Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • S.Korea president says captain’s action akin to ‘murder’

    Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Anti-Japan outcry escalates in China

©

Latest update : 2012-09-16

Angry Chinese demonstrators besieged Japanese missions, looted shops and attacked Japanese cars in cities across the country over the weekend as a dispute over the East China Sea islands went unresolved. Both countries claim the islands as their own.

Chinese protesters took to city streets for a second day on Sunday to denounce Japan in a row over disputed islands, prompting the Japanese prime minister to call on Beijing to ensure protection of his country’s people and property.

In the biggest flare-up, police fired tear gas and used water cannons to repel thousands of protesters occupying a street in the southern city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.

The protests erupted in Beijing and many other cities on Saturday, when demonstrators besieged the Japanese embassy, hurling rocks, eggs and bottles, and testing cordons of police.

Demonstrators have looted shops and attacked Japanese cars and restaurants in at least five Chinese cities. Protesters also broke into a dozen Japanese-run factories in the eastern city of Qingdao on Saturday, according to the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

“Regrettably, this is a problem concerning the safety of Japanese nationals and Japan-affiliated companies,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a talk show on NHK. “I would like to urge the Chinese government to protect their safety.”

The protests, the latest setback in long-troubled relations between Beijing and Tokyo, followed Japan’s decision on Tuesday to buy the disputed islands, which Tokyo calls the Senkaku and Beijing calls the Diaoyu and which could contain valuable gas reserves, from a private Japanese owner.

Beijing called that decision a provocative violation of its sovereignty.

China may have unleashed the protests to put pressure on Japan, but the government also risks a backlash from that same public anger ahead of a delicate leadership succession.

Many demonstrators in Beijing held aloft portraits of Mao Zedong, the late revolutionary leader who is still a patriotic icon - but one who can also serve as an implicit rebuke to present-day leaders.

“We think that the government has been too soft and we want to show it what we think,” said one 25-year-old protester, salesman Zhang Xin. “I feel disappointed in the government and it doesn’t heed our voice.”

Calls for war

A six-deep cordon of anti-riot police guarded the Japanese embassy in Beijing as demonstrators resumed their protest on Sunday, screaming slogans and insults as they passed by and throwing plastic bottles full of water.

“If Japan does not back down we must go to war. The Chinese people are not afraid,” said 19-year-old-student Shao Jingru.

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who walked by Sunday’s protest in Beijing, told Reuters he believed the demonstrations were sanctioned by the government and the police.

“Chinese citizens need to thank the Japanese government because for the first time, they can mount a large protest on their own land,” Ai said. “In China, there are no protests organised by the people.”

Police used loud speakers to tell protesters - many of whom were shouting "declare war" - they should respect the law.

In Shanghai, about 1,500 people marched towards the Japanese consulate, where they were allowed to enter cordoned-off areas in small groups.

Police headed off a crowd of at least 2,000 protesters who were trying to charge the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu. Protesters said they wanted the United States “to listen to their voices”.

“Do you realise what the Japanese are doing? Why are you beating your fellow Chinese?” Chengdu protesters shouted at the police after some of their number were roughed up.

The Nikkei business newspaper said on Sunday demonstrators had earlier attacked two Panasonic electronic parts plants in the eastern cities of Qingdao and Suzhou. The company will decide whether to continue operations after checking the damage.

Toyota vehicle dealerships were also set on fire and many vehicles were damaged, it said, citing Toyota’s China unit.

The flare-up has come while Asia’s two biggest economies focus on domestic political pressures, narrowing the room for diplomatic give-and-take. Noda’s government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China.

China’s ruling Communist Party is preoccupied with a leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down as party leader at a congress that could open as soon as next month. While the public indignation against Japan could help to foster unity, it has also exposed widespread public impatience for a tougher line from Beijing.

Chinese state media has praised “rational” expressions of anger but warned that violence could backfire against Beijing.

Despite their deepening economic ties, China and Japan have long been at odds over bitter memories of Japan’s military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s. Relations chilled in 2010 after Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese coastguard vessels near the islands.

The protests could continue for days yet. On Tuesday, China marks its official Sept. 18 memorial day for Japan’s war-time occupation of parts of China.

 

REUTERS

 

Date created : 2012-09-16

  • CHINA/ JAPAN

    Defying Japan, China sends ships to disputed islands

    Read more

  • JAPAN - CHINA

    Japan to buy disputed Senkaku islands

    Read more

  • JAPAN - CHINA

    China warns Japan to halt visit to disputed islands

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)