CHINA

Scandal in China: soldiers work for butchery

To publicise his donkey meat, a butcher from Hunan sent fake Japanese soldiers marching through the streets on asses. For once, the Japanese and Chinese agree on something - that the stunt was anything but funny. Read more...

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To publicise his donkey meat, a butcher from Hunan sent fake Japanese soldiers marching through the streets on asses. For once, the Japanese and Chinese agree on something - that the stunt was anything but funny.

This strange procession marched through the streets of Weihui, a town in Henan, central China, on November 4. A donkey meat-seller engaged four men to walk down the main street, past the social security office, dressed as "devils" - the Japanese soldiers that occupied China in the Second World War.

Wounds from WWII, and particularly the cruel part imperialist Japan played in China, are yet to heal. So it's no surprise that the stunt caused quite a shock in Weihei, and soon found itself the centre of debate on the web.

When the butcher was asked where he got the absurd idea, he explained that faced with increasingly tough competition, the key to survival was to launch increasingly daring campaigns...

Two of our Observers, Chinese and Japanese, react to the idea.

The procession in pictures

A procession of about ten donkeys, headed by a small orchestra. The banner on the truck reads "In paradise, there's dragons' meat; on earth, there's donkeys' meat".

The birth of an unusual idea: it came about when the owner was importing donkeys from Gansu, just as the theatre crew of one of his friends arrived in Japanese uniforms...

Hats and suits in the traditional "devil" uniform, with the added authenticity of rifles on shoulder straps.

"Racism is still very present inside Japan"

Yukari Fujiwara is a Japanese translator currently living in France.

This is disgusting to me. For us, all that stuff has been and gone. It's hard for me to talk about our history with China. It's a very sensitive subject for both countries and to use it for a publicity stunt is really shocking. The butcher knew he was playing with something traumatic and that the reactions would be strong.

Racism is still very present inside Japan. I've travelled a lot. In Canada, I met a Korean guy who told me he doesn't speak to Japanese people [Korea was occupied by Japan from 1905 until their defeat in 1945]. I could see that younger people are harder still than the elderly.

It's hard to handle for us. As soon as a Korean or a Chinese person mentions that period I feel a strong guilt. Perhaps that's because I've studied the subject and I know what happened. Japan and China still haven't managed to put this behind them."

"It's scandalous to bring up stuff that happened in the past"

China Wolf is a Chinese blogger currently living in Canada.

I find this disturbing and disappointing. It's scandalous to bring up stuff that happened in the past. But even if the reactions were strong, it needs pointing out that relations between China and Japan are much better today than they were a few years ago. The former Japanese Prime Minister, Fukuda, recognised the war crimes taken out by the Nippon soldiers in the Second World War [on the anniversary of Japan's surrender, Yasuo Fukuda refused to visit a controversial war shrine where 14 war criminals were buried]. There have also been lots of commercial agreements signed.

The Chinese don't hate the Japanese, but they're upset by the crimes that fascist Japan committed at that time. It's a bit like between France and Germany."