Protesters burned the Hinomaru, Japan's national flag, and destroyed property Aug. 19 amid demonstrations in at least 23 Chinese cities over an islands row that is arousing more anger and turning more violent with each new development.
In Shenzhen, Guangdong province, a mob attacked and overturned Japanese-made police vehicles. Up to 60 protesters smashed their way into a building that houses a Japanese restaurant.
"Down with Japanese imperialism," chanted a crowd outside, according to a nearby security guard.
The violent scenes came amid tit-for-tat moves in a feud over the Senkaku Islands, which are held by Japan but are also claimed by China. Japan arrested then deported 14 activists and journalists from Hong Kong as some landed there Aug. 15. Japanese nationalists repeated the stunt on Aug. 19, but were turned back by Japan Coast Guard officials.
In Guangzhou, Guangdong province, up to 800 protesters rallied outside the Japanese Consulate. They demanded the return of the Senkakus, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands, and called for a boycott of Japanese products.
More than 300 security officers were present. One tried to dissuade a protester from making a speech.
"Please don't give us trouble," the officer was heard saying.
A crowd of 50 or so protesters rallied outside the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai, where protesters sang the national anthem and burned a makeshift Hinomaru.
In Chengdu, Sichuan province, Japanese retailers including Isetan, Ito-Yokado Co. and Fast Retailing Co. shut their doors temporarily as thousands of protesters gathered in central Hongxiang Road Square.
Demonstrators tried to distribute flags and leaflets urging Chinese investment in the Senkakus. But police seized the fliers.
Security officers had braced for the rally, deploying in advance. Buses holding about 500 officers were seen waiting nearby overnight. When the protest began, they blocked roads leading to the square, to prevent the crowd from growing.
One senior commander was seen trying to dissuade a protester.
"You have already expressed your feelings. Why don't you call it a day?" he said.
In Beijing, more than 100 police officers disrupted a protest in front of the Japanese Embassy.
Large-scale anti-Japan protests were last seen in 2010, after a Chinese trawler collided with Japan Coast Guard vessels off the Senkakus. The captain was arrested.
The latest demonstrations had less violence, but were more widespread, with some cities seeing protests for the first time.
Protesters damaged Japanese restaurants and the nation's consulate in Shanghai in violent anti-Japan demonstrations in 2005.
Police commanders planned to deploy up to 30 percent more officers this time, in an effort to more firmly control the protests, a police source told The Asahi Shimbun on Aug. 17. Authorities removed Internet images and postings about the protests.
The government is worried that rallies might undermine social stability ahead of a Communist Party leadership change this autumn.
At the same time, China's government cannot be seen as weak-kneed against Japan.
Postings by Chinese Internet users have attacked Beijing for doing little after Japanese nationalists landed on the Senkakus. One poster demanded the arrest of those who invade Chinese territory.
"We will have no choice but to be tough," said a source at a Chinese-government affiliated think tank.
(This article was compiled from reports by Kentaro Koyama, Koichiro Ishida, Kenji Minemura and other correspondents in China.)
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