‘in the Chinese television series “The Anti-Japanese Knight,” a recent action drama set during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s. Like many Chinese television dramas, the “Anti-Japanese Knight” promotes patriotism and praises the Communist Party for defeating the Japanese, while conveniently leaving out mention of the decisive role played by the Chinese Nationalists in that war. The violence and anti-Japanese tone send a clear message that killing is acceptable — as long as the targets are “Japanese devils.”…
When I turn on the television these days, I notice not much has changed. The second Sino-Japanese War may have ended in 1945, but the Chinese people are still haunted by it. Enemy Japanese soldiers run amok on Chinese screens. The state-approved films and TV dramas of today are more colorful and the actors are better-looking than in the films of 1960s and ’70s, but the themes remain the same.
The state prohibits content that “incites ethnic hatred,” yet according to Southern Weekly more than 70 anti-Japanese TV series were screened in China in 2012. And in March 2013 the newspaper reported that 48 anti-Japanese-themed TV series were being shot simultaneously in Hengdian World Studios, a film studio in Zhejiang Province, in eastern China.
The result of this stream of rancor is just what you’d expect. A July 2013 Pew research report found that 90 percent of Chinese people have an unfavorable view of Japan. And the hatred for Japan is intensifying. Pew said that “favorability” for Japan has fallen 17 percentage points since 2006.
The anti-Japan virulence drummed up by the media is in full display online. Websites popular among young Chinese nationalists, like Tiexue (Iron Blood) and April Media, are riddled with slogans such as “Destroy Japanese dogs!” or “Annihilate the Japanese people!”
The flow of hate comes while China is building up its military, leaving its neighbors on edge. Beijing will spend $148 billion on its military this year, up from $139 billion in 2013. It launched its first aircraft carrier in 2012, and is building a fleet of submarines that it hopes will outnumber the American fleet.
A hard-line, anti-Western documentary film produced by the Chinese military called “Silent Contest,” circulated online in October 2013, revealed a troubling war-thirsty mind-set among the military. The video attempted to make the case that the United States is actively working to sabotage the Chinese government. Whoever leaked this video may not represent mainstream military thinking, but there is no doubt that pro-military voices are growing louder.’