Rationality urged for students

08:31, October 18, 2010      

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The Chinese government has said that a show of patriotism is understandable in the case of the recent outrage over the incidents that happened near the Diaoyu Islands, but that it needs to be done in a "rational" way and within legal limits.

The comment came from Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu, on Saturday night, when asked to comment on the demonstrations by Chinese who took to the streets of Chengdu, Xi'an, Zhengzhou and elsewhere to support China's claim to sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.

"It is understandable that some people expressed their outrage over the Japanese words and deeds," Ma said, "but patriotism should be expressed rationally and in accordance with the law. We don't support irrational behavior that violates the law."

Ma noted that, while China and Japan are close neighbors and important to each other, there are some sensitive and complicated issues and that: "We advocate resolving those issues through dialogue and making a joint effort to safeguard the bilateral relationship for mutual benefit."

More than 2,000 college students gathered in downtown Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, on Saturday afternoon, unfurling banners and shouting slogans like "Defend the Diaoyu Islands" and "Fight Japan".

Others joined the protest and the procession marched down some of the main streets, with protestors handing out Chinese flags.

The protest ended at about 3:30 pm with no sign of violence.

In Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, more than 7,000 college students joined a march, holding banners, shouting "Diaoyu Islands are Chinese" and "Boycott Japanese goods", and singing the national anthem. The march went off peacefully though some students burned Japanese flags in protest.

When the crowd tried to break into a Mizuno sportswear shop, riot police rushed in and put the situation under control.

Japanese shops along the route of the protest had closed, local police said.

In Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, college students gathered in a downtown square at about 2 pm and marched through the city, shouting "Long live the motherland" and "Return the Diaoyu Islands to China".

Some protestors said they learned about the protest from the Internet and went there voluntarily. The students disbanded at around 4:40 pm.

Police were stationed along the route of the protests, and no clashes were reported.

Also, on Saturday, hundreds of Japanese right-wing organization members demonstrated in front of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo to "clarify Japan's attitude on the issue".

Ma expressed concern over that demonstration and asked Japan to live up to its obligations as expressed in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and to take steps to ensure the security of the Chinese embassy and its consulates, institutions and personnel in Japan.

China-Japan relations have seen some strains since two Japanese Coast Guard ships collided with a Chinese trawler on Sept 7 in the East China Sea, near the Diaoyu Islands.

The two countries' relations have crossed some turbulent seas over the 10-to-15-year period when China's rising economic and political power led to some discontent among the Japanese, said Yan Xuetong, head of Tsinghua University's Institute of International Studies.

Both sides have tried to avoid deep-rooted problems and focus on common interests, but this could just worsen instability in bilateral ties, Yan said.

Source:Xinhua - China Daily


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