China cleans up after angry anti-Japan protests
China is returning to normalcy after angry protests over Japan’s wartime occupation and Tokyo’s recent purchase of islands also claimed by Beijing.
Beijing sanitation workers were using high-pressure hoses on Wednesday to erase the stains of paint bombs hurled at the Japanese embassy the day before. Road blocks were removed, allowing for normal traffic around the embassy and police shooed pedestrians away.
Japanese shops, restaurants and factories in China that closed to avoid being targeted by protesters were open again.
Large and sometimes violent anti-Japan protests roiled many Chinese cities over the weekend, triggered by the Japanese government’s purchase last week of the disputed East China Sea islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan.
Also on Wednesday, China’s Commerce Ministry called on Japan to take “complete responsibility” for any trade impact from the territorial dispute.
The call was made by commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang, at a news briefing.
Last week, Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei said tensions between China and Japan are likely to harm trade ties between the two countries.
The islands are tiny rock outcroppings that have been a sore point between China and Japan for decades. Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The US took jurisdiction after the second world war and turned them over to Japan in 1972.
The disagreement escalated last week when the Japanese government said it was purchasing some of the islands from their private owner. Japan considers it an attempt to thwart a potentially more inflammatory move by the governor of Tokyo, who had wanted not only to buy the islands but develop them. But Beijing sees Japan’s purchase as an affront to its claims and its past calls for negotiations.
Beijing has sent patrol ships inside Japanese-claimed waters around the islands, and some state media have urged Chinese to show their patriotism by boycotting Japanese goods and cancelling travel to Japan.
Additional reporting by Reuters in Beijing