Sun, Nov 02, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Japanese embassy cops an earful over

BAD MEMORIES A show featuring fake genitals didn't go down well in Xi'an, and the protests that followed forced the hand of the Chinese

AP , BEIJING

China's foreign ministry is urging Japan to ensure its students respect foreign customs after a risque dance by four Japanese at a Chinese university caused an uproar, the government said yesterday.

The three students and a teacher, who donned red bras and fake genitals and gave an "obscene performance" at a student party, have been expelled by Northwest University in the western city of Xi'an, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Chinese teachers quickly stopped the dance Wednesday night -- but it sparked two days of student protests demanding an apology.

A university employee said yesterday that the demonstrations had stopped.

"Everything is normal right now," said the employee by telephone yesterday at the school's administration office. He would give only his surname, Zhang.

The foreign ministry sent a message to Japan's embassy in Beijing which "urged the Japanese government to educate the Japanese students in China to ... respect Chinese people's customs so as to avoid similar affairs happening again," Xinhua said.

Chinese regularly protest Japanese gestures that they think slight China or evoke memories of World War II.

The ministry issued a similar appeal to Japan following a mid-September incident in the southern city of Zhuhai, which coincided with the date in 1931 that China regards as the start of Japan's wartime occupation of its territory.

In the earlier incident, Chinese were outraged over news reports that more than 400 Japanese male tourists -- some has young as 16 -- hired prostitutes for two days of sex in Zhuhai.

Chinese nationalists have been especially angry at Japan since August, when one person was killed and dozens injured after construction workers in the northeastern city of Qiqihar unearthed canisters of poison gas left behind by the Japanese army after World War II.

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