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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.