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The Stanley Foundation

World Press Review is a program of the Stanley Foundation.

September 2001
Revising Japan's History Textbooks
Race Riots Scar England
The 2008 Olympics in China

August 2001
Regicide and Conspiracy in Nepal
A Somber Anniversary

Revisiting Japan's History Textbooks
TOKYO The Yomiuri Shimbun (centrist), July 10: We would like to praise the government’s response to South Korean and Chinese demands to revise middle-school history textbooks as appropriate and honest….The Japanese government recognized two dealing with ancient Korean history as erroneous….The examination included hearing the opinions of independent experts. It was an extraordinary move, and Japan can be said to have extended the utmost consideration to its two neighbors....Such a basic stance...contributes to creating a more mature friendship with South Korea and China….South Korea and China strongly rejected Japan’s response. The two countries could make further revision requests, but Japan should not set a bad precedent by making a facile political compromise.

TOKYO Asahi Shimbun (liberal), July 10: The history textbook controversy has hampered bilateral economic and cultural exchanges. That is a troubling situation….The South Korean people may resent the Japanese because of a recurring Japanese practice of drawing attention away from Japan’s past aggression and colonization and because of a growing mood of tolerance of such trends in Japan. Imagine how we would feel if we put ourselves in their position. A real solution can be found only by recognizing the gap in the way Japanese and those in neighboring nations see history and by narrowing that gap through regular dialogue.

BEIJING China Daily (government-owned, English-language), July 10: Japan approved the history textbook in April, straining the island nation’s diplomatic ties with its Asian neighbors, particularly China and South Korea. Both nations, victims of Japanese invasions and atrocities in the past, demanded extensive revisions. As a denial and beautification of its past history of aggression, Japan’s action will cause the country to lose credibility with the people of Asia and damage its international image.
Jiang Zhuqing

Continues Above
MANILA Philippine Daily Inquirer (independent), July 13: Our admiration for Japan compounds our perplexity at the continued refusal of its successive governments since World War II to acknowledge and then apologize for Japan’s appalling criminal record during that period of military supremacy and expansion. This steadfast obduracy through six decades and into the seventh has infuriated its neighbors, its allies, its friends, and even the beneficiaries of its postwar largesse….It is time for this great and proud race, our friends, to finally put the past behind them and move on.
Jerry Barican

SEOUL The Korea Herald (independent), July 10: The yearlong controversy over Japan’s nationalist history textbooks has frozen a new partnership....What remains to be seen is whether Seoul will faithfully implement all of its proposed “action plans” and whether Tokyo will back down from its irrational claim that there is little it can do within its system to change the textbooks. Unless Japan comes up with a solution, the government has to be prepared to go through the worst imaginable developments in the already rocky Korea-Japan relations.

Race Riots Scar England
LONDON The Daily Telegraph (conservative), July 10: The Bradford rioting, though unquestionably in a fairly poor urban district, is set against a relatively healthy economy, low unemployment, low inflation, and low interest rates. Police relations with ethnic minorities in West Yorkshire are said generally to be good. The police have been attacked in Bradford but not this time as an end in itself and not particularly because they are seen as the oppressors. If anything, they are blamed by the rioters for not doing enough to protect Asians from attack by white racists.
Neil Darbyshire

LEEDS Yorkshire Post (conservative), July 10: This is not a problem peculiar to Bradford. Indeed, as in other recent disturbances in Oldham and Burnley, there is evidence of outside agitators stirring up trouble and capitalizing on feelings of resentment among local young people. But this factor must not prevent the leaders of the Islamic community in Bradford...from taking a long, hard look at the rebellious attitude of many young Muslims—an attitude which...can only act as a recruiting sergeant for white extremists who have long been looking for the excuse to claim that a multiracial Britain will inevitably lead to violent conflict.

Deccan Herald (independent), July 12: The British government has described the violence at Bradford as a law-and-order problem. While it is true that in many cases the breakdown of law would have encouraged gangs to loot shops and settle scores, the issues underlying the recurring violence go far deeper. A study conducted by the Bradford City Council some weeks ahead of the riots points to the deeply segregated nature of society in Bradford….The causes are clearly socioeconomic, and the government must address these in order to build a multiracial community.
Riot police advance in Oldham during the May 28 riots there (Photo: AFP).

The Press (conservative), July 13:
The inescapable racial base to the rioting poses particular problems for Britain because its experience in handling the associated issues is limited. For all its experience of is only since the early 1950s that significant numbers of non-white people have come to live within the United Kingdom. Those 50 or so years have not produced a sense that the nation is comfortable with its multiethnic society.

VILNIUS Lietuvos Rytas (independent), July 7: The racist rioting is forcing British politicians to bite their tongues and to start to think about the future. The riot in Manchester confused white British residents as well as the leaders of ethnic minorities. Talks about “already achieved” harmony between races in Britain were pushed away. Recently, the Labor government, led by Tony Blair, was very glad about progress in the development of harmony between 52 million white residents and 3.5 million representatives of ethnic minorities in Great Britain.
Vytas Rudavicius

Top of page

2008 Olympics in China
BANGKOK Naew Na (center-right, independent), July 16: China’s victory will help to increase international recognition of the country after its repeated failure to win the bid for the Olympic Games. Nongovernmental and human-rights organizations have opposed China’s bid because of its violation of human rights. Obviously, China’s success had something to do with the U.S. attitude and other countries that want friendly ties with China. China has become very attractive in the international arena because it will soon become a member of the World Trade Organization.

LONDON The Guardian (liberal), July 14: If the will to win were all that mattered, then China would deserve [the 2008 Olympics]. But the will to win is not all that matters. China’s appalling record on human rights should have disqualified it from hosting this or any other Olympics until it has put its house in order....Now is China’s chance to take a fresh and unexpected initiative. It should use the opportunity and publicity afforded by the Olympic Games to prove all its critics wrong.

GLASGOW Sunday Herald (independent), July 15: A decision against Beijing would only have reinforced China’s traditional sense of grievance that the whole world is against the Chinese. But now that the Games have been awarded to them, there should be continued pressure on the Chinese government to make good its promises about liberalizing human rights.

NEW DELHI Hindustan Times (centrist), July 16:
Human- rights groups correctly say that the [International Olympic Committee (IOC)] has given the present regime a big boost in popularity and thus legitimacy. However, the Olympics are not about human rights. Many nasty regimes have played host before. Decisions regarding the Games are driven by politics, money, and personalities—the most notable one being the outgoing Olympic head, Juan Antonio Samaranch. The Olympics are in the end about nationalism, however ritualized. If China has an oversupply of that these days, it is because of its economic success. Securing the games is the reflection, not the source, of that strength.

Continues Above
OSLO Dagsavisen (leftist), July 14: It is worth noting that Chinese dissidents also have wanted the Olympics in Beijing. The hope is for a more widespread and closer international contact, which is better for human rights and democratic diversity.

BEIJING China Daily (government-owned), July 14:
The victory is a source of pride not only for Beijingers but for all Chinese. It was nationwide support that sustained the bid effort and led it to its final success. We believe the city will make the 2008 Olympic Games the most unique ever. But turning the Olympic ideal into reality will present Beijing with huge challenges over the next few years.

CHRISTCHURCH The Press (conservative), July 17:
Presumably, China was supremely confident of the IOC decision after the bitter loss to Sydney eight years ago. It certainly did little to dispel human-rights concerns in the lead-up to the vote. Critics estimate more than 1,700 executions have been carried out in the past three months.... Reprehensible, from an Olympic viewpoint, is that the executions have been carried out at sporting grounds. Not to have given China the Olympics would have been taken as yet another humiliation by foreign powers. Undoubtedly, the resultant inward-looking focus would have set back any prospect for human-rights reforms.

HAVANA Juventud Rebelde (communist youth), July 15: At the center of this debate is not the fact that Asia has hosted the Olympics only twice before...nor that China has...a fifth of the world’s population—both of which were China’s favor. It’s a political question, really: Beijing is the capital of a socialist country, and Moscow in 1980 is the only precedent for such an event....We Cubans know all too well how the notion of “human rights” is easily manipulated within international forums.
—Jesus G. Bayolo