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China's “New Thinking” on Japan

  • Peter Hays Gries

Following the publication of Ma Licheng's provocative article “New thinking on relations with Japan,” 2003 China witnessed a remarkable public debate on Japan policy. Academics tangled with internet nationalists, and heavy pressure was put on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take a tough line on Japan. The crushing defeat of the “new thinking” and a spate of anti-Japanese protests on the Chinese street and in Chinese cyberspace portends trouble in East Asia.

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This article was originally written in December 2003. Minor revisions were made in the summer of 2004. It does not, therefore, discuss the three successive weekends of anti-Japanese protests across China in April 2005. The events of 2002–2004 discussed here, however, do foreshadow the continuing deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations that occurred in 2005. Unfortunately, my pessimism appears to have been warranted. Earlier versions of this article were presented at the University of Colorado Boulder and at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University. My thanks to Gilbert Rozman for his helpful comments.
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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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