China rejects Japan’s demand for apology

Associated Press

Beijing, April 17:

Fresh wave of anti-Japan protests erupts in China, Hong Kong.

China today refused to apologise for three weekends of sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations that damaged Tokyo’s Beijing embassy and a consulate, in protests over Japan’s wartime history and campaign for a permanent UN Security Council seat. “The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologise to the Japanese people,” Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told his visiting Japanese counterpart as China allowed new demonstrations in at least six cities. Li said Japan, instead, was to blame for “a series of things that have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” over issues such as relations with rival Taiwan and “the subject of history.” Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura appealed to Li to protect Tokyo’s diplomats and citizens.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK quoted Machimura as saying earlier today in Tokyo that he would warn Beijing that relations, “including on the economic front, could decline to a serious state.” In the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, thousands of protesters called for a boycott of Japanese goods. Smaller, peaceful rallies were held in nearby Dongguan and Zhuhai and in Chengdu in the west. In Shen-yang in the northeast, about 1,000 protesters mar-ched to the Japa-nese Consulate but were kept away by police. In Shenzhen, two groups mar-ched past a Japanese-owned Jusco department store calling for a boycott of Japanese goods. Another 500 protesters were outside another Jusco branch in Guangzhou, Tsuruoka said. Earlier today, police tried to block a planned protest in Guangzhou. In a rare display of nationalism, at least 5,000 people in Hong Kong marched peacefully through downtown areas today to denounce Japanese wartime atrocities, echoing similar protests in mainland China.

Man sets himself on fire

TOKYO: A man set himself on fire after hurling a bottle at the Chinese consulate general in

the Japanese city of Osaka early on Sunday. The middle-aged man, who was not immediately identified, suffered burns on his left hand and other parts of his body, and was taken to a hospital for treatment, a spokesman for the Osaka prefectural police said. His actions appeared to be in retaliation for the protests in China against Tokyo’s alleged failure to adequately apologise for its wartime aggression. In Osaka, the man was stopped and questioned by police on guard when he approached the Chinese consulate general. “He suddenly threw a glass bottle toward the gate to the consulate general and his clothes caught fire around his abdomen,” the police spokesman said. — AFP