Anti-Japan protests spread across country

08:48, October 26, 2010      

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Anti-Japan protests continued to spread across China Sunday, weeks after the Japanese coast guard detained a Chinese captain whose ship collided with a Japanese patrol boat near the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Though the captain was finally allowed to return to China, the incident dredged up lingering tensions over the status of the islands, soured ties between the two countries and stirred strong anti-Japan sentiments among the general public.

Protest marches were reported Sunday in Lanzhou, Gansu Province and Baoji, Shaanxi Province, following a demonstration Saturday in Deyang, Sichuan Province. There are rumors that a demonstration will be held in Chongqing Municipality today.

Demonstrators held up banners with slogans such as "Protect the Diaoyu islands" and "Overthrow Japanese imperialism," while some called for a boycott against Japanese products, according to media reports.

Some people are also coordinating rallies in other cities including Changsha in Hunan, Nanjing in Jiangsu and Zhengzhou in Henan, by utilizing the Internet and mobile phones.

The wave of anti-Japan protests comes in response to the Japanese government's improper handling of the land dispute, aggressive remarks against China by some Japanese officials and some anti- China actions by Japan's right wing members, said Liu Jiangyong, professor at the Institute of International Studies, Tsinghua University.

It was reported that employees in the Chinese embassy in Tokyo received two threatening letters this month, both containing a bullet.
A commentary in Thursday's Sankei Shimbun, a daily newspaper in Tokyo, imagined a small-scale war with China over a land dispute.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Sunday at an inspection parade of troops that Japan is facing growing security challenges due to China's increasing naval activity along with its military modernization.

"These remarks and provocative actions stimulated historical scars left on Chinese by Japan's invasion war decades ago," Liu said.

However, the soaring anti-Japanese sentiment also aroused concern over renewed nationalism and further damage of strained Sino-Japanese ties, which are of strategic importance, though the demonstrations this year appeared much tender than those in 2005, when some radical protestors slashed Japanese-branded restaurants, shops and cars.

The Chinese government refrained from directly preventing the protests and only downplayed them by removing Internet posts about organizing gatherings and tightening security in some cities.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Tuesday at a press conference that it was understandable that some people expressed their outrage but reminded them to express patriotism in a rational way.

An opinion article posted Sunday by people.com.cn, a a major media
website, also warned that "expressing patriotism irrationally may affect the country's social order, economic growth and peaceful life of its people, and give a chance to those who want to make chaos in China, which faces a complicated international environment."

"What the right-wing Japanese wants to achieve is to pass Japan's new defense guideline - a plan expected to affect defense focus and military facilities layout of Japan in the following five to 10 years - by arousing domestic anti-China emotions and winning their support," Liu said.

Try to create a favorable diplomatic environment for the country through rational expression of our pledges and strengthening non-government communication is real patriotic action, Liu added.

The latest figure showed that from April to September China replaced the US as Japan's largest exporter.

By Ji Beibei, Globla Times

(Editor:梁军)

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