Chasing Chinese planes 400 times a year stretches Japan’s top guns



Fighter pilot Jun Fukuda sits edgily on the couch in his flight suit, waiting for the call that sends him sprinting to his jet. On any given day, he will chase and warn off Chinese military planes nearing Japanese airspace.

The 35-year-old motorbike enthusiast and soon-to-be father is a captain in the fighter squadron based at Naha, the nearest Japanese base to islets in dispute with China. The single squadron at the Okinawan capital operates in a high-octane environment and is scrambled on average more than once a day — leading to a record of more than 400 times in the year through March 2014.

China outnumbers Japan almost eight-to-one in air force manpower and is building capacity, with plans for its newest stealth fighter to debut in November. Even so, Chinese pilots lag their Japanese counterparts in training and experience, raising the risk of a near miss or collision. The flybys also highlight the obstacles to warmer ties between Asia’s two largest economies.

As the Japanese pilots on stand-by watch television, read and sip tea in a lounge, the atmosphere is tense, according to F-15 pilot Fukuda, who goes by the call-sign Mars, the Roman god of war. To save time, they wait in the tight-fitting anti-G suits needed to protect them from otherwise deadly acceleration forces, and keep life jackets and helmets in their planes.

“A scramble is when something could actually start with another country,” he said. “You know you can’t make a mistake.”

Fukuda said Naha’s location close to the contested Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea adds to the pressure. “We are very near, on the front line,” he said, as jets roared outside a prefabricated office on the base. “That gives you a sense of purpose.”

When Major Gen. Yasuhiko Suzuki was first posted as a fighter pilot to subtropical Naha in the 1990s it was a military backwater. Now the commanding officer, he says China’s assertiveness has made it Japan’s most important base.

“It’s practically every day,” Suzuki, dressed in a uniform of white shirt and dark blue trousers, said in his office. “It’s absolutely extraordinary to ask one squadron to deal with more than 400 scrambles a year. It’s an extremely heavy burden.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking to bolster Japan’s defenses, particularly in the southwest islands. On Naha, buildings are being demolished to prepare the way for a second squadron, set to move to Okinawa by March 2016 and double the number of fighter jets to about 40. The military won’t disclose how many pilots are in the current squadron at Naha.

Japan is set to establish a new military observation unit on Yonaguni Island, which is close to the Japan-administered Senkakus. The defense budget for the fiscal year starting April includes funds for amphibious vehicles and the development of a nascent Marine-style unit on Kyushu. Plans are in place to ferry troops from as far away as Hokkaido in the event of a conflict.

Japan, China and Taiwan each claim ownership of the uninhabited islets, which are called Diaoyu by China and Tiaoyutai by Taiwan. The dispute has been cited as a factor behind an almost 39 percent drop in Japanese investment in China last year, even as China was Japan’s top trading partner in 2013. China says it has records of the islands going back about 600 years and that it administered them until it lost a war to Japan in 1895.

Japan sent aircraft to head off foreign military planes flying close to its airspace a total of 744 times in the nine months to December 2014, up more than 30 percent on the same period the previous year and heading toward the highest annual total since the end of the Cold War.

While dispatches against Russian aircraft are back down after an increase last year, sorties against Chinese aircraft, almost all from Naha, have continued to rise.

China is probably seeking to glean data through its flybys, said Bonji Ohara, a research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, a former navy pilot and ex-military attache at the Japanese Embassy in China.

“They can see what the delay is before planes appear, and gather information about Japan’s response,” he said.

In 2013, China set up an air identification zone covering the disputed islands, sparking criticism from Japan and the U.S. Last year, Japan protested after Chinese fighters flew “abnormally close” to its military planes on two occasions. China has also complained about the activities of Japanese military planes.

China is rapidly expanding its air force — boasting a total of 398,000 personnel according to a 2013 White Paper on defense. It is updating its equipment and training to catch up with its neighbor, long seen as the benchmark for the region. Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force has about 50,000 personnel.

China says its domestically produced J-11 aircraft is similar in capability to the F-15, which was first introduced by the U.S. in 1974. It has more recently developed the stealth J-20 and J-31, while Japan has opted to buy the Lockheed-Martin F-35, though it will not initially be deployed to Okinawa.

It’s not just a lack of numbers that hampers Naha’s 83rd Air Wing. The base shares a single runway with the adjacent civilian airport. While scrambles take priority over passenger flights, fighter jets embarking on daily training sessions must wait in line behind planes taking visitors back to Shanghai and Beijing, as well as Taiwan and the Japanese mainland.

Fukuda said he joined the armed forces because he wanted to become a pilot and travel, rather than a desire to defend the nation. Now that his wife is expecting a child this year, his feelings have changed, he said.

“It’s for the country,” he said. “And on a smaller scale it’s for your family. You get the feeling you need to protect them.”

  • iwishitweretrue

    Most of these 400 times a year chasing Chinese planes are a nonsense because the Chinese own the Diaoyu islands and have done so since ancient times, and have the maps to prove it. Japan has no maps proving Japan own the Diaoyu and Japan broke a 1979 agreemnt with Deng Xiao Ping not to do anything on the Daioyu’s without China’s consent when Japan unilaterally nationalised the island’s. If a nation like Japan takes an agressive stance, it will get an aggressive response, and so Japan needs to learn to act as a good responsible neighbour. The Daioyu issue will be solved through negotiation and not by Japanese pilots and an attempt to steal the islands from the Chinese.

    • Jbw87

      You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. China never controlled these islands. The islands were annexed by Japan a long time ago after JAPAN won a war against China and temporarily seized Taiwan. China’s maps only prove that the islands were used as a navigational waypoint in “ancient” times as you so called them.

      When Japan was defeated by the USA, the usa claimed the islands during the American occupation of Japan and used them for bombing practices until the Japanese government resumed responsibility for the Senkakus. By then oil reserves had been discovered and China suddenly purported that the islands belonged to them. In the late 70’s oil became cheap and the chinese agreed to put the issue to bed. Only recently and during peak oil did they rehash old affairs because it suited them.

      Chinese history is higly unreliable, and quite frankly, misconstrued.

      The japanese have always managed the land and since possession is 9/10ths of the law, than the Japanese own them.

      Simple as that!

      • iwishitweretrue

        Unfortunately, you are wrong, and are supporting Japan’s theft of the Diaoyou island’s. Japan has no historical map’s of the Diaoyu. and under the Potsdam Declaration/Cairo Convention of WW2, Japan should have returned the island’s to China as part of the war assets it had illegally stolen or taken by force in 1895. The US, who is a third party to the illegal theft of the Diaoyu, adminstrered the Diaoyu island’s, but for Cold War reason’s and un return for Japan allowing the US to use the Okinanwa air base during and after the Korean War, signed a void treaty called the Treaty of San Fransciso in which teh US allowed Japan to adminster the Daioyu. This was an illegal act of theft by the US, because US did not own the Diaoyu, because the Island’w were historially Chinese and should have been returned to China under the WW2 Postdam Declaration. In reality the Diaoyu issue shoukd go to the International Court of Justice to be resolved peaceably. However, Noda refused to go to the ICJ in 2012. In an exactly similar case involving East Greenland between Norway and Denamrk,teh judges ruled in favour of Norwat because Norwat could prove historical ownership. China can prove historical ownershop of the Diaoyu whilst Japan cannot!!

      • Sam Gilman

        So why did modern official Chinese publications until the discovery of oil and other deposits nearby refer to the Senkakus as part of the Ryukyus and thereby part of Japan?

        And why has Beijing tried to ban access to these documents for its own people?

      • iwishitweretrue

        Why did the US set up the theft of the Daioyu after the Potsdam Decalaration stipulated that the Daioyu be returned? Why is the US always so threatened by and always peddling lies about China? It’s almost so bad, that each time a US representative opens their mouths, you know it’s a lie!!

        Why can’t the Chinese say and do what they want about their own property, without thieves like the US and Japan looking for every opportunity to steal the Daioyu? Why can’t the Chinese claim it’s own property and whether it has oil or not – is irrelevant – because the Diaoyu belong to China oil or no oil. Your document is irrelevant – because if you had bothered to study a little history you will have seen that the Chinese were pre-occupied with the Cultural Revolution at the time!! Once China realized that Japan was trying to steal it’s Daioyu island, oil or no oil, they decided enough was enough, and claimed their own island.

        Why did the US not abide by the Posdam Resolution and return the Daioyu to China? Why does the US not abide by the Potsdam resolution now? Answer. Bevause the US is a thief and is aiding and abbetting Japan in it’s theft. Interesting to see your moraility as you try to justify the theft of teh Daioyu’s.

      • Sam Gilman

        Let’s look at this “we had a map” argument. What’s your view of the sovereignty of Tibet?

      • iwishitweretrue

        China has maps and historical documents, as well as the Potsdam declaration to prove ownership of the Diaoyu – Japan has no proof. Additionally, Japan is clutching at staws as regards a faulty Chinese map from the 1970’s or trying to claim that China is only interested in the Diaoyu because of the oil. The Daioyu issue is an ownership issue and is 100% different from other South Sea claims – despite Japan trying to muddy the water by claiming it is. Interestingly Noda refused to take the Daioyu issue to the ICJ in 2012(Google “Noda iCJ Senkaku)

        As regards Tibet – this is just another mine of typical US misinformation and lies and is a blatant US attempt to try and destablize China! Tibet has been part of China, give or take a few years,from circa 1200AD – and so talking about the sovereingty of Tibet is a non Starter. Google history of Tibet – see wikipedia article. Saying Tibet should be sovereign is like saying Texas should be an independent counttry or the US South should be a seperate country in the USA!!. Also, for an accurate history of Tibet – Google “Michael Parenti – The Tibet Myth”.

      • Sam Gilman

        Thank you for making your “who cares – we had a map” position on the genocide of over a million Tibetans and counting resisting Chinese rule. It illustrates how comfortable you are presenting flimsy arguments in defence of Beijing policy.

        Michael Parenti doesn’t say Tibet was part of China. He tries to justify the imperialist occupation of Tibet by Communist China by saying how awful Tibet was. That good old civilising mission of the British, eh? Nice to know you have such a terrible opinion of Tibetans in general. Of course, when we really want an objective history of China and Tibet, the first source we think of is a magazine article by a hard left American intellectual who cannot speak either Chinese or Tibetan. We could ask what Tibetans inside Tibet think, but as Amnesty states, there’s s ban on reporting human rights issues. Why, if Tibet were part of China, would Beijing need to impose special restrictions like this?

        About this quite surreal “we were too busy with a communist party ordered massacre of our own population to bother with noticing Japan had claimed the Senkakus”. When the still officially revered Mao Tse-Tung ordered this slaughter of the Chinese people – under the aegis of a communist party that is still in power and still brutalising its own people – so that he could reassert his non-democratic control, it was 1966. The People’s Daily listed the Senkakus, under the Japanese name, in the 1950s as Japanese, as did Chinese maps – both in the People’s Republic and Taiwan.

        Is it true you get about fifty cents a post for writing these defences of the Communist Party line?

      • iwishitweretrue

        It’s always amusing listening to someone trying to sound intelligent, when they have no argument, and are no doubt a low grade govt. employee in sone lowly clerical position. If you had the ability to read and properly understand the Michael Parenti article properly, you would have seen that he praised China for rescuing the Tibetans from their Middle Ages serfdom imposed by the Llama’s. You obviously think that the Tibetans should remain slaves in Middle Ages servitude and not have lives!!!

        If you had the intelligence to do a bit of googleing and searched for “history of Tibet Wikipedia”, you would have seen that China has in fact controlled Tibet since 1250, give or take a few years. That is longer than the US has been in existence!! The Chinese have been controlling Tibet 750 years – communist and non communist!!

        It sounds as though you are also a little too thick to read about and understand how pre-occupied China was during the cultural revolution – the time intellectuals were sent to the countryside – to understand that China goofed on a map. However, China knows about it’s history and the Diaoyu Island’s and has the maps to prove ownership, as well as the Potsdam Decalaration of WW2, whilst Japan has zilch. It’s amusing to see how professional liars like you cannot provide any proof of Japanese ownership of the Diaoyu.

        It’s funny now how both China and Taiwan have seen through the US scam of teh San Fransco Treaty and the US trying to hand over Chinese property(the Dioayu Islands) to Japan for it to steal. If you do a bit more googling(U.S. considered withholding return of Senkaku Islands to Japan), you will see that Tricky Dicky Nixon tricked Japan by forcing Japan to stop it’s textile sales to the US in return for the Daioyu’s(which actually belonged to China). Yes – the US is involved in the theft of the Daioyu from China!!

        Funny also how the US try to pin a 1961 famine on Mao and try to pretend he slaughtered the Chinese people, which is 100% nonsense. As I said earlier, most of what you say is a lie unless you can provide proof otherwise, as I have kindly done.

        Funny how the Middle East and Iraq are suffereing from US incompetence, as is the Ukraine!!! The US cannot do anything properly, can it?

      • Sam Gilman

        The projection here is revealing:

        [you] are no doubt a low grade govt. employee in sone lowly clerical position.

        No, I live in a democracy where people are free to express their views – unlike the People’s Republic of China where you are not. I do this for free. I have that choice. So, you’re a civil servant? An apparatchik?

        You say

        If you had the ability to read and properly understand the Michael Parenti article properly, you would have seen that he praised China for rescuing the Tibetans from their Middle Ages serfdom imposed by the Llama’s

        Isn’t it interesting whether it’s Britain, France, America China or Japan, imperialists like you always reinterpret “marching in and massacring people” as a civilising mission? Just like the Communist Government in China are civilising the Uighurs.

      • iwishitweretrue

        It’s interesting that you are so ignorant in general as the US has the worst crime stats in the world – yes Google crime – and the US has attacked more countries and created more deaths around the world than any other country. It’s intestesting that the US has more inequality than any other country with about 45% living in poverty, and yet you boast of democracy.

        The rich 1% control the US and it’s politicans, making the vote a sham for the other 99%, and its politicians and yet you boast of democracy. Kind of reminds me of India with all its inequalitities, corruption, and problems and yet it boats of democracy. The reality is the democracy has become nothing but an empty word in the West and a scam used by the US and it’s powermongers to destabilise and control other countries. Of course, you probably don’t even understand democracy but that’s you, you are just a low grade govt. employee, whose thinks he’s rich because he’s controlled by the 1% that runs his country!!!

        As for China, it’s the oldest continous culture on the planet, 5000 years old, compared to 300 years for the US!! Just because you are too ignorant to read up onand understand China and it’s culture and history, it does not mean China’s way of doing thing’s is wrong. China is a peaceful country respectful of it’s neighbours and does not go around the World attacking other countries for nothing like the democractic US and it’s allies!! Funny that the imperialist US is going around the world fighting wars, Iraq, Ukraine etc etc, and creating and arming ISIS with Saudi Arabia whilst pretending that China is imperilaist and warlike. You are obviously just permamently confused!!

        The renowned US scholar Michale Parenti is correct in his analysis on Tibet, Tibet has been part of China since ancient times and China has rescued it’s people from serfdom. Likewise Xinjiang has been part of China since ancient times, and it’s people are well treated unless they try to be islamists and kill people. The US and the West are killing Isis islamist’s in iraq and Syria at present!!

        You are obviously someone who cannot and does not think very deeply, and who blindly hates China and it’s people. It looks as though someone is paying you to write your trilling trite on this board.

      • Sam Gilman

        No, I don’t hate China at all. I think China is a fascinating place with an extremely rich culture. I have been very careful not to attack China in general – just the communist party and its leaders. You’re not defending China, you’re defending the actions of the Chinese Communist Party and the terrible things they have done to the Chinese people. You’re the one confusing the Chinese Communist Party with China in general. There are a large number of Chinese – in the PRC as well as outside – who would strongly object to you confusing the two.

        If your defence of the Communist slaughter not only of Tibetans and Uighurs but also Han Chinese is “look, America has really bad crime”, then that’s pretty weak. You need to take responsibility for your own Party’s actions, not try to hide behind what other people do.

      • iwishitweretrue

        You have in fact been attacking China – especially when you ignorantly state that regions which have been part of China for over 500 years – Tibet and Xinjian are not part of China – and that China took these areas through imperialism. It’s utter nonsense, and your comments just underline your lack of education and general ignorance.

        Additionally, you are now peddling and fabricating downright lies when you state that Ughurs and Tibetans are being slaughtered becvause it’s a complet untruth!! The only Uighurs who get killed are Islamist bent on murder and no-one is getting killed in Tibet. I did point out that US officals always tell lies – and you back up my point. You seem to think crime and homicide in the US is OK and no big deal – how about Ferguson – now about all the black US citizens that the white cops like killing? Google (map of world by intentional homicide rate). Additionally look at the invasion of Afghansiatn, Iraq, Libya, war in Syria, war in the Ukraine, and the US;s involvement!! The US is the most toxic country on the planet viz a viz attacking other countries!! China has attacked no-one!!

        Like most ignorant US citizens, you don’t even understand what communism is and how it work’s. How come a Communist China is the world’s second largest economy and the world’s largest trading entity? Why does China suppirt Apple and so many high end US companies? You have not a clue!!! China has always had strong central leadership through it’s history, Communis or no communism!! Why did Mao fall out with Russia and why did Kissinger and Nixon reach out to Communist China?

      • Sam Gilman

        Like most ignorant US citizens…

        Guilty as charged. I had no idea I was a US citizen.

        Hey, here’s an idea: why don’t you allow a free vote in Tibet?

      • iwishitweretrue

        Hey, here’s an even better idea, why don’t you allow other countries to run themselves?

      • Sam Gilman

        Like Tibet?

        Sure, good idea.

        You’re not very good at this, are you?

      • iwishitweretrue

        On the contrary, you are a little thick as I pointed out ages ago. You still don’t understand that Tibet has been part of China for 800 year. China would therefore make the decison on how to run itself, which includes running Tibet!!

      • Sam Gilman

        The thing is, you go on about being informed, but then there’s this:


        which illustrates how difficult it is for you to find out what’s actually happening.

      • iwishitweretrue

        You are a bit silly are’nt you!! I know more about Tibet and it’s history than you ever will – despite your so called freedoms!! There is nothing worse than someone willfully blind!!

      • Sam Gilman

        So you acknowledge that you don’t have so-called “freedom” in China? That’s mighty brave of you.

        The thing about Tibet is this: it’s not yours. It belongs to the Tibetans. That’s it, really. Here, you can read what their government says:


        or if you dare, in Chinese. I seriously recommend not clicking on this for your own safety if you are inside the PRC:


      • iwishitweretrue

        Funny, how you still don’t understand Tibet’s history and are changing the subject. Funny how you claim you are not a US citizen, and yet you go on and on about Tibet, in which everyone knows that the CIA is trying to create trouble!! Everyone knows that the CIA is desperately trying to fund and support Tibetan seperatists!!

        As I said earlier, no-one is going to listen to a still half baked person like you trying to give some serious advice on a part of China he knows nothing about. Listening to you, is a little like getting safety advice on how to protect yoru money from a known thief!!

        You are obviously just a kid trying to play with toy’s he knows nothing about!!!

        Michael Parenti covers the CIA involvement well:”Over the centuries the Tibetan lords and lamas had seen Chinese come and go, and had enjoyed good relations with Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek and his reactionary Kuomintang rule in China.26 The approval of the Kuomintang government was needed to validate the choice of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. When the current 14th Dalai Lama was first installed in Lhasa, it was with an armed escort of Chinese troops and an attending Chinese minister, in accordance with centuries-old tradition. What upset the Tibetan lords and lamas in the early 1950s was that these latest Chinese were Communists. It would be only a matter of time, they feared, before the Communists started imposing their collectivist egalitarian schemes upon Tibet.

        The issue was joined in 1956-57, when armed Tibetan bands ambushed convoys of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. The uprising received extensive assistance from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including military training, support camps in Nepal, and numerous airlifts.27 Meanwhile in the United States, the American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA-financed front, energetically publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance, with the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in that organization. The Dalai Lama’s second-eldest brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA as early as 1951. He later upgraded it into a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet.28

        Many Tibetan commandos and agents whom the CIA dropped into the country were chiefs of aristocratic clans or the sons of chiefs. Ninety percent of them were never heard from again, according to a report from the CIA itself, meaning they were most likely captured and killed.29“Many lamas and lay members of the elite and much of the Tibetan army joined the uprising, but in the main the populace did not, assuring its failure,” writes Hugh Deane.30 In their book on Tibet, Ginsburg and Mathos reach a similar conclusion: “As far as can be ascertained, the great bulk of the common people of Lhasa and of the adjoining countryside failed to join in the fighting against the Chinese both when it first began and as it progressed.”31 Eventually the resistance crumbled.”

        also how the Tibetan Llama’s lorded it over the people:

        Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese after 1959, they did abolish slavery and the Tibetan serfdom system of unpaid labor. They eliminated the many crushing taxes, started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They established secular schools, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. And they constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa.32

        Along with the blood drenched landscape of religious conflict there is the experience of inner peace and solace that every religion promises, none more so than Buddhism. Standing in marked contrast to the intolerant savagery of other religions, Buddhism is neither fanatical nor dogmatic–so say its adherents. For many of them Buddhism is less a theology and more a meditative and investigative discipline intended to promote an inner harmony and enlightenment while directing us to a path of right living. Generally, the spiritual focus is not only on oneself but on the welfare of others. One tries to put aside egoistic pursuits and gain a deeper understanding of one’s connection to all people and things. “Socially engaged Buddhism” tries to blend individual liberation with responsible social action in order to build an enlightened society.

        A glance at history, however, reveals that not all the many and widely varying forms of Buddhism have been free of doctrinal fanaticism, nor free of the violent and exploitative pursuits so characteristic of other religions. In Sri Lanka there is a legendary and almost sacred recorded history about the triumphant battles waged by Buddhist kings of yore. During the twentieth century, Buddhists clashed violently with each other and with non-Buddhists in Thailand, Burma, Korea, Japan, India, and elsewhere. In Sri Lanka, armed battles between Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamils have taken many lives on both sides. In 1998 the U.S. State Department listed thirty of the world’s most violent and dangerous extremist groups. Over half of them were religious, specifically Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist. 1

        In South Korea, in 1998, thousands of monks of the Chogye Buddhist order fought each other with fists, rocks, fire-bombs, and clubs, in pitched battles that went on for weeks. They were vying for control of the order, the largest in South Korea, with its annual budget of $9.2 million, its millions of dollars worth of property, and the privilege of appointing 1,700 monks to various offices. The brawls damaged the main Buddhist sanctuaries and left dozens of monks injured, some seriously. The Korean public appeared to disdain both factions, feeling that no matter what side took control, “it would use worshippers’ donations for luxurious houses and expensive cars.” 2

        As with any religion, squabbles between or within Buddhist sects are often fueled by the material corruption and personal deficiencies of the leadership. For example, in Nagano, Japan, at Zenkoji, the prestigious complex of temples that has hosted Buddhist sects for more than 1,400 years, “a nasty battle” arose between Komatsu the chief priest and the Tacchu, a group of temples nominally under the chief priest’s sway. The Tacchu monks accused Komatsu of selling writings and drawings under the temple’s name for his own gain. They also were appalled by the frequency with which he was seen in the company of women. Komatsu in turn sought to isolate and punish monks who were critical of his leadership. The conflict lasted some five years and made it into the courts. 3

        But what of Tibetan Buddhism? Is it not an exception to this sort of strife? And what of the society it helped to create? Many Buddhists maintain that, before the Chinese crackdown in 1959, old Tibet was a spiritually oriented kingdom free from the egotistical lifestyles, empty materialism, and corrupting vices that beset modern industrialized society. Western news media, travel books, novels, and Hollywood films have portrayed the Tibetan theocracy as a veritable Shangri-La. The Dalai Lama himself stated that “the pervasive influence of Buddhism” in Tibet, “amid the wide open spaces of an unspoiled environment resulted in a society dedicated to peace and harmony. We enjoyed freedom and contentment.” 4

        A reading of Tibet’s history suggests a somewhat different picture. “Religious conflict was commonplace in old Tibet,” writes one western Buddhist practitioner. “History belies the Shangri-La image of Tibetan lamas and their followers living together in mutual tolerance and nonviolent goodwill. Indeed, the situation was quite different. Old Tibet was much more like Europe during the religious wars of the Counterreformation.” 5 In the thirteenth century, Emperor Kublai Khan created the first Grand Lama, who was to preside over all the other lamas as might a pope over his bishops. Several centuries later, the Emperor of China sent an army into Tibet to support the Grand Lama, an ambitious 25-year-old man, who then gave himself the title of Dalai (Ocean) Lama, ruler of all Tibet.

        His two previous lama “incarnations” were then retroactively recognized as his predecessors, thereby transforming the 1st Dalai Lama into the 3rd Dalai Lama. This 1st (or 3rd) Dalai Lama seized monasteries that did not belong to his sect, and is believed to have destroyed Buddhist writings that conflicted with his claim to divinity. The Dalai Lama who succeeded him pursued a sybaritic life, enjoying many mistresses, partying with friends, and acting in other ways deemed unfitting for an incarnate deity. For these transgressions he was murdered by his priests. Within 170 years, despite their recognized divine status, five Dalai Lamas were killed by their high priests or other courtiers. 6

        For hundreds of years competing Tibetan Buddhist sects engaged in bitterly violent clashes and summary executions. In 1660, the 5th Dalai Lama was faced with a rebellion in Tsang province, the stronghold of the rival Kagyu sect with its high lama known as the Karmapa. The 5th Dalai Lama called for harsh retribution against the rebels, directing the Mongol army to obliterate the male and female lines, and the offspring too “like eggs smashed against rocks…. In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.” 7

        In 1792, many Kagyu monasteries were confiscated and their monks were forcibly converted to the Gelug sect (the Dalai Lama’s denomination). The Gelug school, known also as the “Yellow Hats,” showed little tolerance or willingness to mix their teachings with other Buddhist sects. In the words of one of their traditional prayers: “Praise to you, violent god of the Yellow Hat teachings/who reduces to particles of dust/ great beings, high officials and ordinary people/ who pollute and corrupt the Gelug doctrine.” 8 An eighteenth-century memoir of a Tibetan general depicts sectarian strife among Buddhists that is as brutal and bloody as any religious conflict might be. 9 This grim history remains largely unvisited by present-day followers of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

        Religions have had a close relationship not only with violence but with economic exploitation. Indeed, it is often the economic exploitation that necessitates the violence. Such was the case with the Tibetan theocracy. Until 1959, when the Dalai Lama last presided over Tibet, most of the arable land was still organized into manorial estates worked by serfs. These estates were owned by two social groups: the rich secular landlords and the rich theocratic lamas. Even a writer sympathetic to the old order allows that “a great deal of real estate belonged to the monasteries, and most of them amassed great riches.” Much of the wealth was accumulated “through active participation in trade, commerce, and money lending.” 10

        Drepung monastery was one of the biggest landowners in the world, with its 185 manors, 25,000 serfs, 300 great pastures, and 16,000 herdsmen. The wealth of the monasteries rested in the hands of small numbers of high-ranking lamas. Most ordinary monks lived modestly and had no direct access to great wealth. The Dalai Lama himself “lived richly in the 1000-room, 14-story Potala Palace.” 11

        Secular leaders also did well. A notable example was the commander-in-chief of the Tibetan army, a member of the Dalai Lama’s lay Cabinet, who owned 4,000 square kilometers of land and 3,500 serfs. 12 Old Tibet has been misrepresented by some Western admirers as “a nation that required no police force because its people voluntarily observed the laws of karma.” 13 In fact. it had a professional army, albeit a small one, that served mainly as a gendarmerie for the landlords to keep order, protect their property, and hunt down runaway serfs.

        Young Tibetan boys were regularly taken from their peasant families and brought into the monasteries to be trained as monks. Once there, they were bonded for life. Tashì-Tsering, a monk, reports that it was common for peasant children to be sexually mistreated in the monasteries. He himself was a victim of repeated rape, beginning at age nine. 14 The monastic estates also conscripted children for lifelong servitude as domestics, dance performers, and soldiers.

        In old Tibet there were small numbers of farmers who subsisted as a kind of free peasantry, and perhaps an additional 10,000 people who composed the “middle-class” families of merchants, shopkeepers, and small traders. Thousands of others were beggars. There also were slaves, usually domestic servants, who owned nothing. Their offspring were born into slavery.15 The majority of the rural population were serfs. Treated little better than slaves, the serfs went without schooling or medical care, They were under a lifetime bond to work the lord’s land–or the monastery’s land–without pay, to repair the lord’s houses, transport his crops, and collect his firewood. They were also expected to provide carrying animals and transportation on demand.16 Their masters told them what crops to grow and what animals to raise. They could not get married without the consent of their lord or lama. And they might easily be separated from their families should their owners lease them out to work in a distant location. 17

        As in a free labor system and unlike slavery, the overlords had no responsibility for the serf’s maintenance and no direct interest in his or her survival as an expensive piece of property. The serfs had to support themselves. Yet as in a slave system, they were bound to their masters, guaranteeing a fixed and permanent workforce that could neither organize nor strike nor freely depart as might laborers in a market context. The overlords had the best of both worlds.

        One 22-year old woman, herself a runaway serf, reports: “Pretty serf girls were usually taken by the owner as house servants and used as he wished”; they “were just slaves without rights.”18 Serfs needed permission to go anywhere. Landowners had legal authority to capture those who tried to flee. One 24-year old runaway welcomed the Chinese intervention as a “liberation.” He testified that under serfdom he was subjected to incessant toil, hunger, and cold. After his third failed escape, he was merciless beaten by the landlord’s men until blood poured from his nose and mouth. They then poured alcohol and caustic soda on his wounds to increase the pain, he claimed.19

        The serfs were taxed upon getting married, taxed for the birth of each child and for every death in the family. They were taxed for planting a tree in their yard and for keeping animals. They were taxed for religious festivals and for public dancing and drumming, for being sent to prison and upon being released. Those who could not find work were taxed for being unemployed, and if they traveled to another village in search of work, they paid a passage tax. When people could not pay, the monasteries lent them money at 20 to 50 percent interest. Some debts were handed down from father to son to grandson. Debtors who could not meet their obligations risked being cast into slavery.20

        The theocracy’s religious teachings buttressed its class order. The poor and afflicted were taught that they had brought their troubles upon themselves because of their wicked ways in previous lives. Hence they had to accept the misery of their present existence as a karmic atonement and in anticipation that their lot would improve in their next lifetime. The rich and powerful treated their good fortune as a reward for, and tangible evidence of, virtue in past and present lives.

        The Tibetan serfs were something more than superstitious victims, blind to their own oppression. As we have seen, some ran away; others openly resisted, sometimes suffering dire consequences. In feudal Tibet, torture and mutilation–including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation–were favored punishments inflicted upon thieves, and runaway or resistant serfs. Journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: “When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion.”21 Since it was against Buddhist teachings to take human life, some offenders were severely lashed and then “left to God” in the freezing night to die. “The parallels between Tibet and medieval Europe are striking,” concludes Tom Grunfeld in his book on Tibet. 22

        In 1959, Anna Louise Strong visited an exhibition of torture equipment that had been used by the Tibetan overlords. There were handcuffs of all sizes, including small ones for children, and instruments for cutting off noses and ears, gouging out eyes, breaking off hands, and hamstringing legs. There were hot brands, whips, and special implements for disemboweling. The exhibition presented photographs and testimonies of victims who had been blinded or crippled or suffered amputations for thievery. There was the shepherd whose master owed him a reimbursement in yuan and wheat but refused to pay. So he took one of the master’s cows; for this he had his hands severed. Another herdsman, who opposed having his wife taken from him by his lord, had his hands broken off. There were pictures of Communist activists with noses and upper lips cut off, and a woman who was raped and then had her nose sliced away.23

        Earlier visitors to Tibet commented on the theocratic despotism. In 1895, an Englishman, Dr. A. L. Waddell, wrote that the populace was under the “intolerable tyranny of monks” and the devil superstitions they had fashioned to terrorize the people. In 1904 Perceval Landon described the Dalai Lama’s rule as “an engine of oppression.” At about that time, another English traveler, Captain W.F.T. O’Connor, observed that “the great landowners and the priests… exercise each in their own dominion a despotic power from which there is no appeal,” while the people are “oppressed by the most monstrous growth of monasticism and priest-craft.” Tibetan rulers “invented degrading legends and stimulated a spirit of superstition” among the common people. In 1937, another visitor, Spencer Chapman, wrote, “The Lamaist monk does not spend his time in ministering to the people or educating them. . . . The beggar beside the road is nothing to the monk. Knowledge is the jealously guarded prerogative of the monasteries and is used to increase their influence and wealth.”24 As much as we might wish otherwise, feudal theocratic Tibet was a far cry from the romanticized Shangri La so enthusiastically nurtured by Buddhism’s western proselytes.

        II. Secularization vs. Spirituality

        What happened to Tibet after the Chinese Communists moved into the country in 1951? The treaty of that year provided for ostensible self-governance under the Dalai Lama’s rule but gave China military control and exclusive right to conduct foreign relations. The Chinese were also granted a direct role in internal administration “to promote social reforms.” Among the earliest changes they wrought was to reduce usurious interest rates, and build a few hospitals and roads. At first, they moved slowly, relying mostly on persuasion in an attempt to effect reconstruction. No aristocratic or monastic property was confiscated, and feudal lords continued to reign over their hereditarily bound peasants. “Contrary to popular belief in the West,” claims one observer, the Chinese “took care to show respect for Tibetan culture and religion.”25

        Over the centuries the Tibetan lords and lamas had seen Chinese come and go, and had enjoyed good relations with Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek and his reactionary Kuomintang rule in China.26 The approval of the Kuomintang government was needed to validate the choice of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. When the current 14th Dalai Lama was first installed in Lhasa, it was with an armed escort of Chinese troops and an attending Chinese minister, in accordance with centuries-old tradition. What upset the Tibetan lords and lamas in the early 1950s was that these latest Chinese were Communists. It would be only a matter of time, they feared, before the Communists started imposing their collectivist egalitarian schemes upon Tibet.

        The issue was joined in 1956-57, when armed Tibetan bands ambushed convoys of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. The uprising received extensive assistance from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including military training, support camps in Nepal, and numerous airlifts.27 Meanwhile in the United States, the American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA-financed front, energetically publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance, with the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in that organization. The Dalai Lama’s second-eldest brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA as early as 1951. He later upgraded it into a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet.28

        Many Tibetan commandos and agents whom the CIA dropped into the country were chiefs of aristocratic clans or the sons of chiefs. Ninety percent of them were never heard from again, according to a report from the CIA itself, meaning they were most likely captured and killed.29“Many lamas and lay members of the elite and much of the Tibetan army joined the uprising, but in the main the populace did not, assuring its failure,” writes Hugh Deane.30 In their book on Tibet, Ginsburg and Mathos reach a similar conclusion: “As far as can be ascertained, the great bulk of the common people of Lhasa and of the adjoining countryside failed to join in the fighting against the Chinese both when it first began and as it progressed.”31 Eventually the resistance crumbled.

      • Sam Gilman

        You really need to keep things shorter:

        DHARAMSHALA: A Tibetan woman burned herself to death on the night of Thursday, 5 March, following the celebration of Chotrul Monlam, the 15th day of the Tibetan lunar calendar, according to information received from Kirti monastery in India.

        Norchuk, 47, set herself on fire in her village of Trotsuk, Ngaba County (incorporated into China’s Sichuan Province). She was the fifth Tibetan woman to set herself ablaze from Ngaba County, where most of the Tibetan self-immolation protests against the Chinese government had taken place.

      • iwishitweretrue

        OK – I think I will have to be saying goodbye, as you are persisting with trite nonsense, and are just being a troll. When a person sets themselves on fire it is their own suiicde and responsibility and ut has nothing to do with China. That old CIA funded fraud the Dalai Lama has not done anything to try and stop his followers trying to set themselves on fire, like excommunicating them or telling them that it’s bad Bhuddism, means that it’s really the Dalai Lama who is responsible for their deaths. In fact, I think the Dalai Lama lrather likes people burning themselves to death because he does not really care for his people and he can blame the deaths on China, Remember, if you read the Michael Parenti article, Michale Parenti praised China for setting the Tibetans free from the serfdom and tyrrany of the Lama’s. These burning are just more of the Lama’s tryrrany and disregards for teh lives of the Tibetans IMO. China seems to be the only agent trying to stop the burning’s which is a bit weird, considering all the trouble that the Dalia Lam puts inti trying to pretend that he’s a holy man, whilst a nominally communist atheistic country is trying to save lives!!

      • Sam Gilman

        Hmm. Attacking the Dalai Lama. That’s a really clever way of making attracting support from outside China.

        Still, thanks for letting me keep this entire conversation on the topic of human rights in the People’s Republic of China and Tibet.

      • iwishitweretrue

        You really do need to reread that Michale Parenti article you so quickly dismissed!! The Dalai Lama is a CIA funded stooge who betrayed Tibet and China – and basically dupes Hollywood film actors and those who are not intellectuals. You have not said very much on this thread.

        We have conclusively established that the Daioyu Islands belong to China. We have consclusively established that Tibet has been part of China since 1250. We have conclusively established that the Tibetans were freed from a tyrrantical serfdom run by the Lama’s. We have established that the Dalai Lama is a CIA stooge, and is just used by the US to try and stir up trouble for China.

        As I said, I don’t talk to trolls. even European trolls!!

      • Sam Gilman

        Yet, you’re still talking to me, but that’s largely because you are paid to post. It says a lot about a regime that it needs to buy consciences, and it says a lot about the regime that so many people are in such a state that they take the money.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Bye bye!!

      • iwishitweretrue

        I know that you are a just proffessional liar, and a low paid one at that, but you and the Prime Minster of Japan, can take some advice Angela Merkel.

        “MERKEL IN JAPAN. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) at the Asahi Hamarikyu Hall in Tokyo, Japan, 09 March 2015. Merkel is in Japan for a two-day visit. Michael Kappeler/EPA

        TOKYO, Japan – German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded into the fraught area of wartime forgiveness during a visit to Japan on Monday, March 9, saying that “facing history squarely” and “generous gestures” are necessary to mend ties.

        Merkel was speaking in Tokyo ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative views on Tokyo’s war crimes are under scrutiny, and as China and South Korea continue to call for ever more contrition.

        “Germany was lucky to be accepted in the community of nations after the horrible experience that the world had to meet with Germany during the period of National Socialism (Nazism) and the Holocaust,” she said.

        “This was possible first because Germany did face its past squarely, but also because the Allied Powers who controlled Germany after the Second World War would attach great importance to Germany coming to grips with its past.”

        “One of the great achievements of the time certainly was reconciliation between Germany and France… The French have given just as valuable a contribution as the Germans have,” she said.

        Relations between Japan and its wartime victims, China and South Korea, are at a low point, with Beijing and Seoul both demanding Tokyo does more to atone for its past.

        Nationalists in Japan say Tokyo has apologized enough for the past, and that the constant references to WWII are covering flak for governments in China and South Korea who are seeking to direct popular anger elsewhere.

        There were “great minds and great personalities who said we ought to adopt a policy of rapprochement… and without these generous gestures by our neighbors this would not have been possible,” Merkel told her audience.

        The public lecture came on the first day of a two-day trip to Tokyo, her first in 7 years, and one that comes after Abe visited Germany last year.

        China’s foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday, March 8, said Abe would be welcome at Beijing’s commemorations of the end of WWII if he is “sincere” about history.

        Beijing has not given a specific date for the parade, but it regards September 3, the day after Japan signed its formal surrender to Allied forces on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, as victory day.

        “It’s difficult for me as the German chancellor to give you advice on how to deal with part of your neighborhood,” Merkel said in response to questions.

        “But I think history and experience tells us also that peaceful means of reconciliation have to be found,” she said.

        Merkel will later visit the Imperial Palace to meet Emperor Akihito before a formal sit down with Abe, where a range of issues including the Ukraine crisis are expected to be discussed. – Kyoko Hasegawa, AFP / Rappler”

      • Sam Gilman

        You can’t click on that Tibet link, can you?

        Is that why you want to change the subject? (And you don’t even understand that Merkel is having a huge dig at the Communist Party in Beijing. Read it several times, and see if you can find it.)

      • iwishitweretrue

        You obviously have trouble reading English don’t you – even though it’s your first language – so you must be what we English term thick!! Reread what I posted again – and see if the penny drops!!

        Not really interested in reading your nonsense about Tibet – as it’s plain you don’t understand it’s history, and have not a clue about how it should be run. You’re just stirring and playing sully games with your links. Post something relevant or intelligent or truthful – and I may bite. LOL.

        Angela Merkel’s comment’s are very apt – see headline of this thread!!

        By the way, in case you got confused as to when China first got involved in Tibet, you can read this from Wikipedia:

        “Mongol invasion and Yuan administrative rule (1236–1354)[edit]
        Main articles: Mongol invasions of Tibet and Tibet under Yuan administrative rule
        During this era, the region was dominated by the Sakya lama with the Mongols support, so it is also called the Sakya dynasty. The first documented contact between the Tibetans and the Mongols occurred when the missionary Tsang-pa Dung-khur (gTsang-pa Dung-khur-ba) and six disciples met Genghis Khan, probably on the Tangut border where he may have been taken captive, around 1221–2.[22] He left Mongolia as the Quanzhen sect of Daoism gained the upper hand, but remet Genghis Khan when Mongols conquered Tangut shortly before the Khan’s death. Closer contacts ensued when the Mongols successively sought to move through the Sino-Tibetan borderlands to attack the Jin Dynasty and then the Southern Song, with incursions on outlying areas. One traditional Tibetan account claims that there was a plot to invade Tibet by Genghis Khan in 1206,[23] which is considered anachronistic; there is no evidence of Mongol-Tibetan encounters prior to the military campaign in 1240.[24] The mistake may have arisen from Genghis’ real campaign against the Tangut Xixia.[25]

        The Mongols invaded Tibet in 1240, with a small campaign led by the Mongol general Doorda Darkhan,[26] that consisted of 30,000 troops[27][28] resulting in 500 casualties[29] The Mongols withdrew their soldiers from Tibet in 1241, as all the Mongol princes were recalled back to Mongolia in preparation for the appointment of a successor to Ögedei Khan.[30] They returned to the region in 1244, when Köten delivered an ultimatum, summoning the abbot of Sakya (Kun-dga’ rGyal-mtshan) to be his personal chaplain, on pains of a larger invasion were he to refuse.[31] Sakya Paṇḍita took almost 3 years to obey the summons and arrive in Kokonor in 1246, and met Prince Köten in Lanzhou the following year. He prevailed on the Mongols to end their extermination of Chinese farmers on the grounds that they were pests ruining good grazing lands.[32] The Mongols had annexed Amdo and Kham to the east, and appointed Sakya Paṇḍita Viceroy of Central Tibet by the Mongol court in 1249.[citation needed]

        Tibet was incorporated into the Mongol Empire, retaining nominal power over religious and regional political affairs, while the Mongols managed a structural and administrative[33] rule over the region, reinforced by the rare military intervention. This existed as a “diarchic structure” under the Yuan emperor, with power primarily in favor of the Mongols.[34] In the Mongol Empire, Tibet was managed by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, or Xuanzheng Yuan, separate from the main provinces of Song Dynasty China. One of the department’s purposes was to select a dpon-chen, usually appointed by the lama and confirmed by the Mongol emperor in Beijing.[34] “The Mongol dominance was most indirect: Sakya lamas remained the sources of authority and legitimacy, while the dpon-chens carried on the administration at Sakya. However there was no doubt as to who had the political clout. When a dispute developed between dpon-chen Kung-dga’ bzari-po and one of ‘Phags-pa’s relatives at Sakya, the Chinese troops were dispatched to execute the dpon-chen.” [35]

        In 1253, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa (1235–1280) succeeded Sakya Pandita at the Mongol court. Phagpa became a religious teacher to Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan appointed Chögyal Phagpa as his Imperial Preceptor in 1260, the year when he became emperor of Mongolia. Phagpa developed the priest-patron concept that characterized Tibeto-Mongolian relations from that point forward.[36][37] With the support of Kublai Khan, Phagpa established himself and his sect as the preeminent political power in Tibet. Through their influence with the Mongol rulers, Tibetan lamas gained considerable influence in various Mongol clans, not only with Kublai, but, for example, also with the Il-Khanids.[citation needed]

        In 1265 Chögyal Phagpa returned to Tibet and for the first time made an attempt to impose Sakya hegemony with the appointment of Shakya Bzang-po (a long time servant and ally of the Sakyas) as the Dpon-chen (‘great administrator’) over Tibet in 1267. A census was conducted in 1268 and Tibet was divided into thirteen myriarchies. By the end of the century, Western Tibet lay under the effective control of imperial officials (almost certainly Tibetans) dependent on the ‘Great Administrator’, while the kingdoms of Guge and Pu-ran retained their internal autonomy.[38]

        The Sakya hegemony over Tibet continued into the middle of the 14th century, although it was challenged by a revolt of the Drikung Kagyu sect with the assistance of Duwa Khan of the Chagatai Khanate in 1285. The revolt was suppressed in 1290 when the Sakyas and eastern Mongols burned Drikung Monastery and killed 10,000 people.[39]

        Between 1346 and 1354, towards the end of the Yuan dynasty, the House of Pagmodru would topple the Sakya. The rule over Tibet by a succession of Sakya lamas came to a definite end in 1358, when central Tibet came under control of the Kagyu sect. “By the 1370s the lines between the schools of Buddhism were clear.”[40]

        The following 80 years or so were a period of relative stability. They also saw the birth of the Gelugpa school (also known as Yellow Hats) by the disciples of Tsongkhapa Lobsang Dragpa, and the founding of the Ganden, Drepung, and Sera monasteries near Lhasa. After the 1430s, the country entered another period of internal power struggles.[41]”

      • Sam Gilman

        Is cutting and pasting badly part of the 50-cent rule book?

      • iwishitweretrue

        You are obviously a CIA funded ignorant troll!! Bye bye

      • Sam Gilman

        No, I’m just a European living in Japan who doesn’t like chauvinist nationalists wherever they come from – China, Japan, America, the UK, France, wherever.

        It’s a savage indictment of what the communists have done to the great diverse, rumbustious culture of China that you are incapable of imagining someone having an opinion that they aren’t paid to have. That’s really tragic.

        Still, if as a 50cent-er, prostituting your conscience to the communists is the best way you can put food on the table, all power to you.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Nope – I am just a more knowledgeable and better educated European, who has an open mind, and who does not hate the Chinese people loke you do. 1.3 Billion Chinese people like their leadership and so by your hating the Chinese leadership, you are hating the people. Likewise, people who hate the Queen of England hate the British people who love her!!

      • Sam Gilman

        You say:

        1.3 Billion Chinese people like their leadership

        Fine. Then let them have free elections – only you won’t even let Hong Kong have free elections any more, because the communists can’t keep their promises.

        Let Tibet have a referendum on independence. What are you people frightened of?

        And you’re not European. No European would write something as culturally tone deaf as “people who hate the Queen of England hate the British people who love her!” (but thanks for the laugh). I suspect your English textbooks were a little bit old-fashioned.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Again, you really do have difficulty in understanding – you are obviously a very poorly educated European. Thankfully, I am not!! Why should the Chinese not follow their own model? The EU is in trouble and may fall apart the US is totally corrupt, and their great days are behind it. China is growing and it’s people more prosperous than at any time in the last 400 years – China and it’s model is sucessful for China!!

        Bye bye my lost troll!! Hong Kong belings to China – and not Britain – and so it will have to play by Chinese rules!!

      • Sam Gilman

        Hong Kong will have to play by Communist party rules? That’s an interesting way of presenting freedom!

        Why don’t you let Hong Kong decide what it wants for itself? Hong Kong is Chinese, and any rules it decides will be Chinese. Chinese =/= Communist. The people clearly spoke in their demonstrations.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Bye bye – you’ll have to work that one out yourself – which means it will never happen!! Because you see everyone in China as a communist, you will never ever work it out!!

    • zer0_0zor0

      Not quite “ancient times”, but the 15th century, I believe, is when the Chinese put the islands on the map as a navigation marker en route to the Ryukyu kingdom, i.e., present day Okinawa.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Japan has no maps’ and so China can prove ownership of the Diaoyu’s going back to 1300. “China’s earliest record of the Diaoyu Islands can be traced back to the Sui Dynasty, more than 1,000 years ago. At the time, China’s Taiwan and the Diaoyu Islands were close to another independent state called Ryukyu (琉球国). And Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty (隋炀帝) sent Zhu Kuan (朱宽) as a special emissary to win it over and demand it pledge allegiance to the Sui Court. In the 14th century, Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty (明太祖) was known far and wide for his military prowess. Thus, the King of Ryukyu started to pay tribute to the imperial court officially and Ryukyu became a vassal state of the Ming Dy”

      • Sam Gilman

        So China “owns” Okinawa?

        Gosh. That’s incredibly aggressive.

      • iwishitweretrue

        Read on and you will get it. “In 1372, a Chinese named Yang Zai (杨载) landed on the Diaoyu Islands for the first time. There was a detailed record about Diaoyu Islands in the book Sail with the Wind (顺风相送) , a navigational guidebook, which was published during the reign of Emperor Yongle (永乐) of the Ming Dynasty. During that period, people of the Ming Dynasty collected pearls and medicinal ingredients and fished around the Diaoyu Islands under the jurisdiction of Taiwan. This was also clearly recorded in Reports on the Mission to Ryukyu (使琉球录), a book written by Chen Kan (陈侃) in the 11th year of the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (嘉庆) of the Ming Dynasty. In the middle of the Ming Dynasty, some national heroes, such as General Qi Jiguang (戚继光), used the Diaoyu Islands as the strategic line of defense, when they fought against Japanese pirates. In 1602, Japan invaded Ryukyu. From then on, Ryukyu’s internal affairs were under the supervision of the Japanese for over 40 years. In 1654, Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty (清康熙帝) bestowed on the King of Ryukyu the title of King Shangzhi (尚质王). Ryukyu was obliged to pay tribute to the imperial court every two years, regarding China as “the Father State” and assuming the reign title of Qing Dynasty. Many maps and nautical charts of the Ming and Qing dynasties clearly marked Diaoyu Islands as part of China’s territory.

        In 1873, Japanese troops invaded and occupied China’s vassal state – Ryukyu Islands, incorporating it into Japan’s territory under the name of Okinawa. Although the governor of Ryukyu Islands sent envoys to the capital city of Qing Dynasty to seek reinforcements, the imperial court (1644-1911), corrupt and inept, only lodged “a strong protest” against Japan and left the matter there. As a result, Ryukyu Islands were taken by Japan from then on. In spite of this, Diaoyu Islands remained within the jurisdiction of Taiwan, a province of the Qing Empire. In 1893, the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) bestowed Diaoyu Islands on Sheng Xuanhuai (盛宣怀1844-1916), who was in charge of the Office of the Imperial Household, to gather medicinal ingredients there.

        After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the Qing court was forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki with Japan, a treaty of national betrayal and humiliation. This treaty only stipulated in explicit terms that China should cede Taiwan and the Penghu Liedao (the Pescadores) to Japan, without mentioning Diaoyu Islands which were within this sea area. In 1940, the governors of Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands, which were both under Japan’s jurisdiction, contended for jurisdiction of Diaoyu Islands. Later on, the Tokyo Tribunal pronounced that Diaoyu Islands were still under the administration of Taiwan. In 1945, when Japan surrendered to China, the US, Britain, France and other allied countries, it declared the unconditional abolition of all the unequal Sino-Japanese treaties, including the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Consequently, Taiwan and the other archipelagos under its jurisdiction, including the Diaoyu Islands, reverted to China’s sovereignty.

        According to the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and other important proclamations of international conferences, Japan’s occupation of Diaoyu Islands was a grave breach of international law. The Cairo Declaration, concluded by China, the US and Britain on December 1, 1943, stipulated that “all territories Japan stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa and the Pascadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China”. On July 26, 1945, China, the US and Britain issued the Potsdam Proclamation. (The Soviet Union attended this meeting on August 8.) Article Eight highlighted that “The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the Islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.” On August 15, 1945, the Mikado of Japan accepted the Potsdam Proclamation and surrendered unconditionally.

        In the Cold War period, the US, in order to carry out its strategy of containment, put the Diaoyu Islands under its own administration. In June 1971, the US “retroceded” the Diaoyu Islands and Okinawa to Japan. As a result of this so-called “agreement”, which was an overt violation of international treaties, Japan took over the Diaoyu Islands the following year. The Chinese government issued a statement immediately, firmly opposing the US collaboration with Japan to list the Diaoyu Islands, a part of China’s territory, among “regions to be returned” and pointing out the illegitimacy of such an act.

        The Chinese and Japanese governments made a joint declaration in 1972. Article 3 of the said declaration reads: “… the Japanese government fully understands and respects the position taken by the Chinese government and insists on adhering to the position stated in Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation.”

        By going through the relevant provisions of the Convention on the Continental Shelf which came into force in 1964 and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea adopted in 1982, the Diaoyu Islands and Taiwan Province form part of the same geological structure. The Diaoyu Islands, together with Taiwan Province, Penghu and the Zhoushan Archipelago (舟山群岛) are all located on the natural extension of the same continental shelf, and are separated by a 2,000 feet deep trench from the Ryukyu Islands, which are, at present, under the jurisdiction of the Japanese. According to the internationally recognized principle of the Convention on the Continental Shelf, “sovereignty of the islands located on the same continental shelf belongs to the said country.” Since China enjoys the sovereignty of the entire East China Sea (中国东海) continental shelf, hence naturally, China also enjoys sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.

        So, whether judging from the Possession of Discovery or the “Cairo Declaration” and the “Potsdam Proclamation” as well as the “Convention on the Continental Shelf” and “UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”, both of which took effect since the 1960s, China’s sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands is generally acknowledged and beyond dispute.”

    • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

      You wish it were true… Japan has and most likely always will own those islands.

      • iwishitweretrue

        In your dreams. Japan has never ever owned the Diaouyu an dtorce them by force in 1895 and should have returned them after WW2 according to the Postdam Declaration and Cairo Convention. It’s never nice seeing a nation acting as a thief, and seeing people acting as thieves when they support Japan’s theft.

  • Steven R. Simon

    Simon says uhmmm …. maybe it’s time for the JASDF to start operating a squadron out of Da Nang.

  • Starviking

    Hmmm… Those fighters in the picture at the top of the page are not fighters: they’re T-4 trainers.