Toy guns wrapped in packaging with the slogan "Diaoyu Islands are China's territory" spread the idea of militarism, a former education-sector lawmaker says.
"It is extremely dangerous to link [a toy for children] to a territorial dispute and even war," Cheung Man-kwong, vice-president of the Professional Teacher's Union, said.
Shop owner Peter Chan said he bought about 40 of the mainland-made plastic pistols from a wholesaler recently, and half of them had been sold. The majority of buyers were teenagers from nearby housing estates, he said.
The toy, which costs HK$18, shoots plastic pellets.
"I don't think [teenagers] care about the slogan. They dumped the packaging immediately after unwrapping the gun," Chan said.
But Cheung said the pistols reminded him of Japanese militarism and the Japanese empire's old ideology that military might should dominate the nation's political and social life, and that military strength represented the strength of a nation.
"In some museums, I saw pictures of children in Japan holding pistols during the second world war," he said.
Cheung said militarism had been used in Japan to cultivate a particular mindset, and that commercial products often reflected a society's ideology.
Tsang Kin-shing, a member of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, said resorting to violence was not an appropriate way to deal with the dispute over the Diaoyus, which Japan calls the Senkakus.
"We are against Japanese militarism. We shouldn't let our next generation take guns and other weapons onto the island," he said.
"It's a bit unscrupulous for businessmen to make money out of a sensitive diplomatic issue."
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