Large anti-Japan demonstrations took place Saturday afternoon in the cities of Xi'an, Chengdu and Zhengzhou; reportedly organized by university groups over the Internet through QQ and other social networking sites [zh], the protests have taken many [zh] by surprise. They come on the same day as an anti-Chinese protest was held in Tokyo, photos from which can be seen here.
[Update: China Media Project‘s David Bandurski has posted on the protests here. See update 2 below]
A large number of photos and tweets have come out of the protests, yet explanation as to what spurred them remains to be seen, however a Xinhua report that came out soon after protests began references the recent flare-up of the ongoing dispute between the two countries over the Diaoyu islands. Despite having apparently been organized online, few blog posts regarding the motivation behind the demonstrations can currently be found, and even posts about related posts being deleted are being deleted.
Anybody know what sparked today's protests?
From Twitter around 5pm today, in Chengdu:
@carlwang87: 就是成都香槟广场这，除了一个料理店被砸，还有一个打日本牌子的餐馆被砸，游行的起点也是这 他们转了一圈，回来把这砸了
Twitter user Henry Hu, who has uploaded to Flickr a large number of photos from the Chengdu protest, has tweeted a statement from the Chengdu city government which says that students from all major universities in the city were part of the protest. Among Hu's photos is one reportedly from the scene of the Zhengzhou protest:
From Xi'an, just between 5 and 6 pm:
A photo on this BBS post shows two police cars leading the Xi'an demonstration:
See here for the latest Tweets regarding today's demonstrations.
Another anti-Japan protests took place on Sunday in Mianyang, in Sichuan province; Twitter user @kajisan has uploaded several photos:
And YouTube user luofeng0202 has uploaded video:
On Monday afternoon, yet another protest took place in Wuhan, in Hubei province. Among those live-tweeting it are Zhou Jian and @hugh19871210 who put the number of protesters in the low hundreds and police at over a thousand.
Sadly, they just hate each others for the IIWW invasion/occupation which means war. And what is worse is that nor China neither Japan teach in their history textbooks the truth about their history. That’s the reason why, instead of promoting friendship between neiborough they spread bad feelings among their own people. As a consequence, any excuse turns into demostrations. However,if people were aware of their human rights they would demonstrate for more significant reasons.
what you said is exact what I think! there are many significant reason to demonstrate for Chinese people, but the gov crack down these demonstration. this one is permitted by the gov on purpose to transfer people’s attention on internal stress and sadly most protesters don’t realize that and become the puppet.
People just THINK we don’t teach the truth. In China, stuff about the civil war are admittedly pro-Communist, but the facts are still there. In Japan, every single textbook used teaches about WW2 atrocities. The complaints were about a revisionist book that turned out to be used in like 3 schools.
I’d like to ask, how did a minor incident regarding the Diaoyu Islands turn into a bitter feud about what happened during World War II? This is not only preposterous, but also childish, and besides, the argument is totally not focussed on the issue currently at hand – the Diaoyu Islands. I have read some interesting articles on this issue and have watched the news, and while I admit that both sides have some points, the way that they are going on about this is not the right way to go.
It is unfair that arguments about what happened six decades ago should be resurrected in today’s society and age. Sometimes I wonder if governments are fit to govern at all, if they are not willing and able to let go of the things that had happened in the past.
I think the reasons for the demonstrations are a little more complicated than simply just lingering anti-Japan feelings from the invasion and atrocities committed by Japan before and during the official start of World War Two. The government has in fact stoked anti-Japanese sentiment for some time, realizing that nationalism is one of the few forces keeping Chinese (at least Han Chinese) together ideologically, in light of the breakdown of confidence in Marxist/Leninist/Maoist ideology since reform and opening. The paradox is that while the government promotes keeping nationalism alive, it doesn’t want that same nationalism to get out of control and lead to open riots that could lead to instability. China is in a precarious spot right now, given that the only things keeping people vested in the system are either (at times irrational) nationalistic feelings or material wealth, not things like belief in the justice of the system.
While the dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands likely has more to do with potential oil and gas reserves in the area, it is an interesting coincidence that protests are happening (that is, being allowed to happen) very close to a time when Norway has given the Nobel peace prize to prominent human rights activist Liu Xiaobo. Many of the protests were after all organized on social networking sites like QQ, sites which the government has been willing to restrict (see Facebook, Twitter) if deemed a dangerous tool that could be used by activists. Who knows how far the government is willing to let protests go if they are considered a useful distraction from China’s other problems?
October 18 is also the 79th anniversary of the Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, in which it was later found out that members of the Japanese military staged the blowing up of railroad tracks in occupied territory in Manchuria. They used this as the pretext for expanding their presence in China and so is often viewed as the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war, which became part of the larger World War II. This date might have been part of the impetus for the protests as well.
It is not October 18, but September 18.
This is a shame. Both countries have a lot in common and could do a fair bit of good together. The end result may well be a hardening of positions between the two, more US involvement and hardening of the ring around China. Look too for a bit more action by the Japanese to move manufacturing and assembly from China to other countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and India. In fact the latter has already started, but new moves to Thailand were just announced this week.