Monday, April 25, 2005

Funny how this 'disclosure' business works

Thousands of Chinese have taken to the streets this month in violent anti-Japanese protests fueled by Tokyo's approval of a junior-high history textbook that glosses over Japan's World War II-era atrocities. Chinese President Hu Jintao has warned that if the Japanese want to maintain good relations, they must do better than apologizing for their wartime behavior 17 times since 1972; they must take action in some vague, unspecified way that probably includes opposition to Taiwanese independence.

What China's Communist leaders probably haven't told the protesters is that the textbook in question is used in only 18 of Japan's 11,102 junior high schools and that Chinese history books also omit a few inconvenient details, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and the 30 million deaths during Chairman Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward.

Those revelations might spark a few protests, too -- just not the kind that Chinese leaders would like.

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