Chinese and Japanese both have a tendency to get emotional about the other nationality. Some reasons are good, some bad. Some are from the past, some from the present. It is about time for both sides to seek solutions to problems rather than falling prey to stereotypes. Recent events, however, have tended to reinforce stereotypes in both countries. China's media has been working overtime for the last week on the Zhuhai 'sex orgy' scandal, allegedly involving 400 Japanese businessmen and 500 Chinese prostitutes. The timing could not have been worse. On September 18, about the time the men checked out of the hotel to return to Japan, China was commemorating the 1931 'Manchurian incident' that launched Japan's military invasion of China. The hotel had to suspend operations and a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman advised that Japan should 'place more emphasis on educating its people'. A comparable scandal was created in Japan in June when three Chinese students were charged with murdering a Japanese family for their money. When the bodies of the middle-aged couple and their two children, aged eight and 11, were found in Hakata Bay in Fukuoka, bound in handcuffs and tied to weights, police soon traced the purchaser of the handcuffs and the weights used to drown them. The alleged perpetrator, Wang Liang, 21, had been studying Japanese at a nearby school. Four days after the murder, he fled Japan with a friend, Yang Ning. Back in China, the pair was arrested, and a third suspect, Wei Wei, was caught in Fukuoka. The three have confessed to the crime, and a team of Japanese investigators flew to Beijing last week to question the suspects. Many Japanese responded viscerally to news of the Chinese students' involvement. The stereotype linking Japan's resident Chinese population and violent crime has become entrenched. Over the last 10 years, Japanese have experienced a startling increase in crime. Incidents of theft have doubled. Last year, the Japanese made 34,800 arrests on criminal charges, and nearly 40 per cent were Chinese - making it by far the top nation on the list. Many young Chinese arrive in Japan with student or tourist visas and immediately take part-time or full-time jobs. Since unskilled labour immigration is prohibited, they enter the grey zones of illegal employment and crime. The biggest victims of the phenomenon are the tens of thousands of genuine Chinese students resident in Japan. But the rising crime rate has contributed to increasingly public expressions of racial intolerance and xenophobia. For instance, Tokyo's popular governor, Shintaro Ishihara, has continuously warned of the security threat posed by foreigners, and has used the derogatory term Shinajin, or Chinaman, in public. There is no stopping the two-way human traffic between China and Japan. The people of both nations should remind themselves that not all Chinese are criminals, or all Japanese sex maniacs. They can only build more confidence in each other by abandoning such prejudices.