Emeutes anti japonaises en Chine – octobre 2010

Anti-Japanese riots spread


Monday, October 18, 2010

Anti-Japanese demonstrations turned ugly in Sichuan province yesterday, with protesters throwing stones at Japanese shops and smashing the windscreens of Japanese cars.

This follows widespread protests in several cities on Saturday which were described in a Xinhua report as « patriotic. »

In Tokyo, hundreds of right-wing protesters waving national flags and banners also demonstated in Akihabara, a district famous for electrical products. They shouted anti-Chinese slogans near shops that target mainland tourists.

The protest, the second straight day of such action, lasted about 90 minutes before activists moved off.

In the mainland, protesters in Mianyang, Sichuan’s second-largest city, clashed with riot police who tried to stop them from hurling stones and bottles at Japanese outlets.

No official figure on the size of the demonstration was available, but sources estimated crowds at 30,000 – a relatively small proportion of the five million population.

Last night the Japanese embassy in Beijing said it was collecting information about the protest. Protesters tossed stones and other missiles at a ramen shop and an electronic appliances shop that specializes in the Panasonic brand.

Windshields of Japanese-made cars were broken. Pictures of the disturbances were posted on the internet, but the city government denied there had been any demonstration.

On Saturday, tens of thousands took part in demonstrations in second-tier cities in western and central China including Zhengzhou, Xian and the Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu.

Xinhua News Agency reported the events and quoted officials as saying they were « patriotic » in nature.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry’s website that the protests were « understandable. »

He added China and Japan are important neighbors to each other and should resolve their differences through dialogue.

However, authorities in southern China banned planned demonstrations in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, where the Asian Games will be held next month.

The weekend protests are the largest since a standoff erupted on September 5 when Japan seized the captain of a Chinese trawler for allegedly ramming two Japanese patrol vessels in disputed waters claimed by both countries.

The protests also overlap a sensitive period as Beijing strives to control the sentiment spurred by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

The marchers in Mianyang – mostly youngsters – chanted anti-Japanese slogans and proclaimed China’s territorial rights over the Diaoyu Islands. Slogans such as « boycott Japanese goods » and « long live China » were also heard.

Riot police quickly stepped in and warned them the protest was illegal. But attempts by police to disperse the crowd led to minor scuffles and a number of arrests, reports said. Military vehicles were seen patroling main roads, where traffic was brought to a halt. The crowds dispersed peacefully about 6pm after the five-hour protest.

In Chengdu, rows of riot police were seen outside a Japanese department store which was attacked on Saturday. The store was opened, though there were few customers.

China calls for ‘rational’ patriotism


Monday, Oct. 18, 2010

Violent protests against Japan over isles spur plea for calm

BEIJING (Kyodo) More demonstrations against Japan erupted in China on Sunday as protesters vandalized a restaurant and cars in Sichuan Province in defiance of implicit government calls for restraint.

Earlier in the day, the Chinese government had called on the public to express patriotism rationally and legally after protests over a territorial dispute with Japan turned violent the previous day.

« We maintain that patriotism should be expressed rationally and in line with law. We don’t agree with irrational actions that violate laws and regulations, » Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement issued early Sunday that was carried by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

« We advocate properly resolving those issues through dialogues and making joint efforts to safeguard the strategic bilateral relationship of mutual benefit, » Ma said.

Radio and Television Hong Kong said protesters in the city of Mianyang ignored government pressure and clashed with police. They also stoned a Japanese restaurant and shattered the windows of Japanese cars, the broadcaster said.

A local car dealer for Honda Motor Co. said some of its customers’ cars were damaged by the protesters.

As the violent acts escalated, local police reportedly lost control of the demonstrators.

The Japanese Consulate in Chengdu said the only Japanese citizen registered as living in Mianyang was unharmed by the protests and that it was unaware of any tourists in the city.

On Saturday, crowds estimated at over 10,000 people took to the streets in at least three cities to protest Japan’s control of the disputed Senkaku Islands, which are known in China as the Diaoyu Islands.

Officials of retailers Ito-Yokado and Isetan in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, said protesters barged into the stores and vandalized them. Protesters also broke into a Sony outlet and a Mizuno sporting goods store in Xian, Shaanxi Province.

On Sunday, Ito-Yokado said it reopened its Chengdu outlet under tight security from dozens of special police in black uniforms who were deployed to keep order. Police vehicles and officers also were deployed to other cities that saw demonstrations, as well as at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

The protests, the largest since April 2005, were sparked by a row over Tokyo’s arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain near the Senkaku Islands after a Sept. 7 collision between his trawler and pursuing Japan Coast Guard patrol boats.

After the Chinese government strongly protested and took a series of retaliatory measures against Japan, including the suspension of high-level dialogue, the captain was released and returned to China to a hero’s welcome.

Xinhua also quoted Ma as saying that China and Japan are important neighbors with a host of sensitive and complicated issues between them.


~ par Alain Bertho sur 18 octobre 2010.

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