Anti-Japanese protests spread from Beijing to Guangzhou, as the territorial dispute between China and Japan escalates. Crowds ransacked Japanese businesses, smashed Japanese cars and pelted Tokyo’s embassy in Beijing with eggs and plastic bottles in weekend protests over a group of small islands in the East China Sea claimed by both countries but controlled by Tokyo.
Demonstrators have looted shops and attacked Japanese cars and restaurants in at least five Chinese cities as the the anti-Japan protests spread to at least 72 Chinese cities. China pledged to protect Japanese citizens and property and urged anti-Japan protesters to express themselves in an “orderly, rational and lawful” way.
- Beijing— Over 1,000 marchers waving flags and carrying banners gathered for a second straight day in front of the Japanese Embassy, hurling water bottles at the building and chanting slogans such as “Knock down the little Japanese,” “Long live the People’s Republic of China” and “China will prevail.”
- Guangzhou— Demonstrators stormed a complex that houses the Japanese Consulate, breaking windows in the luxury Garden Hotel and smashing a vehicle.
- Shenzhen— Riot police were deployed in southern Shenzhen city to disperse angry crowds, firing tear gas and used a water cannons at marchers.
- Qingdao— Around 10 Japanese companies in the coastal city, a magnet for Japanese investment, reported damage. Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co said arsonists had badly damaged their stores.
Some major Japanese brand name firms announced factory shutdowns in China.
The Chinese Communist Party, which rarely allows street protests, allowed the display of public anger after the Japanese government bought the islands (known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China) from their private owners. The uninhabited islands potentially contain large gas reserves.
China responded on Friday by sending patrol ships into the waters around them. Taiwan, which also claims the island chain, has sent ships to nearby waters.
The US defence secretary has warned territorial disputes in East Asia have the potential to become wider conflicts if provocations are not reduced.