As Raízes da Rivalidade Entre a China e o Japão

BOSTON - Os protestos anti-Japão que continuam a perturbar a China são apenas mais um indício do aumento de um forte nacionalismo chinês. Alimentado lentamente durante um século entre os intelectuais chineses, o sentimento nacional conquistou e redefiniu a consciência do povo chinês durante as últimas duas décadas de crescimento económico da China. Esta consciência de massa nacional lançou o gigante chinês numa competição global para alcançar um estatuto internacional proporcional às enormes capacidades do país e àquilo que o povo chinês considera o lugar legítimo do seu país no mundo.

A China ascendeu de forma rápida, visível e inevitável. De facto, a nossa era será provavelmente lembrada como a época em que nasceu uma nova ordem global, com a China ao leme.

A consciência nacional competitiva - a consciência de que a dignidade individual de cada um é indissociável do prestígio do seu "povo" - conseguiu chegar às melhores e mais brilhantes mentes da China entre1895 e 1905. Em 1895, a China foi derrotada pelo Japão, um agressor minúsculo a quem os chineses desdenhosamente denominavam wa (o anão). A China já estava habituada à disputa voraz das potências ocidentais em relação às suas riquezas, mas manteve-se confiante no que sabia ser a irrelevância destas potências. No entanto, o ataque do Japão, um grão de pó no seu próprio quintal, rompeu esta autoconfiança e foi sentido como uma humilhação chocante e intolerável.

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