News / Asia

Anti-Japan Protests Spread to Hong Kong

Tsang Kin-shing addresses the crowd after having set alight the Japanese flag during a protest rally in Hong Kong, September 16, 2012. (VOA - I. Broadhead)Tsang Kin-shing addresses the crowd after having set alight the Japanese flag during a protest rally in Hong Kong, September 16, 2012. (VOA - I. Broadhead)
Tsang Kin-shing addresses the crowd after having set alight the Japanese flag during a protest rally in Hong Kong, September 16, 2012. (VOA - I. Broadhead)
Tsang Kin-shing addresses the crowd after having set alight the Japanese flag during a protest rally in Hong Kong, September 16, 2012. (VOA - I. Broadhead)
Ivan Broadhead
As tensions between China and Japan escalate, anti-Japanese protests have spread to Hong Kong.  Pro-democracy activists in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory are taking a surprising lead in the pan-Chinese nationalism movement. 
An estimated 5,000 demonstrators marched on the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong Sunday.  The demonstration occurred in the build-up to the anniversary this week of the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria.
Tokyo enflamed Chinese emotions last week by purchasing contested islands, known as the Diaoyu in China, the Senkaku in Japan, from their private Japanese owners. 
Last month, protest organizer Tsang Kin-Shing and a group of Hong Kong residents landed on the islands, located between Okinawa and Taiwan.  Tsang accused Japan of acting irresponsibly. 
“Japan must apologize not only for the crimes it committed before and during the Second World War. This latest act by the Japanese state, buying the Diaoyu Islands, is an absurdity. It is a challenge to the Chinese people, to the extent that it is almost an act of war.” 
An article in the state-owned China Daily newspaper Saturday suggested Hong Kong protesters directing their anger at Japan would simultaneously demonstrate their loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.
But such a notion was rejected by demonstrators and organizers alike.  Teacher CK Yeung explains a widely held sentiment.  “The Chinese Communist Party has inflicted a lot of pain on its own people.  We are all Chinese.  It is our country.  [But] we do not equate the Chinese Communist Party with the country.  We know the difference," he said. 
Hong Kong is regularly rocked by protests against Beijing's growing influence in the former British colony, which enjoys social and political freedoms seen nowhere else in China. 
The leaders of Hong Kong's pan-Chinese nationalism movement are well-known pro-democracy activists, many of whom have been banned from entering the mainland since the resumption of Chinese sovereignty in 1997. 
Hong Kong Democratic Party vice chairman, legislator Sin Chung Kai attended the protest.  He argues the involvement of the Hong Kong people reflects a moral, not a political stance against Japanese provocation.  
“"[We] are angry with the People’s Republic of China - how they handle the pace of [democratic reform] in Hong Kong.  But that does not mean we will not support the unity of our sovereign soil.  The Diaoyu, since the Ming Dynasty five- or 600 years ago, have been part of China," he said. 
Hong Kong protesters insist they have little interest in China’s claims to other territories in the East and South China Seas, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands, over which Vietnam asserts sovereignty.  
Hong Kong residents, proud of their Chinese identity, have shown long-running support for the Diaoyu claim, observes Hong Kong University History Professor Priscilla Roberts.  
“In the 1990s, the Chinese government tried to damp down [Diaoyu-related] protests.  It was Hong Kong people who let their emotions get away with them.  So perhaps it is a way of showing one can be Chinese - more Chinese than the Chinese - without necessarily following the Beijing party line," she said. 
An expert on the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during the Second World War, Rohan Price of the University of Tasmania, says the legacy of the brutal occupation persists, along with demands for reparation. 
“To this day, many Hong Kong families have suitcases full of Japanese military script, which was unfortunately de-monetized by the British on their return in 1945.  So effectively, all the proceeds of their business and labor during the Occupation became worthless," he said. 
While Japanese businesses have been looted and vandalized during protests elsewhere in China, demonstrators vow Japanese property will be respected in Hong Kong.  But the Japanese flag was burned outside Japan’s consulate at the conclusion of the march and demonstrators called for a boycott of Japanese companies.

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Comments page of 3
by: Habi from: Canada
September 23, 2012 11:49 PM
See atrocities and violence from Japanese fascist in WWII. Stop robbing and start talking, Japanese fascist!

Nanking Massacre-Japanese Atrocities filmed by John Magee (US)

by: Habi from: Canada
September 23, 2012 5:27 PM
China has 14 neighbour countries and 4 of them have disputed border/waters with China, 28%. Japan has 4 neighbors and has disputed waters and areas with all of them, 100%. So Japan is more problematic, more aggressive, and more greedy.
Vietnam chased out Vietnam Chinese brutally and illegally and robbed their properties rudely in ~ 1960-1970s, and invaded Cambodia in ~1970s, many Vietnam Chinese had to go back to China, or went to Canada and US. China gave Vietnam a color in 1979. Now Vietnam has disputed waters with China in Sothern China Sea.
Communism and capitalism are only ideology, which can change over time. ~100-200 years ago, no much countries knew how they built and developed their own countries, especially developing countries and colonies (e.g. China, India, other counties in Asia, Africa and South America), capitalism from western countries didn’t make the colonies and developing countries become rich and strong. So some of the countries chose communism (because they had so many poor people at that time), others selected capitalism in the past 100-200 years. Finally lots of lessons and experience accumulated from these counties not matter capitalism and communism, which is beneficial for all countries to choose the appropriate politics afterwards. The key points is how these developing countries and colonies eliminate poverty soon, developed countries also have responsibility in this. Real democracy is the dream and hope for all countries, but poverty should be eliminated first and people should have enough money to get education before real democracy is realized. How can poor people achieve real democracy without enough food and education?
Fascist is NOT ideology, it is from greed, aggression and violence, and it is the real evil in the World, for example, German invaded not only Rusisan, but also France, UK and other countries; Japan Fascist didn’t only attack China and Russian, but also US and UK and France army. German apologized for WWII, but Japan Fascist is trying to coming up in the past decades, Asian countries and US and other countries should be aware of the evil of Japanese Fascist.

by: Japao from: Japan
September 18, 2012 3:13 PM
@zephyr from: south africa

Reading Namibia-German story, there are uncountable similar stories Japanese ordinary people did. Some of them even voluntarily remained in China after the war. One, who died at his age of 101, started contributing as a doctor in a Chinese local community for compensation. Lots of doctors remained to teach or cure, one for 30 years, another for several years after the war(not sure as a compensation, though). Thousands joined Chinese soldiers(National party) responding to request by a National party leader. Another remained as a staff of Communist party to train fighter pilot. There must be numerous examples including we can never know.

by: @Jonathan
September 18, 2012 8:38 AM
If you are so proud of being Chinese,why did you risk your lives insearch of better life in the West? China has always been associated with poverty,injustice,faking,barbarism,warmongering,landgrabbings,etc.That is why all countries in Asia dislike Chinese,so take your cheap pride back to China where you belong.Like Kamikaze said,the Mongols conquered the Chinese weaklings and were only defeated by the Japanese and Vietnamese.History might repeat itself.

by: Giang from: Hanoi
September 17, 2012 11:43 PM
We, Vietnamese, boycott chinese products. You can ask every1 about the chinese and Japanese, they will tell you chinese is the worse in this world (hell) and Japanese is the best.

by: Kamikaze from: Japan
September 17, 2012 11:01 PM
@Jonathan Huang, you must learn real history instead of the hocus-pocus history you have learned from Chinese Communist regime. Japan has never been defeated by China (including Mongolia that conquered Han tribe); instead, Japan chased and drove Chinese rabble military during WWII. You must have escaped from China to Canada. Do not disgrace "Canada" with your uncultivated and unethical words.

by: DucAnh from: Hanoi Vietnam
September 17, 2012 10:30 PM
@Peace Maker : Not easy to take part in or organize a protest like this :)) haha, The Vietnam Communist Party does not permission this acts take place anywhere in Vietnam territory. Every vietnamese also awares this :) Law, Communist, Peace :)

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
September 17, 2012 8:19 PM
Congrats! Brave Chinese! Be United and we will be invincible. All Chinese from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, NY and other places, lets go protest on 9.18.
Our country is rising, slowly but steady, let us be proud of being Chinese. Lets defeat Japan again!

by: Ex-Chinese from: Tokyo
September 17, 2012 7:29 PM
Communist government is now very busy preventing their humanoids (rioters) from looting and vandalizing Japanese businesses (including many Sino-capitalized businesses) and even from protesting themselves. "Who spits against heaven spits in his own face (Chinese proverb). Ancient Chinese wise men said such smart proverbs in vain. Chinese have never learned their words and are still committing outrageous crimes against other countries and nationals. Poor Chinese people, awake out of slavery!

by: Facts
September 17, 2012 7:21 PM
@Vacanda You talked as if America is solely responsible for all the present troubles.How could you have ignored America'sacrifices in ending Japan's reign of terror in WW2.Without America would you have still got what you now call China,Taiwan or Singapore.What Japan did were pale in comparison to China's throughout their history.Think of thr hundreds of millions aof people who have lost their lives,languages culture and homelands at the hands of the Chinese expansionists over the centuries.When China could maintain that sovereign states such as Tibet and Inner Mongolia and the whole South China Sea theirs,what else wouldn't they claim then.China should know their limits and respect other countries' sovereignty.Why do you think Singapore allow American warships to be based in Singapore then? To protect you ungrateful people like you.From whom? You should know theanswer
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