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PacNet #53 – China’s Self-Absorbed Nationalism – It’s Worse than it Looks

The mid-August popular demonstrations in Chinese cities and accompanying media and internet commentary against Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea put pressure on Chinese officials to be firm in protecting Chinese claims and countering Japanese "intrusions." They followed calls by prominent Chinese commentators and other constituencies for Beijing to adopt a tougher approach on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Beijing in that case employed extraordinary measures including repeated use of security forces, economic sanctions, fishing and oil ventures, administrative fiats, diplomatic warnings and other intimidating means short of military force in thus far successful efforts to cow Southeast Asian claimants and preclude ASEAN from taking a united stand in the face of China’s power.