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Diplomatic Car Flag Spark New Japan-China Row

6 years ago23 views

With tensions flaring over a territorial row that provoked the worst anti-Japanese protests in years, a man ripped the flag from a car carrying Japan's ambassador in Beijing on Monday.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said he had sent "sternest objections" to China on Tuesday over the incident.

[Koichiro Gemba, Japanese Foreign Minister]:
"The safety and freedom of movement of ambassadors must be protected and we have just launched our sternest objections."

Gemba also called for a police investigation, saying the incident could spell safety concerns.

The latest diplomatic row comes as China’s communist leaders are negotiating a tricky power transition. Some, like Shanghai-based democracy activist Wang Jianhua, believes the escalating tension could be a way for the regime to redirect the public’s attention.

[Wang Jianhua, Shanghai Democracy Activist]:
“The regime is trying to divert focus, because everyone is watching the 18th Party Congress, especially in China. So this issue is to turn away attention. Right now there is a lot of domestic tension reach a breaking point. Without these anti-Japanese movements, the public may turn their target to the government.”

Rights activist Gu Yiming believes there are other pressing issues for Chinese citizens, instead of territorial disputes.

[Gu Yiming, Jiangsu-based Rights Activist]:
“Whether the Diaoyu Islands belong to China has nothing to do with our civil rights. We want to protect our civic rights, if we are to protest on the streets, we should not be protesting against the Japanese, but rather that our government is not doing what it should.”

Earlier this month, the Japanese coast guard detained and later released 14 Chinese activists who sailed from Hong Kong and landed on the Diaoyu islands, which are called Senkaku in Japan. . Anti-Japanese demonstrations have taken place in Chinese cities over the past two weekends.

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