Treat Japan athletes with respect

Updated: 2014-08-18 08:38

(China Daily)

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The Japanese Olympic Committee has asked Japanese athletes not to wear the national team's uniform during the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, so as not to become possible targets of the local people. The JOC's concern is understandable given the souring of relations between Beijing and Tokyo, which poses a challenge for the organizers of the event, says an article on Excerpts:

China-Japan relations are at their lowest point in recent years because of the territorial conflict over the Diaoyu Islands. Apart from that, the fact that the imperial Japanese army unleashed a reign of terror in Nanjing in 1937 in which more than 300,000 Chinese were killed has added to the tensions at the Youth Olympic Games, which opened on Aug 16.

Therefore, China should not take JOC's concern as an insult to its hospitality and friendliness. Extreme nationalist sentiments are rising in China, as evidenced in the comments posted on the Internet such as those exhorting people to boycott Japanese products.

Even many Chinese feel they could face trouble if they opposed the anti-Japanese views or tried to support the Japanese athletes to show their sportsman spirit. Someone posted the question on the Internet: "Will I be beaten up if I wear a T-shirt with a Japanese comic figure on it?"

The hatred that Chinese people have demonstrated against Japan shows that Japanese athletes could face some problems at the Youth Olympic Games. The challenge is to make the Japanese athletes feel safe in Nanjing.

The local government has indeed launched a security campaign to turn the city into one of the safest places on earth. If any incident against Japanese athletes takes place, it could snowball into a disproportionately big political issue. This would deal an unnecessary blow to both countries, tarnish China's friendly image and affect the Japanese team's performance at the games.

Chinese people should realize that the Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is to blame for the troubles, not the Japanese people or the athletes taking part in the games in Nanjing. Therefore, they should treat the Japanese athletes like any other guests - with respect and honor.

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