Anti-Japanese demonstrations spread to more than 20 cities in China Sunday, as Tokyo dismissed China's opposition to Japanese activists landing on disputed islands in East China Sea.
Chinese demonstrators waved national flags and chanted angry slogans as they protested the arrest of Chinese activists who landed last week in the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and as Diaoyu in China. In some cities, protesters vandalized Japanese made vehicles and clashed with police who tried to restrain them.
Earlier Sunday, a group of 10 Japanese activists, including local lawmakers, swam ashore and unfurled Japanese flags on one of the disputed islands after a flotilla carrying about 150 people sailed to the disputed archipelago.
The Chinese foreign ministry issued a "strong protest against the landing. Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa rejected the protest and urged Beijing to protect Japanese property in Chinese cities from vandalism.
Both China and Japan claim sovereignty over the uninhabited islands in an area potentially rich in natural resources.
Taiwan also claims the maritime territory and its foreign ministry protested the Japanese activists landing on Sunday.
Japanese authorities have deported 14 residents of Hong Kong and mainland China who were arrested after traveling to one of the islands last week and planting a Chinese flag there while singing China's national anthem.
The disputed islands were administered by the United States from the end of World War Two until they were transferred back to Japan in 1972. In addition to being located in an area thought to have large reserves of natural gas, the islands are also a source of national pride in both Japan and China.