News / Asia

China Investigates Demonstration Around US Ambassador's Car

Security officers surround a car carrying U.S. ambassador Gary Locke after anti-Japan demonstrators tried to block the car outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing, September 18, 2012.Security officers surround a car carrying U.S. ambassador Gary Locke after anti-Japan demonstrators tried to block the car outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing, September 18, 2012.
x
Security officers surround a car carrying U.S. ambassador Gary Locke after anti-Japan demonstrators tried to block the car outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing, September 18, 2012.
Security officers surround a car carrying U.S. ambassador Gary Locke after anti-Japan demonstrators tried to block the car outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing, September 18, 2012.
VOA News
The U.S. has expressed concern at an incident in which dozens of Chinese protesters surrounded the car of U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, pelted it with objects, and blocked its entry to the American Embassy in Beijing.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland says Chinese authorities have expressed regret for the Tuesday incident, which occurred during a day of heated anti-Japan protests across China.

"On September 18th, approximately 50 Chinese demonstrators surrounded Ambassador Locke's official vehicle as it attempted to enter the embassy compound," she said. "They caused minor damage to the vehicle. Ambassador Locke himself was unharmed. There were Chinese security personnel standing in front of the compound. They responded and removed demonstrators from the scene, which allowed the ambassador's car to move forward."

Locke told reporters that he was unharmed and did not feel in danger during the incident. But he said he met with Chinese Foreign Ministry officials to express concerns and to urge them to do "everything possible" to protect U.S. Embassy personnel. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei called the incident "an individual case," but said China was investigating it.

Video of the incident posted on YouTube by dissident artist Ai Weiwei showed flag-carrying protesters shouting slogans, hurling bottles, and tearing the American flag off of the ambassador's car before a line of police moved in to surround the vehicle.

The incident came just days after a mob attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomatic staff during protests against a U.S.-made anti-Islam video. Security has been ramped up at U.S. diplomatic offices around the world following the attacks.

Nuland said Wednesday that the Beijing incident did not appear to be related to the recent wave of anti-U.S. protests that have broken out in response to the video. She said it was likely a "target of opportunity" for demonstrators returning from a protest at the nearby Japanese Embassy.

Joseph Cheng, a political science professor at City University of Hong Kong, tells VOA he was surprised by the incident, and that Beijing likely was, as well.

"This is of course embarrassing for the Chinese authorities," he said. "I do not think that the Chinese authorities would like these events to occur," says Cheng, who added that it was likely just a coincidence that it happened during a visit by U.S. defense chief Leon Panetta. "Naturally, any cars belonging to foreign embassies or foreign diplomats might be a target of harassment very near to the Japanese Embassy."

Thousands of Chinese took to the streets Tuesday on the sensitive anniversary of the Japanese invasion of northern China in 1931. China and Japan have been engaged in an increasingly bitter dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea.

On Wednesday, Nuland again reiterated Washington's position that it does not take sides on the question of the sovereignty of the islands and urged China and Japan to resolve the dispute through peaceful means.

Some Chinese have questioned Washington's neutrality in the debate, since Tokyo is a strong ally of Washington and boasts a security treaty that ensures U.S. support in case of an attack on its territory.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid