Tag: Japan dispute

Activist Dai Qing: How China limits change, and stores discontent

(September 11, 2012) The dispute between Japan and China over Japan’s decision to purchase a number of islands in the East China Sea, also claimed by China and Taiwan, has provoked spirited public protest in China this summer. But territorial disputes with Japan aren’t the only issue driving China’s summer of protest. Large, organized and, at times, violent demonstrations often sparked by environmental concerns – recently the wastewater drainage pipeline from the Japanese-owned Oji Paper plant – have become more frequent as citizens discover strength in numbers as a way to unleash long, pent-up anger at authorities. Japan’s highly regarded Asahi Shimbun newspaper turned to Probe International Fellow and correspondent, Dai Qing, to understand China’s recent wave of anti-Japanese protest and learned that Chinese officials would rather their people march against Japan than take to the streets to demand democracy, human rights and freedom. This interview also explores Dai’s own history as a champion for the environment and human rights in China, her stance against the construction of the massive Three Gorges Dam and ongoing restrictions of her activities by Chinese security: even a surprise party in celebration of her 70th birthday could not go ahead as planned by friends. Dai Qing reflects on such foolishness: “It is truly a waste of money to monitor such a patriot as me,” she insists.