Skip to main content

China calls for "rational patriotism" amid anti-Japanese violence

By Alexis Lai, CNN
September 17, 2012 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Chinese demonstrators protest on the streets in Zhengzhou, Henan province, on September 18, carrying on anti-Japanese rallies from the weekend. Chinese demonstrators protest on the streets in Zhengzhou, Henan province, on September 18, carrying on anti-Japanese rallies from the weekend.
HIDE CAPTION
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
Anti-Japan protests sweep China
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State media condemned weekend's violent anti-Japanese protests in China over island ownership dispute
  • State media praised weekend's "expression of patriotism" but called for "rational patriotism"
  • Protesters had smashed, looted Japanese businesses, cars, and attacked Japanese nationals in China
  • Protests were latest twist in ongoing dispute over control of group of islands in East China Sea

(CNN) -- As anti-Japanese protests roiled dozens of cities across China over the weekend, Chinese state media has stepped up to condemn the violence, calling instead for "rational patriotism" to address the intensifying dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

While some protests were orderly, others spawned looting and vandalism of Japanese businesses and Japanese-made cars, as well as attacks with eggs and plastic bottles on the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

Panasonic closes China plants after violent protests

While acknowledging that the "expression of patriotism" over the weekend was a "reasonable move and natural reaction toward the provocation from the Japanese side," an editorial in the state-run Xinhua news agency cautioned on Monday that "the Chinese people should be rational and obey the law when expressing patriotic feelings, and they should abstain from 'smashing and looting.'"

Tensions rise between Japan and China
Tensions rise over Asian islands
Why is Japan feuding over islands?
Disputed islands in East China Sea

"Wisdom is needed in the expression of patriotism," it added, which "should not come at the cost of disrupting domestic social order."

Similarly, a front-page article entitled, "Use Civilization and the Rule of Law to Consolidate Patriotic Force" in the Communist Party mouthpiece, People's Daily, praised the weekend's "patriotism" as "precious" and needing to be adequately cherished and protected."

"But being civilized, law-abiding is a basic quality of citizens. Damaging fellow citizens' legal property and taking out anger on Japanese nationals in China is extremely inappropriate," it admonished.

"In the age of globalization, we should let the world see a China that is peacefully developing, whose government is making progress and whose people are improving their qualities." People's Daily went on to conclude that patriotism needed to be expressed in a "reasonable and orderly way."

Background: How remote rock split China, Japan

Chinese citizens, media, and the government also chimed in on the popular Sina Weibo microblogging website, where the "patriotic protests" have been the top trending topic.

User XiaoGuNaiNai opined: "Chinese people are too irrational, looting everywhere in the name of patriotism. In the end, don't we have to clean it all up ourselves, allowing the Japanese to laugh at us? If you have problems, take them to Japan. Smashing, burning, and destroying our surroundings only hurts the Chinese people!"

"The Sino-Japanese economic war has already officially begun. I hope it won't end in a situation where everyone loses," posted Wang Fuzhong, a popular economics scholar at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

The Southern People Weekly magazine also cautioned: "Vandalism in the name of patriotism is a felony," adding that destroying property and infringing on the rights of others did not make for a "civil and lawful society."

Guangzhou city police posted a call on its official Weibo account for netizens to photograph vandals and submit their photos to police for a reward.

The protests were triggered by the Japanese government's announcement last week that it had purchased several of the disputed islands from a Japanese family to bring them under public ownership.

The move was the latest flashpoint in a long-simmering dispute over control of the uninhabited islands, which are known in China as the Diaoyu Islands, and in Japan as the Senkaku Islands.

Interactive map: Who claims what?

Sacha Ghalili and Qixin Wang contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Asia's disputed islands
December 8, 2013 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
South Korea has expanded its air defense zone to include an area claimed by Beijing and Seoul.
December 1, 2013 -- Updated 0103 GMT (0903 HKT)
Three major U.S. airlines comply with China's demands to be notified of plans to traverse the air defense zone over the East China Sea.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 0521 GMT (1321 HKT)
President Xi Jinping has reshaped China's foreign policy by recalibrating its stresses on sovereignty and stability, writes Shen Dingli.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 0412 GMT (1212 HKT)
Two U.S. military aircraft flew into China's new air defense zone, an action that could inflame power tensions, a U.S. official said.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 0715 GMT (1515 HKT)
Tensions magnified among the world's top three economies over China's controversial new air defense zone.
CNN looks at the main flashpoints as tension simmers between rival countries over a series of scattered and relatively barren islands.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
CNN's David McKenzie reports from Beijing on why the Chinese claim sovereignty over an area in the East China Sea.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
Surprise, surprise, Japan and China are still not getting along, writes Jeff Kingston of Temple University in Japan.
October 25, 2013 -- Updated 0935 GMT (1735 HKT)
Japan is using YouTube to bolster assertions of ownership over islands also claimed by neighboring China and South Korea.
August 6, 2013 -- Updated 0100 GMT (0900 HKT)
Players join the ranks of the country's military to take on the enemy in China's first online game co-developed by the People's Liberation Army.
April 24, 2013 -- Updated 1016 GMT (1816 HKT)
The fragile relationship between China and Japan came under fresh strain as ships from both sides crowded around the disputed islands.
April 8, 2013 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
Sightseeing cruises soon to set sail to China's newest city, Sansha, located on a disputed island in the South China Sea, a Chinese official said.
America's power and purpose are in jeopardy if the world's three largest economies cannot step back from the brink, writes Patrick Cronin.
November 15, 2012 -- Updated 0854 GMT (1654 HKT)
China uses perceived provocations as a chance to change the status-quo in its favor, writes Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt.
ADVERTISEMENT