Directions: Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:
CHINESE authorities have (1)_____ of experience stage-managing nationalistic displays and then suddenly shutting them down. But the latest dispute with Japan—and the ensuing protests in China—has raised tensions to their highest level in years. Japan’s agreement to buy some rocky islands, claimed by both countries, from their private Japanese owner prompted sometimes violent demonstrations in dozens of Chinese cities. On September 14th six unarmed Chinese patrol boats navigated briefly into Japanese-administered waters around the disputed rocks, which Japan calls the Senkaku islands and China calls the Diaoyus.
Into this (2)____ stepped the American defence secretary, Leon Panetta. He stopped in both countries, urged both sides to get along better and affirmed America’s pledge of mutual defence with Japan—though an unnamed senior American military official stage-whispered to the Washington Post that America wouldn’t go to war “over a rock”.
China, however, has chosen to take the matter of the islands rather more (3)_____. Xinhua, an official news service, reported that Xi Jinping, China’s vice-president and heir apparent, in his meeting with Mr Panetta on September 19th, called Japan’s planned purchase of the islands a “farce”, urging that Japan “rein in its behaviour”. This kind of rhetoric has become worryingly familiar. China’s actions call to mind similar claims to islands in the South China Sea. (America is officially neutral on claims to all the disputed territory.)
Complicating matters further, China is to (4)_____ a once-a-decade leadership transition later this year. Just now, therefore, no candidates for promotion can risk appearing soft. Mr Panetta’s meeting on September 19th with Mr Xi, who is expected to succeed President Hu Jintao as head of the Communist Party, came just days after Mr Xi reappeared from an unexplained two-week absence that had led to (5)_____ about his health and political standing. It remains (6)_____ whether he will take Mr Hu’s job as chairman of the Central Military Commission, and recent events caused speculation that Mr Hu’s backers, in a push to keep their man on, may have wished for (and even manufactured) a minor crisis.
If so, they got their (7)_____ . The protests across China climaxed on September 18th, the anniversary of the 1931 “Mukden Incident” that became a pretext for the Japanese invasion of China. Many Japanese factories and businesses shut for the day, and Japanese nationals were advised to keep a low profile. In Beijing hundreds of Chinese protesters (8)_____ plastic bottles and officially approved abuse at the Japanese embassy. About 50 Chinese protesters inflicted minor damage on the car of America’s ambassador, Gary Locke.
Then the protests were reined in. While some Chinese boats continued sailing near the islands, Chinese cities returned to normal on September 19th, as suddenly as they had in the largest previous round of anti-Japanese protests in 2005. But holding the Chinese public to a single script is proving more difficult than ever, especially now that citizens (and foreigners—see next page) can write an alternative storyline on Twitter-like microblogs. Some posted their feelings of embarrassment at the (9)_____ behaviour by some of their countrymen (Japanese cars were a popular target for destruction, and on September 15th a Toyota dealership and Panasonic plant in Qingdao, a port city once occupied by Japan, were reported damaged by fire). Others described efforts by authorities to co-ordinate the demonstrations. A journalist for Caixin, a financial magazine, reported a policeman’s invitation to her to join in a demonstration. When she asked if she could (10)_____ anti-corruption slogans as well, he told her to stick to the approved anti-Japanese ones.
- A) vast
- A) world
- A) seriously
- A) upcoming
- A) critics
- A) unclear
- A) desire
- A) fired
- A) thuggish
- A) speak