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Guangzhou braces for the largest anti-Japan protest yet

Posted: 09/18/2012 9:30 am

Even when relations between Japan and China are cordial, September 18 is a sensitive date.  In 1931, Japan staged the Mukden Incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and later the rest of China, on September 18.  Each year, China marks the event as another in a long line of humiliations by great powers.

The problem is, relations between Japan and China aren’t exactly cordial this year. Over the past several days, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, and across China to protest Japan’s claims to the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands. In one case in Shenzhen, the windows of Japanese businesses were smashed and police resorted to pepper spray and water cannons to clear the crowds.  That was on Sunday, and today is the anniversary of the Mukden Incident.

Protests have already started outside the embassy in Beijing today, and Guangzhou has set up barriers in Tianhe to handle an influx of protesters.  The photos below are from last night and this morning in Tianhe.

We’ll keep you updated on events throughout the day.  If you happen to be Japanese or have Japanese friends, best warn them to steer clear of public gatherings in the PRD today.


Police in Dongguan crack down on anti-Japanese protesters

Posted: 08/27/2012 11:24 am

(Photo courtesy

One week after protests erupted in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and elsewhere in China over Japan’s claims to the Diaoyu Islands, protesters in Dongguan took to the streets to voice their displeasure yesterday.  The key difference in this case: the riot police were brought in to disperse the crowd.

While the original protests last week seemed to have the tacit approval of authorities, this latest one in Dongguan clearly did not.  The South China Morning Post reports (behind a paywall) that hundreds of protesters gathered in Dongguan yesterday and marched towards the city’s government plaza in Dongcheng District.  Before they got there though, riot police arrived and began trying to break up the protest.  This inevitably resulted in some scuffles, with protesters throwing objects at the police.

A 25-year-old man who was visiting Dongguan with a friend from a town outside the city was severely beaten by police, said the 17-year-old friend.

“We were just curious to see what was happening and suddenly we were rounded up by police carrying shields and long black batons,” she said, sobbing. Her green top was stained with her friend’s blood.

The distraught girl was looking for a doctor and lost track of her friend in the chaos.

“A policeman, without warning, hit my friend’s head with his baton. He was covered in blood. But they still beat him even though he was already bleeding,” she said. “The next thing I knew I was pushed away by police. I can’t find my friend and I can’t find a doctor. I don’t know what to do.”

One shop owner in Dongguan said messages began circulating earlier in the week calling for a protest to take place on Sunday, however the idea was scrapped when 20,000 people signed up.  He said organizers shut it down because they were worried it would be out of control.

You can watch footage of the protest here.



Thousands pour onto streets in Shenzhen, Guangzhou to protest the Japanese

Posted: 08/19/2012 5:53 pm

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and other cities in China today to protest the Japanese claims to the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese.

The islands have become a flashpoint in Sino-Japanese relations of late, with a Hong Kong boat reaching the Japanese-administered islands last week and unfurling a Chinese flag.  Both countries insist the rocks, in an area rich in oil and gas, belong to them.

People in both Shenzhen and Guangzhou took to the streets today, along with their compatriots in Beijing, Hangzhou, Yiwu, Chengdu, Nanchang, Wenzhou, Taiyuan, Suzhou, and Changsha, to protest a Japanese landing at one of the uninhabited islands this morning.

Reports from Shenzhen and Guangzhou indicate thousands of people marched through the streets denouncing Japan, with some even smashing Japanese-made cars.  Photos of the protests are below.

RTHK has some details:

More than a hundred people gathered near the complex housing the Japanese consulate in Guangzhou, chanting “Japan get out of the Diaoyu Islands,” Xinhua news agency said.

In Shenzhen, protesters gathered at an outdoor plaza, waving Chinese flags and shouting slogans, Xinhua said, but did not give the number of participants.

Zhang Pei, one participant, said protesters were marching towards a train station on the border with Hong Kong.

“The demonstration is strung out for seven to eight kilometres. Many police are escorting us along the street,” he told AFP news agency.

Reuters reports on the landing made by the Japanese Sunday morning, which may have sparked the protest:

Early on Sunday, 10 members of a group of more than 100 Japanese nationalists who sailed to the island chain swam ashore to one of the islets and waved Japanese flags.

Three Japanese Coast Guard vessels were nearby, a Reuters TV journalist on board one of the boats said.

“I was hoping that someone with a real sense of Japanese spirit and courage would go and land and raise the flag, I just feel they’ve done a good job,” said Kazuko Uematsu, local lawmaker from Shizuoka Prefecture who was part of the flotilla.

The photos below are taken from Weibo.

(Thanks @MissXQ for the tips and photos).

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