’s Japan Times.

Two books on Sino-Japanese history and modern political relations have been pulled from shelves in China for undisclosed reasons, after selling about 50,000 copies apiece.

“Ambiguity’s Neighborhood” and “Iron and Plough,” both by author Yu Jie, disappeared from major bookstores in late December after four months of normal circulation, Yu said this week.

In the runup to the annual National People’s Congress plenary session that began March 5, independent booksellers were also told to stop selling it, Yu’s Beijing distributor said Wednesday.

Yu, 32, argues in “Ambiguity’s Neighborhood” that Chinese should learn more about modern Japan before saying they “hate” the people — common parlance for today’s younger generation influenced by anti-Japan media reports and school texts that discuss Japan’s 1931-1945 conquest of China.

“The two countries are so close, so this hate, this lack of understanding, doesn’t help at all,” Yu said, citing “arrogance” for the lack of more understanding. “Chinese people should understand the situation before they criticize it.”

Clearly there are some people in mainland China, who like many in Taiwan are willing to believe that the sins of the dead do not dictate the the actions of the living. Unfortunately, this seems to be considered dissent requiring punishment. Please read the remaining two-thirds of the article on the original site.

Now I have to run off in a few minutes to meet Curzon and Debito for dinner in Newark.

2 thoughts on “China yanks books about ties with Japan”

  1. I think this article is heavily misleading. It gives the impression that these two particular books were withdrawn because of apparent pro-Japanese slant on part of the author by the government in order to cultivate anti-Japanese sentiments among the public. Quite the contrary, the author of that article apparently didn’t read those books closely enough, or simply had them regurgitated through a misleading Japanese filter.

    ESNW has translations of passages from the book in question here.

    The gist is that, while technically the book calls on readers to learn more about modern Japan before jumping to irrational hatreds, what the author learned wasn’t exactly flattering and what is written in the book is in fact quite negative when it concerns Japan. As others have seized upon, the most probable reason why Yu Jie’s books were withdrawn has nothing to do with Japan at all, but rather because he is a prominent independent writer who is critical of the government and another peice may have gained the eye of government censors. It is likely that all of his published works have been withdrawn, though the Japan Times has opted to focus on two particulars to the exclusion of others to perpetuate their current government fostered anti-japanese sentiment meme.

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