Tag Archives: China-Japan

China, Japan, and Transpacific Academic Exchange: New Data

China is the hot new place to study abroad. That’s the headline The New York Times culls from the Institute of International Education’s new report on educational exchanges between the United States and a battery of other countries. But China is still only the fifth most common destination for U.S. students, and is still second to India in sending students to the United States.

Some people like to make arguments about what one country thinks of another by how many students go there. Certainly, there are likely to be consequences if large numbers of students from one country study in a particular other country, but it’s hard to know the causes. This passage from the country fact sheet on China from IIE suggests that politics are relevant, at least in some cases.

China sent no students to the US from the 1950s until 1974/75. In the 1980s, numbers of Chinese students grew dramatically, and in 1988/89, China displaced Taiwan as the leading sender. China was the leading place of origin from 1988/89 until it was displaced by Japan in 1994/95. In 1998/99, China overtook Japan as the leading sender, and remained in the number one position until being overtaken by India in 2001/02, and has remained in second place since.

It’s my bailiwick to compare Chinese and Japanese relations with the United States, so I’ll add some more. While the number of Chinese students in the United States increased 19.8 percent over last year’s report, Japan sent 3.7 percent fewer and was the place of origin of only 5.4 percent of foreign students in the United States. (I’m pretty sure data on China–Japan exchanges is released by the two governments, so hopefully I can find that later.)

If we compare U.S. students’ destinations, both China and Japan appear to be gaining popularity. China comes in fifth (after the U.K., Italy, Spain, and France), and Japan 11th. Both countries gained over the previous year—China by 25.6 percent and Japan by 13.6 percent, beating the overall increase of 8.6 percent. The Olympics should not be a factor here because the most recent data in the IIE fact sheet is 2006/07. This perhaps lopsided but concurrent increase in interest is bourne out in language enrollments, at least at Harvard University, where a professor mentioned in a speech some weeks ago that both languages had grown enrollments significantly.

What, if anything, does this tell us? On its own, not a lot. But I’ll give you a little more. More students from the United States are going to Japan and China, but among the top 20 destinations, several other countries also beat the 8.6 baseline increase: Spain, France, Argentina, South Africa, Czech Republic, Chile, Ecuador, and India. Only Asian countries and Saudi Arabia beat the 7 percent overall increase in number of students studying in the United States.

China's New Anti-Ship Missiles and U.S. Forces in Japan

China is working on the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, according to some defense analysts. Tobias Harris writes that the ASBM may be based on an existing missile that has a range of 1,800 km, and he notes that such a missile would threaten U.S. ships based in Japan.

While it may be hard to target a ship at sea, he writes, minimal effort would be needed to learn of a ship’s landing at U.S. bases in Japan. Tobias writes:

The question I have is whether the Chinese ASBM will render US naval forward deployments in Japan obsolete, in that homeporting an aircraft carrier in Yokosuka may leave it vulnerable to a crippling first strike before even leaving port. Are anti-ballistic missile deployments in Japan — both by the US military and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces — reliable enough to protect US forces while in Japanese ports?

If not, hadn’t the US and Japan be having a serious discussion about the impact of China’s ASBMs on the future of US forward deployments in Japan, and with them, the future of the US-Japan alliance? Should the US consider relocating more assets from Japan to Guam to put them out of the range of ASBMs?

Of course, many in Japan are not enthusiastic about the U.S. military’s continued presence. Both advocates of Japanese military independence (not likely any time soon) and those opposed to U.S. military actions have spoken up. If this strategic environment were realigned by a new type of missile, perhaps they would be happier.

My question, however, is What are the implications for the U.S. if basing in Japan were reduced and ships in the western Pacific had to launch from bases like Guam and Hawaii? Would this strain the situation with Taiwan? Would it make it more difficult for U.S. ships to be in the neighborhood for humanitarian aid during catastrophes like the 2004 Tsunami?

As Tobias notes, U.S. ships can increase their readiness for this type of attack, but resources would be diverted from other functions.

Demonstrations in Tokyo During Hu Visit: Could Be Worse

From Reuters:

But even as Hu spoke, about 200 protesters waved signs outside the university gate saying “Free Tibet” and “No Pandas, No Poison Dumplings,” the latter referring to Hu’s offer to lend two pandas to a Tokyo zoo and a row over Chinese-made dumplings laced with pesticide that made several Japanese people ill.

When I was in Japan recently, the contaminated jiaozi/gyoza scandal was one of the first things most Japanese friends asked me about on learning I now live in Beijing. It seems like a bit of progress if anti-China demonstrators (who weren’t particularly numerous) are complaining about human rights and food safety rather than history-related issues. Anti-U.S. slogans were not as substantial when I happened upon a much larger demonstration on Sept. 11, 2004, at Tokyo’s Omotesando.

“I just want to say ‘Free Tibet’. I want to say ‘No’ to China‘s oppression of human rights,” said 29-year-old Atsushi Hanazawa, who carried a guitar along with a Tibetan flag.

Again, this makes Japanese protesters in a similar position as many around the world. No comment on who’s well informed.

Some Waseda students were more concerned about getting to class. “I can’t get through the gate. It’s a pain,” said 18-year-old Takuhiro Waki of the protest.

About two dozen right-wing activists yelled anti-Chinese slogans such as “Hu Jintao, Go Back to China.” Earlier, some right-wing Waseda alumni protested against Hu’s speech in a blog.

There’s the nationalism. But two dozen? Pretty weak from people who get crowds twice that size in front of sound trucks on anonymous Tuesdays near busy train stations and somewhat regularly clog the streets near the Chinese embassy.

Nearby around 50 Chinese students held their own rally, yelling “Go, China” in Chinese, “Sino-Japanese Friendship” in Japanese, and “Yes, We Can” in English.

“When I hear the anti-Chinese slogans, I feel that the Chinese people’s character has been maligned,” said 28-year-old Chinese graduate student Cao Shunrui.

There’s a little more nationalism, perhaps, from the other side. I’m not sure what to make of that, but the “Sino-Japanese friendship” message is considerably more helpful than some of the vitriol on both sides in U.S. campuses, from Grace Wang’s experience at Duke to a few dozen other reported rallies.

Hu later shed his suit jacket to play ping-pong at Waseda with popular players from both countries, but Fukuda, 71, declined to pick up a paddle.

“I’m glad I didn’t play ping-pong with him,” Fukuda told reporters. “He’s very strategic. I thought you can’t be too careful.”

I wouldn’t play him either. If he’s playing with popular players, he’d kick my ass. Unless Prime Minister Fukuda has been training, it’s probably wise to save the embarrassment and watch a friendly match.

'Conquer English to Make China Stronger!'

Ampontan points out that the media’s love for Li Yang’s instructional rallies and methods, called Crazy English, recently included a New Yorker article by Evan Osnos.

I’m pretty happy with myself because with my Mandarin tutor today I finished a textbook. But our meetings at a Beijing cafe are nothing like Crazy English.

One by one, the doctors tried it out. “I would like to take your temperature!” a woman in stylish black glasses yelled, followed by a man in a military uniform. As Li went around the room, each voice sounded a bit more confident than the one before.

In Shanghai at a gallery whose name I’ve forgotten on Moganshan Lu, I saw a photographic exhibition composed of massive prints of Li Yang’s instruction. The scenes were astonishing. Student-teacher ratio was actually optimized to be very high. The events in these images and in other reading on the subject emerge as motivational events, and one of Li Yang’s primary methods is to increase confidence in his students.

But there is a nationalist element. The title of this post, “Conquer English to make China stronger,” is Li’s motto, according to the New Yorker. Ampontan points to another article that contains this passage on China and Japan.

During a question and answer session with the crowd, one student told Li that he hated the Japanese for their rape and occupation of the mainland prior to World War II. The student then said he didn’t want to study Japanese because of this hatred.

“If you really hate the Japanese, then you will learn their language,” Li told the student and the crowd. “If you really want revenge against Japan, then master their language.”

Nationalism, I suspect, may be a tool to reach audiences and to keep his massive events (along with the potentially millions of books sold) from running afoul of the government. This, from the first article, may tell you something about his deeper motivations:

On the couch at the hotel, Li turned one of our interviews into a lecture for his employees, who crowded around to listen. (Someone recorded it on a video camera.) “How can we make Crazy English more successful?” he asked me, his voice rising. “We know that people are not going to be persistent, so we give them ten sentences a month, or one article a month, and then, when they master this, we give them a huge award, a big ceremony. Celebrate! Then we have them pay again, and we make money again.”

He turned toward the assembled employees and switched to Chinese: “The secret of success is to have them continuously paying—that’s the conclusion I’ve reached.” Then back to English: “How can we make them pay again and again and again?”

I wonder how much the students learn.

'China Can Say No' Writer: Japan Less of a Problem Than U.S.

Danwei today posted an excellent set of material on the 1996 book China Can Say No (中国可以说不). The book was influential in Chinese nationalism and follows a 1989 book by Japanese novelist-turned-governor-of-Tokyo, Ishihara Shintaro, and a top Sony executive, Morita Akio, called The Japan That Can Say No.

The Danwei post includes a recent interview with one of the Chinese book’s writers, Song Qiang. In it, Song says anti-Japanese nationalism is not as warranted as anti-U.S. sentiment.

NH: What were you thinking during the anti-Japanese demonstrations of 2005?
SQ: I think that China’s biggest enemy is America. Japan is relatively harmless, so it’s easy to confuse things if you’re anti-Japan. China is a poor country, but Japan and Korea have done things better than us: each move they’ve made has been carefully considered. A national attitude of prudence and self-protection is something that China lacks. I didn’t take part in the demonstrations but I did sign my name. I said to Tong Zeng [defender of the Diaoyu Islands] that I was afraid that the anti-Japanese demonstrations would slip up and be exploited by the Americans.

China Youth Daily reported that a Japanese exchange student had posted online, saying: The “Chinamen” (支那人) don’t have any warriors; the Yamato people are superior to the Chinese. When I first read that I thought it was fake. There was no source of stimulation inside the country, so why not make up a post by a Japanese exchange student to inflame the passions of the Chinese—then we’d all have something to do. This is taking things far too lightly. A few years later, people said that the post was a fake, something cooked up by a Chinese person. If you’re anti-Japanese to such an extent, I’d say there’s a problem.