Angry Chinese protesters have called for a more aggressive policy towards Japan over disputed islands in the South China Sea. Protests have been frequent in both countries in the past month after a shipping incident brought diplomatic relations to a standstill.
Chinese students have led an angry protest against Japan in the northwestern city of Lanzhou on Sunday, one of many to take place in China since Japanese authorities detained a Chinese fishing captain last month.
Around 100 protesters chanted patriotic and anti-Japanese slogans while dragging a Japanese flag through the mud. Some stomped on the flag while others tore it with their teeth.
They called for a more aggressive policy towards Japan over a disputed island chain in the South China Sea, the site of a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese patrol ships that sparked the latest diplomatic tensions.
Chinese riot police eventually broke up the protest, and Chinese authorities have made peaceful overtures to Japan. But the anger expressed by the protesters mirrors anti-Japanese reports and editorials that frequently appear in Chinese official media.
Lanzhou electrician Zhang Quan said he was taking part to express his resentment.
[Zhang Quan, Electrician, Lanzhou]:
“We want to show our anger. The Japanese have infringed on our sovereignty and they detained our Chinese fishing boat and captain for over ten days. I think all of this is illegal.”
Japan also claims China is holding back shipments of rare earth metals, which are crucial for manufacturing electronic goods. But China has denied that political reasons are behind the cutting of shipments, claiming it wants to avoid depleting its reserves and to protect the environment.