Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Hongkonger's Solution for some Disputed Islands

I have received and seen a variety of responses to yesterday's post "The Impact of China's Anti-Japan Protests on a Japanese Mother in Shanghai". I would like to wait another day before sharing and commenting on some of the responses since they are still coming in. Today, I will instead share a related experience I had in Hong Kong, which has recently had a small anti-Japan protest of its own.

This past weekend at a waterfall on Hong Kong's Lantau Island a couple asked me if I could help them by taking their photograph. Given what was in the back of my mind due to a disturbing news report I had briefly seen at a ferry dock, after a couple photographs and some chitchat I could not resist asking them for their thoughts about the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The young man from Hong Kong said he did not think the dispute between China and Japan was particularly important and labeled it as "just a political matter". Unlike some others in China, it did not at all appear to be an emotional issue for him.

I refrained from asking many questions since I wanted to let them get back to enjoying their weekend nature hike. But as I was about to walk away the young man said, "Actually, I was talking about this with my girlfriend the other day. And I said I thought they should just bomb the islands so nobody could have or want them."

Even though bombing the islands into oblivion for this purpose does not seem likely to happen, his proposal says much about how he views the dispute. But if this Hongkonger's solution could be effectively applied, I bet I know a Japanese mother in Shanghai who would not object.

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