Beijing public security authorities on Sept. 19 prohibited anti-Japanese demonstrations over the disputed Senkaku Islands in front of the Japanese Embassy in the Chinese capital.
Now that the anniversary of the Sept. 18, 1931, Liutiaohu Incident--which directly preceded Japan’s invasion and occupation of Manchuria--is over, the prohibition is seen as part of the central government’s move to draw the curtain on anti-Japan demonstrations that have been held for more than a week in front of the embassy.
The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau notified citizens in a cellphone message, which read, “Protests have already come to a halt. (From now on), we ask you to express your patriotism in a rational and orderly fashion and refrain from marching around the Japanese Embassy in protest.”
Although the wording of the message may seem soft, it showed the city government’s determination not to allow, in principle, demonstrations in front of the Japanese Embassy.
“Sept. 18 has passed," a public security official in Beijing told The Asahi Shimbun on Sept. 19. "We do not support demonstrations in front of the embassy.”
However, when asked if the city plans to completely contain demonstrations, the official said, “We will have to wait and see the actual situation.”
On Sept. 19, the road in front of the Japanese Embassy was open to traffic for the first time in five days.
As of 11 a.m. that day, no large crowds of protesters were seen. But police drove away some citizens who individually raised their voices in protest.
Elsewhere Sept. 19, in Shenyang, Liaoning province, thousands of armed police tried to contain protesters who surrounded the Japanese Consulate General. The number of armed police was larger than a day earlier when large-scale demonstrations were held in the city on the 81st anniversary of the Liutiaohu Incident. Many windows of the consulate general were broken that day.
The central government appears set to suppress demonstrators, some of whom have turned violent during protests the past week. Instead, it is expected to strengthen government-led countermeasures against Japan, such as sending surveillance ships to the waters around the Senkaku Islands.
(This article was written by Nozomu Hayashi in Beijing and Koichiro Ishida in Shenyang.)
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