This post was edited by Eudaimonia at 2012-10-26 03:32|
NANYANG, China—Cai Yang’s return to his family’s farm in Nanyang, Henan province, in late September was unexpected.
His parents thought the 21-year-old was working in Xian, Shaanxi province, far from the family business of raising goats, pigs and chickens. They also noticed their son was acting strangely.
The parents did not know that Cai, a poorly educated nobody struggling to make ends meet, was fast becoming a famous figure on the Internet.
Photos and a video had spread online of Cai viciously attacking the owner of a Toyota Corolla during the anti-Japanese protests in Xian on Sept. 15. The video showed Cai striking the head of Li Jianli, 50, with a U-shaped metal lock used for motorcycles.
Li's wife, who was also in the Toyota when it was attacked by the mob, begged Cai to stop, saying; "We were wrong to buy a Japanese car. We will never again buy such a car."
Cai ignored her pleas and continued to beat Li, who was left paralyzed on one side of his body.
Three days after he returned to his Nanyang home, Cai was detained on suspicion of causing injury during the protest. He told his family that he carried out the attack for patriotic reasons.
"He was always weak-hearted," Yang Shuilan, 56, said about her son. But she said she has a good idea of why Cai took part in the protests. "Ever since he was a child, he loved to watch movies and dramas about the war against Japan," she said. Those programs often emphasize brutal scenes of murder and pillage by Japanese troops.
In Nanyang village, whenever children are asked who the villain was, they would always answer, "The Japanese."
When Cai was in primary school, he and his classmates often played a make-believe game of war against Japan, his mother said. They would run around the farm, waving sticks and shouting, "Crush the Japanese devils."
Cai quit school in the fifth grade and began working as a plasterer's apprentice for a daily wage of 30 yuan (about 375 yen or $4.70). When he was 18, he moved to Xian but could only find unstable work as a day laborer.
"His lifestyle was at the very bottom rung of society," his father said.
While it remains unclear what Cai has said to police about the incident, his blog postings before the protest depict someone disgruntled in life and eager to study. He also wrote how thrilled he felt at secretly urinating on the German car driven by his boss.
The protests in Xian were part of demonstrations held throughout China to oppose the Japanese government's decision to buy three of the five Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu Islands. Around 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 15, some of the 10,000 or so protesters in Xian turned violent and began attacking Japanese cars on the streets. One of those cars was driven by Li. Cai had ended his shift painting walls and was riding a bus to return home when he came upon the protests. He left the bus and excitedly joined the mob.
The streets were so packed with protesters that Li could not move his Corolla. A dozen or so protesters soon surrounded the car. The blunt sound of the 20-centimeter-long metal lock striking Li’s head could be heard in the video footage. Li collapsed and his blood soaked the street. Cai told those around him at that time, "(Li) hit my head first with a brick so I became angry and hit him." However, according to eyewitnesses, Cai took off his shirt and continued to whack the Corolla.
On Oct. 16, police sent a notice to Cai's parents informing them their son was being detained on suspicion of deliberately injuring Li. Under a naked light bulb in their farmhouse, Yang said: "At school they are taught that the Japanese are bad, and when we turn on the TV, most of the dramas are about the war against Japan. It would be difficult to ask anyone not to hold anti-Japanese sentiments."
The mother said one of the dramas her son often watched was about members of the infamous Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army that conducted germ warfare experiments on humans. She said the drama showed Japanese cutting up the hearts of Chinese children they had performed autopsies on.
Such dramas continue to be produced on a wide scale in China.
Last year alone, at least 12 new series on this theme with a total of 396 episodes were produced. Of the 40 TV stations with extensive broadcasting areas, 21 showed programs about the war against Japan on Oct. 23.
The businessman who organized the anti-Japan protests in Xian in September said that history education in schools, TV programs about the war against Japan and media propaganda all created a view that "anti-Japanese is equal to patriotism."
There was a concerted effort to push patriotic education during the 1990s when Jiang Zemin was president. Movies, songs and books about the war against Japan were used in primary and junior high schools. Students also visited the 350 or so museums established throughout China about the war against Japan. An overwhelming number of young people in the poorer inland areas are easily swayed by such teachings and dramas. Unlike those who live in the more prosperous coastal regions, many young people in inland areas do not complete their compulsory education.
These young people also justified their violent actions as acts of patriotism when confronted by police during the anti-Japan demonstrations. After the anti-Japanese protests ended, Chinese authorities tracked down those who attacked Japanese cars. Many of those who have been detained are like Cai, itinerant workers who left their rural farming villages. They include young people who ransacked a Japanese supermarket in Qingdao, Shandong province, and damaged a Japanese car in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
A report on China Central Television said the reason for the violent turn of the protests was "a desire to vent personal frustration and dissatisfaction at their lives, including the low wages they receive."
Source: Asahi Shinbun.
Anti-Japanese propaganda is looking very strong in China.