Petition Against Japanese Security Council Seat, edited by Jennifer Gross

Overview of events
Snapshots of Signature Campaign
Snapshots of News and Discussion Boards


To search DACHS for all articles concerning the events surrounding the Petition use combinations of the following keywords in the advanced search:

  • japan
  • protest movements
  • united nations security council membership
  • history
  • textbooks

Overview of events

In September 2004, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi announced that Japan would seek a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. The Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia, Los Angeles, started a campaign on the WWW asking everybody to sign a petition urging United Nations member states to reject Japan's bid. The campaign gathered momentum when more and more Chinese media outlets joined it in March 2005. Suddenly, the number of signatures per day rose steeply, hitting even one million (cf. Snapshots of signature campaign).

It remains unclear, how far the CCP encouraged the campaign through influencing its news coverage. Some voices like Jonathan Watts reported, the campaign has "shaken the government in Beijing, which has ordered the domestic media to play it down". The Asian Wall Street Journal and others instead reported: "It is an open question whether the government will decide, as it has in the past, to shut down the current petition when it seems to be getting 'out of control'. But thus far, the mainstream media appears to be condoning the petition." (cf. 金熙德: 日本有資格當常任理事國嗎 and snapshots of news and discussion boards ).

In the meantime, BBC reported two books on Sino-Japanese history were pulled off the market in late December 2004, not backing the Chinese government's line : "Ambiguity's Neighborhood" and "Iron and Plough", both by author Yu Jie 余杰 (cf. works from Yu Jie and articles about Yu Jie).

The next bone of contention was the Japanese government's approval of new high school history textbooks on April 5, 2005, that critics say whitewashes Japanese aggression in Asia: "References to Unit 731 are dropped. The 1937 Nanjing massacre is changed to the "Nanjing incident" and the casualties played down, with the implication that China invented the episode - a common contention among Japanese nationalists; Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo's governor, famously called the massacre a "Chinese lie"." (The Independent: Nanjing Massacre: The deepest of wounds; more information on the debate over the history textbook).

Demonstrations in different Chinese cities (i.e. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou) broke out at April 8, often turning violently against the Japanese embassy in Beijing, Japanese people, and property, finally even moving to the Internet. The Chinese police did not let the situation get out of control, but let the youth vent their anger a bit, thereby sending a clear message to Japan.

Two days later, the Japanese government protested against the violence, demanding an apology and compensation for the damage (cf. VOA: Japan Files Protest). A more conciliatory position was found at a meeting between the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka on April 17: "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future...The two sides agreed to make joint efforts to safeguard world peace and stability, not pose any threat to the other and resolve disputes through dialogue." (cf. China daily: China tells Japan: Take 'concrete actions' on history.)

On April 21, the Public Security Buro issued an official statement, expressing their sympathy for the "patriotic" demonstrations, but also advising them not to shake the public security. Finally, at the end of April some demonstrators were detained because of vandalism and an editorial was published in the Shanghai Liberation daily portraying "the demonstrations as a conspiracy to undermine the Communist Party". Opinions how to interpret this signal from the top diverged. It was intended "to frighten people away from participating in any future anti-Japan demonstrations" said a senior editor at a party-run newspaper in Beijing, but a political analyst instead suggested, that China's "Japan policy has become a source of internal contention". (Herald Tribune: China paper sees 'evil plot' in anti-Japan protests).

Snapshots of Signature Campaign

From March 29 to April 5, 2005, a sample of Chinese web portals collecting signatures for the campaign against Japan were downloaded and archived in DACHS. Two major portals, 新浪網 and 中華網, were not included due to technical problems. The downloads were limited to a maximum of 2000 files. For more descriptive details, please refer to the downloads' metadata provided in the archives catalogue. Of further interest is a survey from 新浪網 about the distribution of Chinese netizens' signatures by prefecture and of international netizens' signatures by country.

Chinese pages:

網易網友簽名大行動 : 反對日本成為安理會常任理事國 / 網易 (Number of signatures on March 29: 4,336,686)

Among others somebody signed repeatedly for the 南京30万亡灵 (the three million dead souls of Nanjing). Many signatures are doubled or tippled, therefore the absolute number of signatures is higher, then the number of people signing. This is true for all sign boards. Note also the comments at the bottom of the page including lyrics, polemics...

全球華人大簽名反對日本成為安理會常任理事國 / (Number of signatures on March 29: 2,153,149)

全球華人簽名反對日本成為常任理事國 / 聯眾世界 (Number of signatures on March 29: 262,160)

反對日本成為聯合國常任理事國的'百万人全球簽名'活動 / (Number of signatures on April 4: 11,088 Chinese, 156 foreigners, 129 groups)

The signatures on this and the next two boards are divided into China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), overseas Chinese and organizations/groups

全球大簽名活動 : 反對日本成為聯合國安理會常任理事國 / 中關村動力 (Number of signatures on April 4: 401,556)

全球華人大簽名活動 : 反對日本成為安理會常任理事國.用我們的網站筑起我們新的長城 / 新浪潮網結 (Number of signatures on April 5: 26,884)

Korean pages:

Petition urging the United Nations to reject Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council / Historical Justice Now (Number of signatures on April 5: 101,030)

Global Petition to the UN & ILO : Japan must take legal responsibility for crimes of military sexual slavery. Japan is not qualified to be a permanent member of UN Security Council / The Korean Council for the Women (Number of signatures on April 5: 58,756)

Snapshots of News and Discussion Boards

From March 29 to April 5, 2005, a sample of Chinese news portals and discussion boards featuring the campaign against Japan were downloaded and archived in DACHS. The downlaods of news portals were limited to two download levels, downloads of discussion boards to 100 files. For more descriptive details, please confer to the downloads' metadata provided in the archives catalogue.


反對日本成為安理會常任理事國 : [新聞中心] / 新浪網 (March 30)

反對日本成為安理會常任理事國 : [新聞中心] / 網易 (March 30)

日謀求聯合國常任遭周邊國家斥 : [中華網新聞] / 中華網 (March 30)

日本謀求成為安理會常任理事國 : [新聞中心] / (March 30)

Discussion boards:

日本謀求常任理事國度位 : 發表評論 / 新浪網 (March 30)

全球40万人簽名反對日本成為聯合國常任理事國 / 中華網 (March 30)

全球大簽名反對日本成為聯合國常任理事國 : [評論] / (March 30)

全球華人反日簽名站留言評論 : 用我們的網站筑起我們新的長城 / (April 5)

Last edited by: RS
Latest Revision: 2014-04-28
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