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2016年3月19日 (土)

中国全人代閉幕 「独善」と「強権」が進む一方だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chinese govt continues headlong with self-serving, authoritarian approach
中国全人代閉幕 「独善」と「強権」が進む一方だ

It appears the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping has further strengthened its self-serving approach to foreign policy, and its authoritarian governance over domestic matters.

China’s National People’s Congress, its equivalent of the Diet, has closed its annual meeting.

At a press conference after the Congress closed, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was asked about Japan-China ties. He said, “There have been some signs of an improvement in Sino-Japanese ties, but it is not fully established and still fragile.” On issues related to perceptions of history, Li made a request to Japan, saying: “It is important to match one’s words with concrete actions. What I don’t want to see is [the issues] going backwards.”

Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also displayed his distrust of Japan when he said: “On the one hand, the Japanese government and leaders say nice things about wanting to improve relations. On the other hand, they are making trouble for China at every turn.” He then criticized Japan by saying, “This is a typical case of double-dealing.”

These comments probably stemmed from resentment at such factors as Japan’s moves, in tandem with the United States, to check the expansion of China’s effective control of the South China Sea.

However, we think it is China that is being Janus-faced, as it advocates “peaceful development” even while its actions heighten regional tensions. The point China argues is absurd.

According to the U.S. government, Beijing is expected to complete the establishment of military facilities on manmade islands in the South China Sea at the end of this year or early next year.

In a swipe aimed at the United States, Wang said: “China cannot be accused of ‘militarization.’ The label is more suited to some other countries.” But no matter how much the Xi administration uses sophistry, it cannot cover up its military expansion.

Senkaku ruling inappropriate

It is unacceptable that the Supreme People’s Court (China’s Supreme Court), in a report to the Congress, insisted China had demonstrated “jurisdiction” over waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. It said a Chinese maritime court had mediated a case involving a collision between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Panama-registered freighter in September 2014.

While this aimed to raise the issue of territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, the collision actually happened outside the territorial waters of the islands, so China’s standpoint has no foundation. The Japanese government rightly lodged a protest.

The National People’s Congress also adopted a new five-year plan for economic and social development. Worryingly, a chapter titled “building a national security system” that was added to this blueprint included steps to strengthen the monitoring of opinions expressed on the Internet.

Since the Xi administration was launched, it has stepped up its oppression of human rights lawyers and nongovernmental organizations. It is certain that censorship, such as tighter controls on the media, will be further strengthened in the name of this “national security system.”

The ruling administration’s anxiety over the economic slowdown also is behind its moves to strengthen its control. The string of speakers at the Congress voicing concern over overseas shopping sprees by Chinese was probably another indication of this.

Even if China tries to suppress dissenting opinions by force, its image as an anachronism will only spread through the international community.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 18, 2016)


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