by Yan Xizao
BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Just because both invoked the fictional evil wizard of the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort, the bickering between Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming and his Japanese counterpart Keiichi Hayashi in the Daily Telegraph has been a huge media sensation.
Which is perfectly understandable.
No country wants to be associated with, let alone being called, Voldemort, be it truly peace-loving, or using peace as a mere fig leaf.
In the words of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, Voldemort is a "raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people's suffering."
It is thus outrageously inappropriate to address any country as Voldemort. Particularly so for a person schooled in the art of diplomacy. It is blatant insult to a country as a whole.
Which is why it is unfair to designate the Liu-Hayashi bout as a collective breach of diplomatic etiquette. Truth is, things had not degraded until the Japanese ambassador issued his retort.
Liu's article was a fine piece of reasoning featuring a cool-headed analysis of the past and present of the China-Japan row, a passionate call for vigilance against the potential resurgence of militarism in a right-turning Japan. It was based firmly on historical and present facts, international laws and conventions, and everyday logic and commonsense of us Muggles.
And Ambassador Liu never deviated from diplomatic decency to call Japan as a country Voldemort.
"If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation's soul," Liu wrote.
He likened militarism to Voldemort, and Yasukuni to his horcrux. The analogies cannot be more fitting and appropriate.
It was his Japanese colleague that pulled the debate a notch below decency.
Take a look at the most-quoted argument at the center of the Hayashi article: "There are two paths open to China. One is to seek dialogue, and abide by the rule of law. The other is to play the role of Voldemort in the region..."