Chiding ChinaIt was nonsensical that some pro-Chinese protesters staged violent rallies during the torch relay in Seoul for the Beijing Olympic Games. They once again portrayed themselves as members of a not quite developed country on the international stage. It is very shocking that they started violent clashes against the people they live with in this country. It was an incident that got people wondering how a country of 1.3 billion will face the world when it clings to such narrow-minded nationalism.
Still, this is nothing new.
There is China’s “Northeast Project,” which is attempting to incorporate the ancient Korean kingdom of Goguryeo into Chinese history. China also threatened Korean lawmakers who attended the inauguration of the Taiwanese prime minister, saying it would “remember every one of you who appear there.” When Korean ships sank due to an attack by Chinese ships, the Chinese authorities did not ask for its ships to take responsibility. Such actions demonstrate their arrogant tendency to treat Korea as a small subject country that should pay tribute to China.
The recent violence could be understood in the same way. It is understandable that Chinese citizens could feel bad about opposition to the torch relay for the upcoming Olympic Games in China. But it is only proper that such opposition be expressed peacefully and reasonably.
But the Chinese were throwing wooden sticks at a group of people in their host country because they were protesting the relay. They never reacted this way in other countries such as the United States or in Europe. As such, it appears that they look down on this country.
Chinese leaders have said their diplomatic tactics abide by “Hwapyeong gulgi,” which is a coined term that means “China’s peaceful rise.” They also declared that it will become a “complete and cooperative partner” in its relations with Korea. But this recent incident makes their strategic tactics and their declarations meaningless.
The Chinese government should give an appropriate warning to its citizens who took part in the violent protests.
But it is clear that such incidents will occur again if they keep adhering to a distorted patriotism. Only when they drop this antagonism will China become a great country that gets the respect it deserves from the world.
Until then, it is a great concern that it will only become worse after China hosts the Olympic Games.