All I want to say is that nothing happens in China spontaneously. The government instigates and allows "spontaneous" riots to occur.China Protesters Attack Japanese Targets
Apr 9, 9:00 AM (ET)
BEIJING (Reuters) - Thousands of Chinese smashed windows and threw rocks at the Japanese embassy and ambassador's residence in Beijing on Saturday in a protest against Japan's wartime past and its bid for a U.N. Security Council seat.
Protesters pushed their way through a paramilitary police cordon to the gates of the Japanese ambassador's residence, throwing stones and water bottles and shouting "Japanese pig come out."
Some 500 paramilitary police holding plastic shields raced into the compound and barricaded the gates. Protesters threw stones and bricks at the residence, and shouted at police, "Chinese people shouldn't protect Japanese."
Anti-Japanese sentiment has been running high in China since Tuesday Japan when approved a textbook critics say whitewashes atrocities committed during World War II, and many Chinese feel the country has not owned up to its wartime aggression.
Demonstrators, who said they had been organized mostly through e-mail and instant messaging, had been marching peacefully under heavy police guard.
One group began throwing bottles and stones when they passed a Japanese restaurant, smashing windows with tiles they had ripped from its roof before police stopped them.
A second Japanese restaurant was targeted later in the evening, with bricks thrown through the window, terrifying kimono-clad waitresses.
"We are all Chinese in here and were just minding our own business," one told Reuters minutes after the attack. "This is terrifying."
She said some of the protesters had helped them clean up and advised them not to wear such sensitive uniforms.
Protesters also attacked a Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi branch and smashed windows before police moved in.
Another group outside the embassy in southeast Beijing threw stones and plastic water bottles smashing windows in the compound, a Reuters photographer said. Some demonstrators scuffled with police.
The violence prompted an official protest in Tokyo by Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi who asked Chinese Minister to Japan Cheng Yonghua to strengthen security, Kyodo news agency said.
By 7.30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. EDT), the main crowd just outside the gates to the Japanese ambassador's residence had dispersed, but hundreds of others, many of them marchers who arrived late, remained at the corner of the compound.
Police used loudspeakers to try to persuade the students to go back to their universities.
LARGE PROTESTS RARE
The demonstration started in the Beijing neighborhood of Zhongguancun, known for its electronics shops and home to a large student population, and comes less than a week after anti-Japanese protests in other Chinese cities turned violent.
"Japan doesn't face up to its history," said Cheng Lei, a 27-year-old information technology professional. "We want to express our feelings so the Japanese government knows what we think."
Police declined to say how many protesters were on the streets, but the official Xinhua news agency put the number at more than 10,000. Onlookers thronged the streets, cheering on the demonstration and snapping photos as scores of police looked on.
Large-scale protests are rare in China, where the Communist leadership is concerned about maintaining stability at a time of wrenching social change and a widening gap between rich and poor.
Past demonstrations outside the Japanese embassy have typically been heavily policed, choreographed events involving about 50 people, with short speeches, some singing and petitions or letters being presented to the mission.
Last week, protesters smashed windows at a Japanese supermarket in the southwestern city of Chengdu after a demonstration there against Japan's bid for a permanent Security Council seat turned violent.
Demonstrators also took to the streets in Guangzhou, Chongqing and the southern city of Shenzhen, where two Japanese department stores were vandalized.
Domestic media said 20 million Chinese had signed an online petition opposing the U.N. seat bid.
KICKING A TOYOTA
Many Chinese harbor deep resentment of Japan's wartime aggression and what they see as its failure to own up to atrocities.
Some protesters wore red signs pasted to their chests bearing a traditional Chinese dragon and reading "Reject Japanese goods." Others began kicking a Toyota car caught in the middle of the crowd before it managed to drive away.
"Across the country, the mood to refuse Japanese goods is high, but nothing has been done about this. Therefore, patriotic students have organized themselves," said a notice circulated by e-mail on Friday urging people to protest.
On Saturday, the mostly student protesters carried signboards with lists of Japanese brand names crossed out and chanted slogans outside an electronics plaza urging the boycott.
Police guarded the entrance to the electronics plaza to stop demonstrators from pushing inside, and at least 20 police vans stood by to prevent the protest from escalating as the group chanted "Rise up, rise up, rise up." (Additional reporting by Brian Rhoads, Benjamin Kang Lim, Lucy Hornsby, and Reuters Television)