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The discursive reproduction of Chinese and Japanese national identities: Editorials and opinions of the East China Sea dispute in the China Daily and Daily Yomiuri
Unformatted Document Text:  News, identity and ideology 15 Yet, what is unsaid is as telling as what is said. China was defeated by Japan in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and was forced to cede territory and pay reparations. China was therefore in no position to ‘complain’ about issues relating to sovereignty. Moreover, China was not a signatory of the San Francisco Peace Treaty because of the civil war between the Communists and Nationalists, so it had no internationally-recognizable representative government. Yet, such details are omitted in the passage. Two lexical items are also of particular interest. First, the euphemism of “incorporated” is used in contrast to more negative verbs such as “annexed” and “conquered” so as to downplay Japan’s aggressive actions. Second the metonymic use of the ‘Meiji’ government as opposed to ‘Japanese government’ creates a separation from the political present to the political past by delinking the actions of Japan as a nation with the actions of a particular political ruling elite from a bygone era. Such a strategy of discontinuation implies that Japan’s continuity as a nation does not necessary entail mean a continuity of its past and that the responsibilities of past actions lay with particular political groups rather than the nation itself. Compared to the China Daily the Daily Yomiuri adopted a more recent timeframe and the coherence of its argument is achieved by implying that China had suddenly become interested in the islands only because of the discovery of gas deposits close to the islands and the potential economic gains. This is elaborated in extract 4. Extract 4 China and Taiwan did not claim the islands until the early 1970s, when petroleum and natural gas reserves were found under the ocean floor around the islands in the East China Sea. It is obvious that China's claim is unreasonable. (Daily Yomiuri, September 10) Overall, China Daily’s over-complete emphasis and the Daily Yomiuri’s vagueness on the historical context surrounding the sovereignty of the islands represents the wider ongoing

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 15
Yet, what is unsaid is as telling as what is said. China was defeated by Japan in the First 
Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and was forced to cede territory and pay reparations. China was 
therefore in no position to ‘complain’ about issues relating to sovereignty. Moreover, China 
was not a signatory of the San Francisco Peace Treaty because of the civil war between the 
Communists and Nationalists, so it had no internationally-recognizable representative 
government. Yet, such details are omitted in the passage. Two lexical items are also of 
particular interest. First, the euphemism of “incorporated” is used in contrast to more 
negative verbs such as “annexed” and “conquered” so as to downplay Japan’s aggressive 
actions. Second the metonymic use of the ‘Meiji’ government as opposed to ‘Japanese 
government’ creates a separation from the political present to the political past by delinking 
the actions of Japan as a nation with the actions of a particular political ruling elite from a 
bygone era. Such a strategy of discontinuation implies that Japan’s continuity as a nation 
does not necessary entail mean a continuity of its past and that the responsibilities of past 
actions lay with particular political groups rather than the nation itself.
Compared to the China Daily the Daily Yomiuri adopted a more recent timeframe and 
the coherence of its argument is achieved by implying that China had suddenly become 
interested in the islands only because of the discovery of gas deposits close to the islands and 
the potential economic gains. This is elaborated in extract 4.
Extract 4
China and Taiwan did not claim the islands until the early 1970s, when 
petroleum and natural gas reserves were found under the ocean floor 
around the islands in the East China Sea. It is obvious that China's claim is 
unreasonable. (Daily Yomiuri, September 10)
Overall, China Daily’s over-complete emphasis and the Daily Yomiuri’s vagueness on 
the historical context surrounding the sovereignty of the islands represents the wider ongoing 


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