Diaoyu dispute unites liberals and nationalists online

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 August, 2012, 9:42am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2012, 9:29am

After the Japanese government announced last night that it had detained 14 members of the Hong Kong-based Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, including journalists and activists from Taiwan and the mainland, for illegal entry into Japan, terse calls for their unconditional release have been made online from across the political spectrum, including well-known liberals and property tycoons Ren Zhiqiang and Pan Shiyi.

Yesterday marked the 67th anniversary of Japan's announcement to surrender to Allies in World War II, also known as V-J Day.

As a prime example of discussions now taking place on Sina Weibo, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state-run newspaper Global Times has, among threats of revenge and other thoughts, dismissed outright the promise made by the Japanese government that the detained activists will be dealt with under Japanese law, arguing that Japanese law has no bearing over Chinese territory.

Well-known TV journalist and ardent nationalist Sima Nan wrote:

Sixty-seven years ago on August 15, the Japanese emperor announced unconditional surrender; On an August 15, sixty-seven years later, the Japanese prime minister now announces that the Japanese have legal jurisdiction over the Chinese on their own [Chinese] land.

The Global Times, meanwhile, reports that protests will take place in several cities today and activists will send more ships to the disputed Diaoyu islands. Calls have also been made to begin boycotting Japanese products.

While patriotism has brought about temporary bipartisanship amid the territorial dispute, Hu Xijin just last week took to his microblog to label Chinese liberals "the cancer cells that will lead to the demise of China."