"China must vote no and not just abstain," said Tong Zeng, a longtime organizer of efforts to force Japan to recognize and apologize for World War II atrocities. "The government may not want to take the lead, but the Chinese people have taken the lead." (Joseph Kahn, "If 22 Million Chinese Prevail at UN, Japan Won't," New York Times 1 Apr. 2005)Zeng is right. Beijing is indeed ill at ease over the development of unruly protests that it may not be able to control, and it is reluctant to jeopardize the economic relation between China and Japan: Richard McGregor, "Beijing in Dilemma over Protesters" (Financial Times 12 Apr. 2005); and Antoaneta Bezlova, "Beijing Blacks Out Anti-Japan Protests" (Asia Times 13 Apr. 2005).
If Chinese masses can force its hand and compel Beijing to veto Tokyo's bid, it will be a real triumph for democracy in China, not just a blow against Japanese and US imperialism in the past and present.
A demonstrator tussles with police at a rally outside a Japanese-owned department store in Guangzhou, China (China Photos).
A Chinese military policeman outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Japan's foreign minister said he would demand China end what Tokyo believes is official backing for mass anti-Japanese protests, as Chinese activists urged even bigger rallies this weekend (Peter Parks/AFP).
If Tokyo manages to obtain a permanent seat, it will be a reliable pro-Washington vote in the foreseeable future, so all leftists, not just patriots in Asia, ought to join the campaign to block Tokyo from the Security Council. Read the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues' message "Global Petition to Reject Japanese Bid to Obtain a Permanent Seat on the U.N. Security Council," and sign any of the four petitions recommended by the coalition.