Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Shanghai swept by anti-Japanese riots

AP , SHANGHAI, CHINA

Chinese riot police stand outside the Japanese embassy as protesters march, waving flags and banners and shouting anti-Japanese slogans in Shanghai yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

Chanting "Japanese pigs get out!," protesters threw stones and broke windows at Japan's consulate and Japanese restaurants in Shanghai as tens of thousands of people defied government warnings and staged demonstrations yesterday against Tokyo's bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat.

Protests were reported in two other cities. But Beijing remained calm as police stood guard on Tiananmen Square to block a planned protest in the capital, a day ahead of a visit by Japan's foreign minister. Paramilitary police surrounded the Japanese Embassy, where protesters smashed windows last weekend.

The third weekend of protests erupted despite government demands for calm. Communist leaders apparently worry that the protests might do more damage to relations with Tokyo, which are at their lowest point in decades, or encourage others to take to the street to protest corruption or demand political reforms.

In Shanghai, as many as 20,000 protesters gathered around the Japanese Consulate. Police in riot helmets kept them away from the building but let protesters throw eggs and rocks. A group of young men broke the windows of a Nissan sedan and flipped it onto its roof.

In a nearby street, protesters broke windows at about 10 Japanese-style noodle shops and bars, many of them Chinese-owned. Others broke the windows of a police car, chanting "Kill the Japanese!," after a rumor spread that a man sitting inside was Japanese. The car drove away before the crowd could grab him.

The violence followed a march from City Hall to the consulate by about 5,000 people. They carried banners saying in English, "Say No to Japan in the Security Council" and chanted "Japanese pigs get out!"

A sign outside the consulate said, "Be Vicious Toward Japanese Devils."

"We have protested to the Foreign Ministry many times today, asking them to stop this violence," said Keiji Ide, spokesman for the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. "They promised to do their best."

A protest march in Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, attracted 10,000 people who shouted "slogans condemning Japanese militarism," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. In Tianjin, east of Beijing, about 2,000 protesters held a peaceful one-hour march.

Police also blocked a protest in the southern city of Guangzhou, shooing away people who tried to gather at a stadium.

Japan's foreign minister was preparing to fly to Beijing on Sunday for talks aimed at defusing the tensions. Japan warned its citizens in China about possible danger in advance of the protests. The US issued a similar warning.

Some suggested Beijing permitted the protests last weekend to support a campaign to block Tokyo's Security Council bid.

In Shanghai, police didn't try to stop the protest, though state newspapers said no one had received permission to hold one. At one point, police posted a sign saying, "March route this way."

Also see stories:

Japan taking on a fiestier approach to foreign affairs

Don't overlook nationalist threat

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