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LinkAsia | Oct 1
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV gives their perspective on Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's speech at the United Nations. The Chinese foreig...
This week, anti-Japanese sentiments over a chain of small Pacific islands surged to new heights. Here's LinkAsia's Annie Fu with more.
In Beijing and Shanghai, small groups of protesters demonstrated in front of Japanese diplomatic buildings. The protestors say that the islands, called Diaoyu in China, belong to China, not Japan.
In at least eight other cities, the protests were larger and more destructive. In Shenzhen, about 1,000 people, mostly younger Chinese citizens, overturned Japanese cars and vandalized Japanese restaurants. The protests seem to have been organized online, and it doesn't appear that the Chinese government made any attempt to block them from happening.
The stakes were raised after Chinese activists landed on the islands earlier this month and unfurled the Chinese flag. They were immediately detained by the Japanese coast guard and deported. But in response, a group of Japanese activists planted flags of their own to assert their claims. China's official broadcaster CCTV has this take on the dispute.
Here in Wangfujing, this Japanese clothing shop is still receiving customers. Unlike in Shenzhen, which saw the worst violence, Japanese shops in the Chinese capital so far haven't seen large, angry crowds.
Student from Zhejiang Province:
Politically, Japan isn't in the good books now, but that shouldn't affect commercial ties.
Tourist from Shandong Province:
We shouldn't use extreme means to vent our anger, because it wouldn't do any good, and it will hurt our image, too.
It's been reassuring to the stores that they won't be hit by large scale boycotts, at least for now. But how do employees at the stores feel? Here at the Japanese store, the Chinese staff are not willing to talk to the camera, but they say that businesses haven't been significantly affected. However, some do admit to feeling a sense of unease as they worry that the situation may further escalate. But not all Chinese people are for using Japanese goods, especially at a time when there's no signs of tensions easing.
Pensioner from Beijing:
I'm very angry about the Diaoyu Islands dispute. They belong to China, no doubt, and I have never used any Japanese goods in my life. I was in the army fighting against them when I was young.
Japan has made three illegal landings on the islands this year and arrested a group of Chinese activists there last week. Over the weekend, ordinary people and students staged demonstrations in over 10 major cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and many others, to protest against Japan's sovereignty claims. In some extreme cases, Japanese cars and shops were damaged. But academics warn that such sentiment is a double-edged sword.
Liu Youfa, Deputy Director, China Institute of International Studies:
It has double functions. We know it is one way to show the discontent or anger over Japan on similar occurrence. But in the globalized economy, the Japanese goods are pretty much made in China. So it contains the interest of the Chinese side. It is not the best way to do that.
Liu says bilateral ties have been harmed at a sensitive time, as next month marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of ties between the two countries. However, he says instead of acting on impulse, more peaceful ways should be sought to solve the territorial dispute.
The complexity of the situation can be seen in this photo of an anti-Japanese protester in China. His shirt reads, "Oppose Japanese Products." Sounds simple enough. But if you look closely, you realize it's a bit of a mixed message, especially since his camera strap is clearly labeled, "Canon."