winners of the “dare to upset” china prize

Today, I received a list of 10 winners for the “dares to upset China (敢动中国)” Awards. The Awards are a snarky spoof on the Annual “Touches China’s Heart Awards (感动中国奖)”, punning the words “dares to upset” and “touches the heart”. Heart awards are presented at the Spring Festival and given to persons whose heroic actions inspire us to be more than we think we are. A pervasive and not unimportant bit of contemporary propaganda, heart award presentations are highly stylized performances and broadcast nationally. To get a sense of the ideological packaging, view the tribute and award presentation to Liu Jinguo for his courage during a fire.

The dares to upset awards point to the emergence of China as a global player and public reception of that process in vaguely hawkish terms. Notably, the dare to upset awards have been presented Asian countries that involved in maritime disputes with China, especially in the mineral rich South China Sea. Of note, the word “dares” points to the point that the winners are “small’ countries that should not be giving China problems. The fact that so many little nations dare to upset China is consequently interpreted as a sign of national weakness and the snarky commentary on the list states, “China has used habitual responses: the enemy invades, I endure; the enemy retreats, I endure; the enemy is exhausted, I endure; the enemy occupies, I endure… this is called pretending to use Sun Tze’s Art of War (敌进我忍,敌退我忍,敌疲我忍,敌驻我忍。。。装孙子兵法).”

According to the latest text message, the 10 winners for the 2012 Dares to Upset China Awards are:

1. Japan (for the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands Dispute);

2. The Philippines (for the Huangyan Island or Panatag Shoal dispute);

3. North Korea (for holding Chinese fishermen in a dispute over fishing rights, although there is no dispute over North Korean refugees in China because the PRC regularly repatriates them);

4. South Korea (for demanding that Beijing release a South Korean activist who has been detained in the PRC without legal representation. The activist works for democracy in North Korea);

5. Thailand (is the new coordinating country for ASEAN – China relations, inheriting the three-year term from the Philippines)

6. Palau (the location of another disputed island, Okinotorishima);

7. Indonesia (has persecuted Overseas Chinese, but in April signed a cooperation agreement with China);

8. Myanmar (is opening its economy and China and the US are rushing in, however, last year the Myanmar government halted Chinese construction of a dam because locals felt that Chinese petroleum interests were too hardnosed);

9. Nigeria (is host to one of the largest Chinese presence in Africa. More than 200 Chinese companies operate in Nigeria, more than 40,000 Chinese nationals live in Nigeria, and total Chinese investment in Nigeria is close to $US 8 billion);

10. Somalia pirates (have been targeting Chinese vessels since 2008 and there have been calls for Chinese military intervention);

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