Chinese mob storms Japanese mission

Japan’s wartime past, UN seat bid flayed • Japan lodges formal protest

Agence France Presse

Beijing, April 9:

More than 1,000 anti-Japanese protesters hurled rocks and bottles and shouted abuse at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to Beijing as part of protests condemning Japan for its handling of its wartime past and Tokyo’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Japan lodged a formal protest against China’s handling of violent demonstrations at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, demanding assurances of security and safety of the building and the Japanese citizens there, an official said. Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi said the anti-Japanese protests were “extremely regrettable”. Protesters in Beijing also attacked a Japanese restaurant. A cordon of riot police belonging to China’s elite People’s Armed Police appeared to be trying to maintain order, but did not attempt to stop demonstrators from raining rocks and bottles down on the compound in northeastern Beijing. Regular police appeared to be trying to control the number of protesters getting into the access road up to the residence, while the main thoroughfare was gridlocked as cars could not get by the marchers who continued to arrive. Protesters shouted “Down with Japan” ,”Oppose a permanent seat for Japan on the UN Security Council,” and “Boycott Japanese Goods,” as they intermittently broke into a rowdy version of China’s national anthem. After smashing all the lamps around the residence compound, protesters went to a nearby construction site, taking bricks and other projectiles to begin bombarding the residence anew.

Japan ignited a fresh row with China on Tuesday by authorizing for school use a nationalist-written history textbook that Beijing says glosses over Japanese wartime atrocities. The Asian neighbours have increasingly been at loggerheads over Japan’s bloody World War II occupation of China and a dispute over scarce energy resources. Smaller rallies have erupted throughout China over Japan’s efforts to secure a permanent UN Security Council seat. Demonstrators have smashed the windows of Japanese businesses and demanded a boycott of Japanese goods. Up to 10,000 protesters brought traffic to a standstill in the capital’s Haidian district, and sometimes clashed with police as they marched around historic Beijing University and then headed into the heart of the city toward the Japanese Embassy. “I am Chinese, I love China,” Zhang Daili, a software engineer and a recent graduate of Beijing University, said. “This is a patriotic rally, if you are a patriot then you must oppose Japan,” said Daili. Yesterday, Japan’s embassy in Beijing issued a warning to Japanese nationals living in China to avoid the protests and to take precautionary measures to ensure personal safety.