Diaoyu Islands

Anti-Japan protests turn violent in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Qingdao

Demonstrations turn into battles with the police in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Qingdao as protesters smash and burn Japanese businesses

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 9:19am

Torrid protests against Japan broke out in dozens of mainland cities for a second day yesterday, prompting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to urge Beijing to protect his country's companies and diplomatic buildings from fresh assaults.

Demonstrations sparked by the Diaoyu Islands dispute descended into violence in Shenzhen and Guangzhou and in Qingdao in Shandong province, with angry protesters clashing with police, Japanese factories being burned, restaurants and hotels being smashed, and cars vandalised.

Shenzhen police had to fire tear gas and use water cannon to repel protesters who tried to break into government buildings, and detained at least a dozen of them.

Several thousands protesters began to gather on Shennan Boulevard, a major road in Shenzhen, at about eight in the morning. About two hours later, they clashed with armed policemen, throwing flowerpots and water bottles at the police force when they were stopped close to the compound of the city's party committee, also on the boulevard. Some protesters also attacked cars believed to be owned by party cadres.

The clash escalated at around 11am, when police began to fire tear gas and water cannons more frequently at the crowd.

In Guangzhou, protesters broke into the lobby of the Garden Hotel and smashed a Japanese restaurant on the second floor, despite a heavy police presence.

The hotel became a gathering point for more than 10,000 demonstrators because it is next to the Japanese embassy. A dozen demonstrators were detained by armed police.

Several dozen demonstrators climbed onto an arched roof at the hotel's entrance, waving national flags, singing the national anthem and chanting: "Diaoyu Islands belong to China" and "Japan, get the hell out of China."

More Japanese restaurants and supermarkets were smashed and looted as evening drew near, despite calls for a peaceful protest from some at the rally.

Police used loudspeakers to ask demonstrators to leave at noon, but several hundred protesters were still gathered near the Garden Hotel late last night, under police watch.

In Qingdao, at least four factories - including a Panasonic plant - and a Nissan vehicle dealership were damaged in a blaze started by protesters.

Demonstrators in Beijing yesterday resumed their protests under the nose of tens of thousands of armed soldiers, uniformed police officers and security guards wearing red armbands marked "public security volunteer". They continued to chant nationalistic slogans and threw eggs and water bottles at the Japanese embassy in the city.

In Shanghai, about 1,500 people marched towards the Japanese consulate, where they were allowed to enter cordoned-off areas in small groups.

Police headed off a crowd of at least 2,000 protesters who were trying to charge the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu .

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry announced that China would submit the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the East China Sea to the UN.

State radio said 1,000 Chinese fishing boats were preparing to head to the disputed waters after the fishing season resumed.

Additional reporting by Reuters