Bid to calm public after anti-Japanese protests in Shenzhen over Diaoyus

Media praise patriotism over disputed islands, but call some Shenzhen behaviour 'shameful'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 4:48am


Mainland media attempted to calm public anger over the disputed Diaoyu Islands yesterday after an anti-Japanese protest turned ugly in Shenzhen at the weekend.

Editorials in mainland newspapers described the actions of some protesters as "stupid" and called on mainlanders to remain united.

Major anti-Japanese demonstrations broke out in several mainland cities on Sunday after Japanese nationalists raised flags on the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan.

In Shenzhen, protesters threw rocks and bottles at Japanese restaurants and overturned dozens of Japanese cars, including one police car.

An editorial in the China Youth Daily said the patriotic acts of the demonstrators should be appreciated, but some of their behaviour was "shameful".

"We can convey our intolerance of our integrity being trampled on and our desire to boycott Japanese products through symbolic means," it said.

"But we should not damage Japanese cars driven by our own people and damage private assets of our citizens. This is just stupid."

An editorial in the Global Times called on Chinese people to remain united. "There are disputes inside China regarding the strategies to be used for the territorial conflict, but we should not let the disputes become an 'internal struggle'," it said.

Mainlanders called on the central government to take tougher action against Tokyo. Luo Yuan, a retired major general who is considered a hawk, said in a forum on Sunday that China's first aircraft carrier should be named "Diaoyu Islands".

Zhang Xuezhong, a lecturer at East China University of Political Science and Law, said the authorities had allowed the demonstrations to help alleviate public anger.

But he said the authorities were also aware that the public might target the authorities for their lack of tough action if sentiment continued to run high.

Meanwhile, the fishing boat which enabled seven Hong Kong activists to land on the disputed islands on Wednesday is expected to arrive in Tsim Sha Tsui tomorrow. The Kai Fung No2 is carrying three activists - Yueng Hong, Wong Fah-man and Lo Chau - and four crew.

Chan Miu-tak, chairman of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, said he did not expect Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying would greet the vessel and activists.

Tsang Kin-shing, a committee member, said it was planning to mobilise Chinese people worldwide to join an anti-Japan rally on September 18 to commemorate the Mukden Incident, which Japan used as a pretext for invading China in 1931.