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Anti-Japan protests in China amid rising tension

(Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

Anti-Japanese protesters in China waved banners and chanted slogans on Saturday to voice their anger over the arrest of a trawler captain. They were demonstrating against the Japanese seizure of a Chinese fishing boat near the disputed Diaoyu islands.

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Demonstrators in Beijing shouted, “down with little Japan”, “free our captain” and “remember 18 September”, in reference to the anniversary of the Manchurian incident in 1931.

Around 100 protesters gathered near the Japanese embassy in Beijing, about 20 demonstrators were outside the Japanese consulate in Shanghai and 70 people marched through Hong Kong.

The incident has sparked diplomatic tension with China summoning the Japanese ambassador five times in a week and scrapping planned talks over joint energy exploration.

Tokyo claims that the Chinese fishing trawler captain intentionally rammed two Japanese coastguard vessels during a chase on 7 September.

Meanwhile sirens sounded in several cities across China to mark the Japanese occupation of Manchuria which began with an attack on the city of Shenyang.

“One of the key points of friction between China and Japan is the Diaoyu islands which are disputed in the East China Sea, between the Japanese who actually control them and the Chinese who claim them,” Martin Jacques, author of the book When China rules the World, told RFI.

“What of course adds special significance to the islands is the belief that there’s probably very large deposits of gas, other minerals and so on, under the seabed,” he added.

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