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UPDATE: As Violent Anti-Japan Protests Spread Across China, 1,000 Fishing Boats Headed To Disputed Islands



Around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats are expected to arrive in waters near the Senkaku Islands claimed by China later Monday, reports Kyodo news, in what may be Beijing's additional countermeasures over Japan's nationalization of the islets.

According to Kyodo, the 1,000 boats, which come from coastal provinces such as Zhejiang and Fujian may be joined by six Chinese surveillance ships that have been staying in nearby waters since intruding into Japanese territorial waters near the islands Friday.

If a large number of Chinese vessels intrude into Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, says Kyodo, it could trigger unexpected incidents such as clashes with Japan Coast Guard patrol ships, further escalating tensions between the two countries.

Chinese demonstrators rallied in front of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing for the seventh straight day on Monday, reports the NHK.

Chinese protests grew Sunday against Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, with rallies counted in at least 85 cities and spotty reports of continuing violence and property damage.

Aside from Beijing and Shanghai, the rallies spread to other major cities. The NHK reported rallies drew over 10,000 people in Guangzhou, where thousands of demonstrators, some holding flags and pictures of Chairman Mao Zedong, stormed the Japanese Consulate General compound, attacked a nearby sushi restaurant and destroyed Japanese-made vehicles parked on the street.

The Communist Party is believed to have been encouraging the protests with inflammatory media coverage of the islands dispute and laissez-faire policing that cleared a route for the demonstrators and allowed them to bring in boxes of eggs and other projectiles, reports Canada's Globe and Mail. “It’s all staged. Only the Japanese could help us to have such a demonstration,” dissident artist Ai Weiwei told The Globe and Mail while wandering past Sunday’s protest in Beijing. “We haven’t had such street protests for decades. The Japanese are helping us get back our rights.”

In Shenzhen, said Kyodo, about 10,000 people clashed with riot police as they forced their way toward a department store. Police fired tear gas at the crowd, which chanted slogans such as “patriotism is not a crime.”

Many Japanese companies have suspended operations in China for a few days following reports of damage to production lines of Japanese manufacturers and expectations of further anti-Japan protests, said the Asahi Shimbun.

Japanese electronics maker Canon decided to shut down its three main plants in China. The Japanese School in Beijing, which has about 640 students, has also cancelled classes for the next few days.

Panasonic also suspended operations in China after two attacks on its factories during anti-Japan protests, reports Hong Kong’s Standard. The newspaper says the violent protests could cause more damage to Japanese carmakers operating in China than last year’s earthquake and tsunami. Many Japanese car dealers have shut after outlets were attacked and vandalized over the weekend.

In Shanghai, which has the largest community of Japanese nationals in the country, says the Daily Yomiuri, many Japan-affiliated companies near the Japanese Consulate General told employees not to work overtime and go home early.

The Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Saturday issued a warning to Japanese residents in China, which specified the following:

-- Avoid the vicinity of the Japanese Embassy because it is a target of anti-Japan demonstrations.

-- Avoid going out alone at night and refrain from speaking loudly in Japanese, even during the day.

-- Avoid entering taxis alone.

In Shanghai, most of the Japanese-style restaurants, laundries and supermarkets in the foreigner-populated downtown area have been closed since Saturday, when the protests started, and some have covered their signs that have Japanese characters with plastic sheeting, reports the China Daily.

The state-owned newspaper published an editorial entitled “Japan will reap what it sows,” saying that China is no longer the weak country it was when Japan invaded its Asian neighbors during the previous century, and that it reserves all rights to take whatever action necessary to defend its sovereignty on this issue.

Coincidently, the 81st anniversary of northeast China’s invasion by Japan is September 18, writes Xinhua, who says the brutal invasion plunged China into an unprecedented disaster, in which half of its territory was engulfed in war and 35 million soldiers and civilians were killed. Today, the Chinese people cannot reverse time, says Xinhua, but they feel responsible for preventing history from repeating itself.

When China and Japan signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, they resolved to settle all their disputes by peaceful means, said the China Daily. Yet with its continual provocations, Japan seems intent on initiating a clash between the two countries.

Since the Japanese government started implementing its "nationalization" plan for the Diaoyu Islands, wrote the state-owned newspaper, it has closed the door on a diplomatic resolution to the dispute.

"China has stressed time and time again that it will never back down on issues of sovereignty.

We hope that these words will be heeded and the Japanese government opens the door to permit a peaceful resolution."

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