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.