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China Refuses to Apologize for Anti-Japanese Rioting

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, right, meets his Japanese counterpart Nobutaka Machimura, left, in Beijing
China has refused to apologize to Japan's foreign minister, following days of sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations. The Chinese protesters have denounced Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and what they say is Tokyo's downplaying of its 20th century militarism.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura came to Beijing seeking a formal apology for a series of rampages, in which Chinese demonstrators damaged the Japanese Embassy and consulate in Beijing.

He did not get that apology. After a cold welcome, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said his government has never done anything for which it has to apologize to the Japanese people.

Later, Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima said Japan believes the Chinese authorities are to blame, following reports that police largely stood by and watched, as the demonstrations became violent.

"We believe that lack of adequate security measures was one of the main causes of this kind of damage," said Mr. Takashima.

New demonstrations broke out in several cities Sunday, but not in the capital, where police were out in force before Mr. Machimura's visit.

Analysts interpret the absence of protests Sunday in Beijing as a sign the government has full control of where and when the demonstrations occur. Officials on Friday called for citizens to keep their protests peaceful.

City University of Hong Kong politics Professor Joseph Cheng says that shows the government wants to manage the situation carefully.

"The Chinese authorities understand that nationalism can be a double-edged sword," he said. "If you allow people to march against the Japanese Embassy, then they may well march against the central government the next day for other issues."

Japan has on numerous occasions apologized for the atrocities its troops committed in China during the first half of the 20th century. The Japanese foreign minister repeated that apology on Sunday.

But many of the demonstrators polled say they have never heard of a Japanese apology, and, in the absence of official news coverage on the matter, continue to believe that Japan has never repented.

Chinese authorities on Sunday allowed news of the demonstrations to air on foreign television channels, but blacked out portions where Japanese officials appeared, giving their side of the story.

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