Japan Times

Western lies blackened Beijing's image

By GREGORY CLARK 2005.05.30

ジャパンタイムズ 2005.05.30
China's successful moves to improve ties with India have done more than sabotage Tokyo's hopes for an anti-China alliance with New Delhi. They have also put an end to the myth that China's alleged aggressions against India since the 1960s would prevent any rapprochement between the two countries.

The key to this strange belief was the claim that China in 1962 had launched an unprovoked border attack against India. That claim was a blatant lie -- and one of the brighter and shinier variety. It was a classic example of the ease with which Western governments and intelligence agencies, together with their friends in academic, media and research organs, combine to distort information and blacken China's reputation in Asia.

In 1962 I was China desk officer in Canberra's Department of External Affairs. For much of the year there had been reports of Indian troops pushing into Chinese positions along the Sino-Indian border. On Oct. 20 we had a further report about clashes between Chinese and Indian troops at the Thag La ridge near the NEFA (North East Frontier Area) border, which was to lead to a Chinese counterattack into northern India.

New Delhi claimed unprovoked Chinese aggression. But the maps in front of me showed the Thag La ridge to be north of even the Indian-claimed frontier. So India must have attacked China first, and in an area where China had already offered major territory concessions (condemned, incidentally, by Taipei as a sellout to India).

When my cables to London and Washington confirmed this rather important fact, I assumed I could suggest to my superiors to ease up on their instant denunciations of Chinese "aggression" and their promises of immediate arms to India. Their response was swift: "We fail to see that it is not in the Western interest to have the Chinese and the Indians at each other's throats." London and Washington went along with this grubby realpolitik. Soon the commentators and experts in the Western media and elsewhere were retailing ominous tales about China's aggressive intentions throughout Asia.

The myth of Chinese aggression against peaceful India was to distort Asian affairs for more than 40 years. With the help of Western black-information agencies -- British especially -- it was to provide much of the justification later for Western intervention in Indochina. Detailed documentation from Beijing proving the location of the Thag La ridge was ignored.

Even the 1972 publication of "India's China War," the irrefutably detailed book by Neville Maxwell, the London Times New Delhi correspondent at the time, proving how Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had ordered the attack across the frontier, largely because of national pride and angst over the way China had consolidated control over Tibet, did little to change things. My own book on the subject, "In Fear of China," published four years earlier, had done even less.

Now, finally, with last month's historic meeting between the Chinese and Indian prime ministers in New Delhi, the myth is being buried. Both sides have agreed to settle frontier differences -- something China has long been able to do with all its other contiguous neighbors, often generously. India has dropped any challenge to China's sovereignty in Tibet. China has recognized Indian sovereignty over the once semiautonomous Himalayan region of Sikkim. A strategic partnership has been promised.

But hopes of Japan-India cooperation to oppose China still smolder in the hearts of many Japanese hawks. For years the goal was a tripartite Japan- India-Australia alliance against Beijing in Asia. That began to fall apart as Canberra belatedly realized its economic future lay with China.

Now the hawks are making much of Japan and India's alleged democracy vs. China's alleged totalitarianism, hoping to link into U.S. neocon plans to use the democracy issue to inspire change not just in the Middle East but eventually to force confusion and breakup in China. Leading hawk Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has now come out openly in the latest issue of Bungei Shunju magazine calling for such a breakup. With the Yasukuni Shrine issue back in the headlines, others will want to follow.

Yasukuni is an especially fertile source of continued anti-China claims. Tokyo's insistence that Beijing's protests over Yasukuni amount to intervention in Japan's domestic affairs rings hollow when one considers how the shrine and its notorious museum celebrate a Japanese intervention in China's domestic affairs that left some 20 million people dead. And Article 11 of the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty specifically obliges Japan to accept Beijing's key point, namely that the 14 wartime leaders enshrined at Yasukuni were in fact A-class war criminals. You can't get more international than that.

Talk about Japan's 60 year postwar record of peaceful behavior in Asia and official development assistance to China is also meaningless when it is clear that Tokyo wants to be involved in U.S. plans for military action against North Korea and China. ODA was simply a cheap way for Japan to avoid having to pay war reparations to China.

The claims that Japan has already apologized to China more than 20 times are also meaningless, given Tokyo's stubborn refusals to admit to former atrocities in China and to compensate Chinese and Korean individuals enslaved during the war years. As both the Chinese and South Korean leadership have pointed out, actions are more important than words, and so far Tokyo's actions have not been impressive.

That the Western media have largely gone along with Tokyo's claims over Yasukuni is further proof of just how easily they accept distorted views of China. Other examples include the Tiananmen massacre myth (check the now declassified cables from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing at the time for the true story), the claim that China's claims over Taiwan are expansionist (check the terms on which every major power has accepted Beijing's sovereignty over the island), or Beijing's constant reference to Taiwan as a "renegade province" (check the English-language Web sites for the main Chinese newspapers to find the reality). And so on.

It's time this important nation was taken more seriously.

 この奇妙な神話の元は、1962年に中国がインドに対し一方的に国境侵犯を行ったという主張だった。この主張は明らかな嘘だった。― しかもとびきり華々しい、透け透けの品種だ。それは西側政府や情報機関が、大学やメディア、研究機関の仲間たちと組んで、いとも簡単に情報を捻じ曲げ、アジアにおける中国評判を汚すために力を合わせているかを示す古典的な例だ。
“平和的なインドへの中国の攻撃”という神話が、以後40年以上アジア情勢を歪めることになった。西側のブラック・インフォメーション機関― とくにイギリスの― の協力のもとに、この神話は後の西側のインドシナ介入を正当化する上で大きな役割を果たした。中国が提出したタグラ尾根の位置を示した詳細な資料は、無視された。
 そしてついに、先月ニューデリーにおける中国とインドの首相の歴史的会談があり、神話は葬り去られた。双方は国境問題の対立点を話し合い解決することで一致した( 中国は、多くの場合気前よい形で、国境を接する他の全ての国とこれをとうに済ませていた。)インドはチベットにおける中国の統治権に対しいかなる挑戦も放棄。中国はヒマラヤの以前準自治区だったシッキムに対するインドの主権を承認。戦略的パートナーシップが確約された。
今ではタカ派は、日本とインドのいわゆる民主主義対中国のいわゆる全体主義という構図をもてはやしている― 中東を変えるのみならず、中国に混乱と解体をもたらすために、民主化問題を利用するというアメリカ・ネオコンのプランの一翼を担おうとして。