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Strong Society, Smart StateThe Rise of Public Opinion in China's Japan Policy$
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James Reilly

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158060

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158060.001.0001

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Forgetting and Remembering the Past

Forgetting and Remembering the Past

China’s Relations with Japan, 1949–1999

(p.55) 2 Forgetting and Remembering the Past
Strong Society, Smart State

James Reilly

Columbia University Press

This chapter outlines the relationship between China and Japan during the years 1949–1999. It highlights China's common theme of deploying memories and images of Japanese atrocities during the Sino–Japanese War for diplomatic leverage and domestic legitimization. China's relations with Japan during those fifty years reflect how public opinion influences the foreign policy of nondemocratic governments. The chapter begins with a review of China's approach to history issued in the post-war period, highlighting the actions of Chinese leaders to improve relations by not mentioning past Japanese atrocities during state visits. The next section examines their relationship in the 1980s. It mentions the 1982 anti-Japanese demonstrations as a response of the Japanese government's altering of history textbooks to censor Japanese war atrocities, and the 1985 anti-Japanese demonstrations that were against the “Open Door Policy”. The last section explores their relationship during the 1990s when China embarked on an ambitious “grand strategy” designed to reduce anxiety over its rise while bolstering economic ties with key states, including Japan.

Keywords:   China, Japan, Japanese atrocities, Sino–Japanese War, diplomatic leverage, domestic legitimization, public opinion, Open Door Policy, grand strategy

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