September 17, 2012 by Water Wisdom
- Staff Reporter
- 12:24 (GMT+8)
The Chinese government has had to intervene in the anti-Japanese demonstrations in over 50 cities, many of which turned into riots on Sept. 15, reports our sister Chinese-language newspaper Want Daily.
Demonstrators have taken out their anger over Japan’s nationalization of disputed islands not only on Japanese vehicles, stores and restaurants, but even a Rolex showroom and a McDonald’s outlet, both which were looted despite having no connection to the dispute.
Having initially permitted public expression of outrage after Japan’s government signed a contract to purchase three of the disputed islands in the East China Sea which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, the authorities are inevitably concerned that the unrest should not get out of hand.
The administrators of China’s microblogging sites have begun to delete extreme nationalistic comments concerning the issue. Photos of violent images have also been removed.
Sources told Want Daily that state-run media including Xinhua, People’s Daily and China Central Television had already received a telegram from the Chinese foreign ministry before the rallies began forbidding any reports on the anti-Japanese demonstrations. After the protests spiraled out of control, local newspapers began to write commentaries to criticize rioters and looters in other cities — not in their own.
A commentary from Beijing News on Sept. 16 compared the protestors to the Boxers of the anti-foreign uprising that swept northern China between 1899 and 1901. The violence meted out to foreign nationals in China and Chinese converts to Christianity was put down by an eight-nation alliance of foreign powers, who exacted a sizable indemnity for the uprising from the Qing government, which collapsed only a decade later.
The Beijing Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League, also blamed looters for injuring their own countrymen instead of fighting the Japanese “invaders.”
Displays of “patriotism” against Japan and the United States are actually encouraged by the Chinese government as they can shift the attention of the public away from discontent which might otherwise be directed at the party. The rampaging on the streets and relative lack of police presence is in marked contrast to the lockdowns that occur whenever the government believes that it will be the target of a planned demonstration.