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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid