BEIJING--China clamped down on anti-Japanese protests at ceremonies Sept. 18 marking the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Japan's South Manchurian Railway in Liutiaohu, which triggered the Manchurian Incident.
The ceremony, in Shenyang, Liaoning province, was for the first time held jointly with the provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang, also in northeastern China.
A number of young Chinese near the ceremony venue burned a Japanese Hinomaru flag, but they were quickly hustled away by a larger than normal police presence.
Although the government of President Hu Jintao wants to take advantage of the 80th anniversary to heighten patriotism, there were also concerns that anti-Japanese protests could quickly unravel and lead to social instability if not controlled properly.
About 1,000 residents and military personnel took part in the ceremony, which was held near the site of the Liutiaohu Incident, which gave Japan the pretext to set up a puppet government in Manchuria in 1932.
To mark the incident, sirens sounded at 9:18 a.m., when the bombing occurred.
According to eyewitnesses, the flag-burning was the work of about a dozen young Chinese riding motorcycles near the ceremony site.
They also shouted insults about Japan, but were forced to disperse almost immediately.
Police blocked off key streets near the site. The police presence was double the size of average years.
Unlike in the past, no major anti-Japanese street demonstrations erupted.
In an editorial marking the 80th anniversary which ran in the Sept. 18 edition of the People's Daily, mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China, the emphasis was not on anti-Japanese views, but on what the Communist Party has accomplished.
The editorial said, "The Communist Party of China saved the nation and the people from a crisis of survival and set the course for a bright future of the great rebuilding of the Chinese people."
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