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Chinese Official Justifies Anti-Japan Protests

  • VOA News

Demonstrators holding posters of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong, Chinese national flags and banners march past riot policemen during a protest on the 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China, outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, September 18, 2
A Chinese official says the recent wave of anti-Japan protests in China involving a territorial dispute reflects a firm resolution by Chinese citizens to safeguard sovereignty.

China's Xinhua news agency quotes a Foreign Ministry spokesman as urging Japan's government to listen to the Chinese peoples' objection to Japan's announcement that it will buy islands in the East China Sea.

The protests died down Wednesday, as authorities sent out text messages telling the public not to demonstrate near the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. The embassy said it had no information about protests in other Chinese cities.

Meanwhile, demonstrators marched outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing. The protesters carried posters of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong, Chinese national flags, and banners to mark the 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China as riot policeman watched. Scores of Japanese businesses and Japan's embassy halted services in China, in anticipation of a possible escalation in violent protests over the territorial dispute between Asia's two biggest economies.

Protesters demonstrated for several days and some become violent after Japan said last week it would buy some of the uninhabited islands from a private Japanese landowner. The islands, controlled by Japan and claimed by China, are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

On Tuesday, at least 1,000 protesters marched outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, holding signs, chanting nationalistic slogans and calling for China to defend its claim to the islands. Many Japanese companies, including Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Panasonic, have reduced operations in China because of sporadic violence.

Also Tuesday, Japan's Coast Guard said at least two Chinese government vessels entered territorial waters near the islands. The vessels were among 11 Chinese ships spotted Tuesday in the region.