avatar
Rachel Lu

Translation: Open Letter from Owner of a Japanese Car to Car-Smashing “Patriots”

Signs on a Toyota: "The Car is Japanese, but My Heart is Chinese" “The Diaoyu Islands Belong to China, (Japanese adult film star) Sola Aoi Belongs to the World"

Protests in China over the disputed Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku to the Japanese) have seen some protesters taking out their anger by smashing Japanese brand cars parked on the streets of Chinese cities.  

An open letter by the purported owner of a Japanese car is now making the rounds on Chinese social media that manages to lambast the protestors, Americans, Germans, French and Koreans all at once. While the author does not exhibit the most balanced view of history, it does provide an interesting glimpse into another opinion on the Chinese streets, and how heavily history and past grievances still weigh on the modern Chinese worldview.

In the first half of 2012, more than 1.4 million Japanese brand cars were sold in China, according to Sina Auto, making up 22.3% of the total car market in China but down from 23.5% in 2010.  

The original Chinese follows the translation below. 

An Open Letter from An Owner of a Japanese Car to Car-Smashing “Patriots”

On August 19, 2012, an anti-Japanese protest to protect the Diaoyu Islands took place in several cities around China. Like everyone expected, Japanese cars are again the target of “patriots.” The “patriotic show” of smashing Japanese cars is again being played out in this year’s “patriotic protest,” like a menstrual period.

According to “patriots,” Japanese cars represent Japan, and smashing Japanese cars is smashing Japan, so it expresses your patriotism.

Actually, the most important thing is, it’s safe to do so. You understand very well that the act of smashing a Japanese car will never be prosecuted, just like you understand that participating in this kind of protest is risk free as well.

Crowds surround a smashed Honda in Shenzhen

I, as the owner of a Japanese car, want to have a few words with you.

1.      Why is buying a Japanese car considered selling out?

I’m an ordinary person. I work hard to make life better for my family and myself. I don’t want to talk about how hard life is because that’s not what this essay is about, but I think most of you will understand.

It’s not easy for me to make money, and my view on consumption is that if something suits me then it’s good. I think Japanese cars are suitable for family use, so I bought a Japanese car. Whether it’s good to use is my business.

I bought the car through legitimate means. I got it in a dealership store, which has all the approvals from government agencies, no different from other dealership stores selling American/German/Korean cars.

I paid taxes when I got the car. I paid vehicle consumption tax, traffic tax, infrastructure tax; also paid fuel tax and parking fees during my usage of the car.

The government gave me a license plate number after examining each step, including manufacturing, sales and purchase of the car.

So you tell me, I bought a car in China and passed the government approval process – When did I sell out my country? What did I sell out?

2.      Why is buying a German/American/French/Korean car considered patriotic?

You say that you can buy German/American/Korean cars and not a Japanese one. I don’t understand why it’s considered patriotic to buy German, American, French, or Korean cars. According to your logic:

            – America actually started the problem of the Diaoyu Islands. It besieges China, bombed our embassy, crashed into our fighter jet, and is the biggest impediment to China’s resurgence. So if you buy an American car, do you love America?

            – Germany is one of the eight colonial powers that burned down Yuan Ming Yuan [a Qing dynasty imperial retreat famed for its beauty] and colonized Shandong province. It started world wars and killed Jewish people, and caused great harm to China and the world. So if you buy a German car, do you love Germany?

            – France is also one of the eight colonial powers that burned down Yuan Ming Yuan. It colonized Vietnam and attacked Zhennan Pass. Their leaders meet with the Dalai Lama, interfere with our internal affairs. The protests against Carrefour are quite recent. So if you buy a French car, do you love France?

            – Korea is our enemy on the Korean Peninsula. They steal Chinese culture and claim northeastern China and the Changbai Mountain are theirs, and detained a Chinese fishing captain. So if you buy a Korean car, do you love Korea?

A domestic car? If you open the hood, all you see are Mitsubishi engines. Of course can’t get those!

Actually it doesn’t matter what country the brand of car is from, but the people in the car – cars never drive drunk or hit and run, but people do. Cars don’t kill people, but people do. Cars don’t sell out countries, but people do. 

3.    You have no right to tell me how to be patriotic 

I’m an ordinary person. I love this land and my compatriots and I don’t understand your patriotic dogmas. 

I only know that loving my country is loving my family, be good to be neighbors, friends and everyone I meet, including my fellow citizens.

I only know that loving my country is to protect the legitimate rights of myself and others, and not to be an ostrich when such rights are infringed, for example I would shout out when I see a thief.

I only know that loving my country means that having the courage to bleed for it or even die for it when disaster strikes this land.

After the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, my Japanese car went to the affected areas with RMB6,000 worth of medicine. At the disaster zone many soldiers and police performed rescues with Japanese cars, and many owners of Japanese cars donated money and blood to the victims. Owners of German/American/French/Korean cars did the same. At the time, we are not owners of a foreign car, but compatriots linked by flesh and blood, shedding tears, sweat and blood together. 

But you, the “patriots,” you say you love the country but you are doing what the Japanese did. When the Japanese harm Chinese people, you are also harming Chinese people. The only difference being one is on the Diaoyu Island but another inside China. And what makes you worse than the Japanese is that you harm Chinese people whenever you protest against the Japanese, and that has never changed. 

I don’t know a person who does not love his compatriots and treat them well can love his country. 

4.   Your criminal actions must be punished.

According to Criminal Law of the PRC, intentional destruction of property can be sentenced to three years in prison, and up to 7 years in prison for egregious cases.

Reports say that some protesters were arrested. I believe the government will punish your criminal actions.

But I, as owner of a Japanese car, will keep a steering wheel lock with me from this day forth to protect my rightful property. When I see mobsters smashing Japanese cars, I would hit them if they are in the act, no matter if the victim is me or others.  

I would make them understand the meaning of courage and patriotism — Protecting the legitimate rights of oneself and others is courage and patriotism!

[The Chinese original follows below]

2012年8月19日,一场反日保钓的散步如期在各个城市展开,如众人所料,日系车又成为“爱国者”攻击的目标,好像定期来潮的月经一样,砸日系车的“爱国秀”又在今年的“爱国散步”中上演。

在“爱国者”口中,日系车就是小日本,砸日系车就是砸小日本,就是表达了你们的爱国情怀。

其实,最重要的是:安全!!!

你们心里非常清楚,砸日系车这样的行为艺术在以前是不会有人追究的。如同你们非常明白参加什麽样的散步是没有风险的。

我,一个日系车车主,给你们说几句话。

一:为什麽买日系车就是卖国?

我是一个小老百姓,我和我的家人为了生活得更好而努力工作,在这里我不想说生活的艰辛,因为那和本文无关,不过,我想,你们中的绝大部分人会理解的。

我挣钱不易,我的消费观是:适合自己的就是好的。日系车的特点,我认为是适合家用的。所以我买了一台日系车。好不好用是我自己的事。

我买车的渠道是合法的。买车时我是在正规合法的4s店买的,它经过了相关部门的审批,具有合法资质,它和旁边的美系德系韩系4s店没有什么不同。

买车时向政府交纳了相关税费。我向国税局交纳了车辆购置税,车船税,向地方政府交纳了路桥建设费。在使用中,我交纳了燃油税,停车费

政府经过审查,我这台车的生产,销售,购买各个环节均为合法,向我发放了汽车号牌。

你们告诉我,我在中国的土地上,经过了政府审查,买了一台车,我在哪一个环节卖了国?卖了什么国?

二:为什么买德美法韩系会是爱国?

你们说,不买日系,可以买德美韩系。我不明白,为什么买德美法韩系会是爱国?按照你们的逻辑:

美国:其实是钓鱼岛问题始做蛹者,对中国围追堵截,炸我使馆,撞我军机,是中国复兴的最大障碍,你买美国车,爱的是哪一国?美国?

德国:八国联军之一,烧我园明园,占我山东,发动世界大战,屠杀犹太人,给中国和世界人民造成巨大伤害,你买德国车,你爱的是哪一国?德国?

法国:八国联军之一,烧我园明园,占我安南,攻我镇南关,会见达赖,干涉我内政,家乐福门前的抗议犹然在目,你买法国车,你爱的是哪一国?法国?

韩国:我们在朝鲜半岛的对手,窃我中华文化,妄称东北是他们的,长白山是他们的,拘我船长,你买韩国车,你爱的是哪一国?韩国?

国产车?打开引擎盖,都是三菱发动机,更不能买!!!

其实什么系的车不重要,重要的是车里的人,车不会酒后启动,不会肇事逃逸,而人会,车不会杀人,而人会。车不会卖国,而人会。

三:你们没有资格教我们如何爱国

我是一个小老百姓,我爱着这片土地和我的同胞,我不懂你们说的爱国大道理。

我只知道,爱国就是爱自己的家人,善待自己的邻居,善待自己的朋友,善待你生活中遇到的每一个人,善待自己的同胞。

我只知道,爱国就是维护自己和他人的合法权益,在自己和他人权益受到侵害时不要做鸵鸟,比如,遇到扒手时能够喊一声。

我只知道,爱国就是具有在这片土地遭到荼害时,能为它流血乃至付出生命的勇气。

2008年地震,我的日系车驮着6000元的药品去了地震灾区,在灾区许多日系车载着解放军武警公安进行救灾工作。而许许多多的日系车主为地震捐款献血。同时,德美法韩系的车主也做着同样的工作:救灾。在那一刻,都在流泪流汗流血,我们不是某系车主,都是血肉相连的骨肉同胞。都在流泪流汗流血。

而你们,“爱国者”们,你们口口声声说爱国,却干着和日本人一样的勾当,在日本人对中国人下手时,你们也在对中国人下手。不同之处一个在钓鱼岛,一个在大陆。而你们比日本人更可恶的是,你们一反日就对中国人下手,从未改变。

我不认为,一个不能善待自己同胞,不爱自己同胞的人,会爱国。

四:你们的打砸抢犯罪行为必须受到惩处

根据《中华人民共和国刑法》第275条规定,故意毁坏公私财物,数额较大或者有其他严重情节的,判处3年以下有期徒刑、拘役或者罚金。故意毁坏公私财物,数额巨大或者有其他特别严重情节的,判处3年以上7年以下有期徒刑。

有报道说,有地方拘了一些人,我们相信,政府会对你们中的打砸抢犯罪分予以严惩。

而我,一个日系车车主,为保护自己合法财产不受侵害,从今天起,我会放一把方向盘锁在身边,当我遇到打砸抢日系车的暴徒时,只要它们正在实施打砸抢犯罪行为,不管加害对象是我还是旁人,我都会向暴徒的狗头砸去!!!

我,会是故意伤害,但有制止犯罪情节。而暴徒,会是故意毁坏公私财物,再加受伤。

但是,我会让它明白,什麽是血性,什么是爱国,维护自己和他人的合法权益才是血性!!才是爱国!!!

7 Comments
Jump To Comments
avatar

Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.
  • Pingback: China: Open Letter from Owner of a Japanese Car to Car-Smashing “Patriots” · Global Voices

  • bomber

    It’s an interesting line this author is toeing. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with these diversionary nationalistic tactics as a matter of principle, instead he seems to be making excuses for himself. If you want to traverse the road of national butthurt and anger, you ought to be careful, because eventually, that illogical and irrational force could swing around and be pointed at you.

  • bomber

    It’s an interesting line this author is toeing. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with these diversionary nationalistic tactics as a matter of principle, instead he seems to be making excuses for himself. If you want to traverse the road of national butthurt and anger, you ought to be careful, because eventually, that illogical and irrational force could swing around and be pointed at you.

  • AJ Santos

    I agree with the logic that car-smashers are showing superficial or even false patriotism, plus the fact that this is obviously unwarranted violence shrouded in public emotion.

  • AJ Santos

    I agree with the logic that car-smashers are showing superficial or even false patriotism, plus the fact that this is obviously unwarranted violence shrouded in public emotion.

  • zhao

    it is only the nationalism of a growing country, alike with teenagerhood that occur to every country

    it will pass.

  • zhao

    it is only the nationalism of a growing country, alike with teenagerhood that occur to every country

    it will pass.