@ Brave Chengdu – I think that discussion is taking place mainly in the social media sphere, Weibo and the like. Those feelings being expressed – of national pride or national embarrassment – make up opposing perspectives in the discussion.
It is not exactly Oxford style debate, but it is certainly more candor than you could have expected to see openly expressed in China 10 or 20 years ago.
Here is another optimistic perspective on the issue… at least right now there is a public discussion about the reaction to the issue (the protests) in addition to the discussion about the issue (the islands) itself. This speaks to a self awareness that can grow out of even the most polarized debate.
@ Iameric – You’re right. I think it is safe to assume that everything we say in an internet forum is a matter of public record.