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China’s Manufactured Fukushima Panic

The CCP has not missed an opportunity to inflame fears about its Japanese neighbor.

· 9 min read
China’s Manufactured Fukushima Panic
People gather to protest against Japan s decision to release nuclear-contaminated wastewater in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 24, 2023. Alamy 

Back in the 1970s, “China Syndrome” was the fanciful scenario in which a meltdown at a nuclear power plant would lead to the reactor’s core components burning through the floor of the building and then all the way through the planet until they reached the other side, which, for some reason, was always imagined to be China. This sequence of events is impossible for a variety of reasons, but the term “China Syndrome” came to be applied to the notion that a molten reactor core could burn some way into the soil and water table beneath the power station, thereby contaminating crops and drinking water.

In 2011, the nuclear reactor meltdown at Fukushima sparked fears that Japan may experience its own version of China Syndrome. But although soils in the surrounding area had to be decontaminated in the aftermath of the disaster, the nightmare scenarios imagined by many did not come to pass. Twelve years on, however, Fukushima’s problematic nuclear legacy has finally reached China, albeit not in the way expected. We are seeing the vivid manifestation of an old malady among the people; a psychological condition long cultivated by the Chinese authorities.

With the deepening of the nation’s economic woes, Beijing is adopting a proven technique—redirect the frustration; encourage people to hate foreigners so much that they forget about their own domestic misery. And one particular set of foreigners provides them with the easiest of targets. For decades, the CCP-controlled education system has carefully nurtured a very specific hatred for the Japanese (hatred based largely on crimes committed by soldiers of the Imperial Army in Nanking in 1937).

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