Anti-Japan Demonstration Ignites Chengdu (photos + video)

10/18/2010 update: Four Youtube clips which I recorded at the demonstration have been added to the bottom of this post. Scroll down to check them out. They include fighting, setting things on fire and an interview with a demonstrator.

The international stand-off between China and Japan over the Diaoyutai or Senkaku Islands was supposedly over once the Japanese returned the captain of the ship that had allegedly rammed two Japanese destroyers near the disputed island chain, but a series of protests in Tokyo and across China demonstrate the passion that consumes both nations whenever they are involved in a conflict. Following Japanese protests that took place yesterday morning, Chinese netizens organized three major protests, in Xi’an, Zhengzhou in Henan Province and Chengdu, that saw many thousands of people — 35,000 estimated in Chengdu — march through the center of town chanting anti-Japan slogans, waving Chinese flags, struggling with police and throwing stones and bottles. According to the New York Times, China is still blocking exports of rare earth materials to Japan, materials needed for electronics and after these protests, the conflict which had simmered down is set to explode again.

Chengdu anti-Japan protest flyer
A flyer promoting the demonstration, including starting location, marching route and slogans

Over the course of an otherwise ordinary Saturday afternoon, tens of thousands of irate citizens gathered in downtown Chengdu to protest Japans claim to the Diaoyu islands. This is the small island chain between China and Japan that have been hotly contested since Japan seized a Chinese fishing vessel in the area just six weeks ago. But Chengdu’s anti-Japan protest didn’t seem to be only about this single issue; the ideological and nationalist rift that separates the two Asian giants runs tragically deep.

I didn’t have too much of an idea of what to expect since I didn’t attend the last rally directed towards China’s mortal rival: but this one was raw, gritty and highly emotional. Fortunately I caught some smiles and friendly faces in between finding myself amidst a sea of Chinese people and under the harsh gaze of hundreds of riot police. These are the photos which tell the story as I saw it.

Note – I recorded several video clips which are quite crazy. When they’re online, I’ll amend this post to include them as they add depth and detail to the story that the photos tell.

Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Looking down at the mouth of Chengdu's main shopping district: Chunxi Lu
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Within moments of arriving at Chunxi Lu I see a large crowd and walk with them

Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Flags wave as the crowd grows in size
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
"Never forget the shame on your nation. Restore the Chinese name"
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Signs litter the crowd as a megaphone blares and the crowd recites mantras
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
A protester writes "Japan" with strips of newspaper and lights it on fire. I recorded this on video.
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
"The bomb aimed at China tomorrow was supported by you"
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Amidst the fevered crowd there were some friendly smiles

Chengdu anti-Japan protest

Chengdu anti-Japan protest
A sign details which Japanese brands a responsible Chinese citizen should avoid
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Approaching Ito Yokado, the massive Japanese department store in Chunxi Lu
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Police scuffle with demonstrators. I recorded video of a fight that occurred directly in front of me.
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Hundreds of police cordoned off the area around Ito Yokado
Chengdu anti-Japan protest
Thousands target the Japanese department store
Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
Hundreds of police offers stand in a line to manage the crowd

Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16

Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
A young man shouts slogans at the crowd which repeats them in chorus

Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16

Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
"Show love for China, boycott Japan"
Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
Trash covers the area in front of Ito Yokado as people inside the store observe the crowds
Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
A second-floor window was broken and a demonstrator emerged, clutching a Chinese flag

Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16

Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
After affixing the flag, a "thumbs up" emerges and the crowd erupts with cheers
Chengdu anti-Japan protest 10/16
Police patrolled the area in vast numbers

Youtube Clips of the Demonstration

Note: if you’re in the mainland, these will require a VPN to view

Zhang Yushi, Sascha Matuszak and Reed Riggs contributed to this post.

What do you think of the protest in Chengdu? Will it achieve anything or is this a political spat that will go nowhere?

138 thoughts on “Anti-Japan Demonstration Ignites Chengdu (photos + video)”

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  2. A political spat that will most likely go nowhere except to cause greater animosity between the Japanese and Chinese that are already living (or trying to) in harmony in Chengdu. It’s good for students to get together and demonstrate (it looks like the participants were primarily students?) but when it gets destructive and volatile, that’s when it’s gone too far. I taught a student once (Chengdu circa 2002), he was maybe 15 years old, that told me he hated the Japanese. I asked him why and after waiting for a few moments pondering an answer, he said “because my grandfather does.”
    I wonder how many of the demonstrators were in Ito Yokado the day before buying their favorite Japanese treats.

    • This definitely wasn’t a crowd of only students, but I hear what you’re saying. Most of the people that I talked to were upfront in acknowledging that this event won’t change anything or catalyze progress. Seems like it’s just a way to signal their discontent with Japan and let some steam out.

      I was in Uniqlo the day before the protest (it’s a 2-minute walk from Ito Yokado) and it was filled with Chinese people. I’m pretty sure next weekend it’ll be the same way.

    • they just wanna say something. In the PRC,It is really hard to speak our real mind because of the existence of CP. The country people live in is just like the Qing Dynasty. I mean we like China, but we do not like Communist Party. The things they are doing is just like what Chiang Kai-shek did, even worse and prudent. I am a graduate, and now I just get 2500 RMB paid a month now. It is much higher than other graduate get. You know what i means? In China now, it means No house in city, no car in city, and then it mean no Wife…….Fucking PRC.

      • what a loser! i’m graduate also and i earn more than 5K a month after tax in chengdu,and most of my classmates also. if you don’t work hard, you get low salary everywhere around the world.if you go to USA and witness the high unemployment,you would feel lucky to have a job. so move your ass and work instead of complaining about CCP!

      • when you express yourself, please don’t use “we”, bcoz it’s not “our” opinion. i’m not a party member but i have to say the Chinese gov has been doing a very good job for the recent few years. After living in different countries, i think China is way much better than lots of western countries.

        oh,don’t blame the gov bcoz you haven’t get a wife yet 🙂

    • As an ABC I understand to some extent the anger these people feel. Regarding Kristen’s post, I was pretty much in the same situation when I was younger (~kindergarten & first grade). I hated Japanese people because my grandmother hated them and told me how evil they were. This point of view gradually changed as I grew up, but, as I learned more about World War II and became aware of exactly why my grandmother hated the Japanese so much, a new resentment has taken its place. I don’t hate Japan, or the Japanese, but I do feel anger over the war crimes the older generation of Japanese committed in China during World War II. And this isn’t simply a Chinese legacy, many of my Korean friends feel the same way. So I’m disappointed that you paint the 15 year old boy as an example of ignorance. It’s true, at 15, he should be more aware of why he was told to hate the Japanese, but you also need to take into account how legitimate the grievances his grandparents have against the Japanese are. This isn’t something that has faded into the distant past – many of the people who lived in China during the Japanese invasion are still alive today – like the Holocaust for the Jewish people, the scars from the Japanese war crimes during WWII are still very present for Chinese people and their descendants. So it’s understandable that once the slightest conflict sparks between the two nations, Chinese people will take to the streets protesting Japan. Every conflict, whether China is at fault or Japan is at fault, will remind China of this recent past (entire villages wiped out because of poisoned wells, unborn infants cut from their mothers’ wombs, young girls dragged away as comfort women) and reignite the anger that still smolders in our memories

        • Like I said, I don’t hate the Japanese, and I don’t think many Chinese really “hate” them. But the anger’s still there. And the 1940s isn’t that long ago – those are my grandparents (and I’m still a college student). I also don’t blame the Japanese of my generation for what their grandparents did. But I want Japan, as a nation, to take responsibility for what it has done in the past. And this sentiment is what is shared by many Chinese and Korean descendants today. Maybe you can’t understand the anger that the descendants of the people the Japanese committed war crimes against feel, but, I’m sorry, you’re also in no position to judge us.

  3. What is this protest supposed to achieve? (By the way; I pretty sure I visited this area of town when i was in Chengdu…The photos bring back memories:)

    • Hi Josh,

      It’s not supposed to achieve anything except send a big “We don’t like you” message to Japan (in response to their “The islands are ours” message to China).

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  6. Great shots! We were around the corner near Starbucks so mine are from a little farther away. We did see a man who apparently was hit in the head with something, he had his head all wrapped in bandages and was talking to police.

    The news is reporting damage at Isetan, that must have happened after we left, no one was paying any attention to Isetan when we were there.

    To get a really good “feel” for the animosity between Japan and China, you should visit the Jianchuan Museum cluster if you haven’t already.

    • Hi Sara!

      Actually, strangely, the police were really fucking with people. A scuffle happened right in front of me wherein a guy got grabbed and roughed up by 6+ police offers wearing all black SWAT clothes – his girlfriend protested – and then she gets grabbed, all the while yelling and screaming. I got this part on video and it’s uploading to Youtube now.

      I haven’t been to the Jianchuan Museum cluster but it sounds worth checking out. Thanks for the heads up-

  7. This is the fourth time in two years that the “If you don’t agree with us we will damage your property” incident has occurred. French stores in 2008, then a few weeks ago the expulsion of Norwegian diplomats and the severing of trade ties with Norway when they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident, the anti-Philippine demonstrations in Hong Kong and now another round of Japanese tit-for-tat.

    I wonder which country is next? America when the dollar devalues and the Chinese government looses billions on the treasury bonds that they hold.

    In short, don’t invest in China, go to another country where the behavior is more in line with the 21st century. Money talks.

    • Yeah, it’s hard for me to figure out where the government officially stands on this. On one hand, they invite the protest, knowing that it will result in the destruction of Japanese businesses in Chengdu (a cursory glance at the flyer posted above gives you an idea of the mood going into the event). And on the other, they “protect” these Japanese enterprises and discourage violence.

      So hundreds of police officers are positioned outside of Ito Yokado yet somehow, protestors manage to breach this wall of authority figures and get inside. Bust a window, and hang a flag out, to the thundering applause of thousands on the street. The government is really playing both sides here.

      • That’s exactly where they want to be mate!

        They don’t condone the protests but they don’t restrict them completely. So the crowd are happy they can voice their opinion (for once). At the same time they put up a just adequate defence of the building to show that they tried. A couple get through…of course. They get ruffed up in public, taken down town given a shot of baijiu and slap on the back and sent out again. The govt. keeps both sides “happy”.

        It might be Ito Yokado in name, but that building is owned by some Chinese construction tycoon who doesn’t want his property damaged. IY just rent the space. So the police are there to cover that and as I said show they are at least trying to do the right thing…

    • “If you don’t agree with us we will damage your property”. it’s better than the US “if you don’t listen to us, we will kill you”, isn’t it” haha

  8. I wonder if these idiots realise that in their simplistic, violent demonstrations to “restore the name of China” (or whatever), they do infinitely more damage to China’s reputation than anything Japan did. I support the right to protest, but these ignorant, easily manipulated peasants are just making fools of themselves and their country.

    No-one else in the world cares about this ludicrous dispute about a bunch of useless rocks. I wish someone would just blow the rocks up, as obviously neither of the kids fighting over the toy deserves to have it.

    Freud wasn’t talking about China, Japan and Korea when he coined the term “the narcissism of small differences” but boy does it apply. I can’t stand these petty little east asian disputes about the most insignificant things. It’s like a girl with low self confidence, constantly finding fault with others to make herself feel better in a twisted sort of way. It’s just pathetic, and tiring, and boring, and I wish they’d just stop.

    • idiot?
      Is Idiot your name?
      if not, do not use randomly…

      What you have said shows nothing but you naive westerners are worried about the Great Rise of China again…is it? if not, how could you just blame what the Chinese students did but choose to turn a blind eye to what dirty Japs had done recently.

      Reputation? Shame on you…the time when your ancestors invaded China, you took our generosity for granted, then you grabbed our land, our labor, our antiques…do you have reputation? when it’s time for you to admit your sin and make apology, what did you do? I wonder what on earth qualified you to talk about Reputation with us…

      Again, to talk about Reputation with Japanese? How I hated Japs did not succeed in taking your land, making your arrogant fool slaves… do you know history? I forgive your innocent, but could you please be fair on this matter…listen to me, read some history will not do harm to you…if you don’t, then just shut your fuck up…

      • If one wants to understand atrocities against the Chinese people, one should really read the history of Chairman Mao and the CCP.

      • You see the above two posts from James and K-J just prove the point that people will never get along because they spend all their time generalizing our species into categories. “Easily manipulated peasants”, “naive westerners”.

        This whole concept comes about from the east asian theory of “us & them”. That is “us & foreigners” which covers everyone outside of the borders of whichever east asian country you hail from. Europeans living within those countries take on this style to easily assimilate.

        If people were “worried” about the Great Rise of China, would they still be buying stuff from there. Would they be investing billions in the domestic Chinese economy to encourage its growth? Come on don’t be so defensive.

        Japs taking your land? Those islands (just for the record) have been uninhabited since they were discovered. If no one has ever lived there then who do they belong to? You because you just feel like it, or the Japanese because they just feel like it? To be fair…at least the Japanese actually went there and did some surveying. Furthermore, it’s not until oil and gas deposits were found (circa. 1970) that both Taiwan and PRC actually made a claim on them. Funny that eh?

        @K-J: before you go crazy to this response, read further down and notice my comments about James’ post. There’s no taking of sides here, both of you need to be a little more objective in your thinking.

    • The dispute over the islands is really the tip of the iceberg as far as animosity towards Japan goes. I saw a lot of signs about Nanjing and subjects totally unrelated to the islands (but all about Japan) at the protest. I don’t get the feeling that Chinese people care how others judge them on their outspoken distaste for all things Japanese. This hatred runs so deep that it comes from an emotional place.

    • Read deeper James.

      The islands have huge oil and gas fields within their jurisdiction. Why do you think both sides are clamouring over them?

      As for the freud stuff, bro when you look at an east asian country through western glasses you see a crazy fucked up place. The same is true the other way around.

      At the same time, the Japanese thing…come on it’s govt. sponsored. You know Karl Schmmit’s Neoconservatism theory? For a society to function cohesively it must have a common enemy. Watch Chinese TV for a day and see how many TV series about the Japanese invasion there are! In the mainland (state-written) education sector, history begins not at 1949 but at the time a decade or two before with the Japanese invasion.

      How to manipulate the “peasants”??? Watch Zeitgeist the Movie (1 not 2), and when you’re feeling empowered by it, go blog about it on WordPress or tweet it using your shiny new Ipad…

    • when someone doesn’t know anything and just emerges to judge,and call other ppl “idiots, ignorant, peasants”. He himself is an idiot, stupid and ignorant peasants.

    • YStop following this story if it bothers you. I think the Japanese were stupid to hold that Chinese captain which started all of this. By capturing that Chinese captain the Japanese have now opened some old wounds. The Chinese have every right to be pissed off and demonstrate how they feel about it. I am a caucasian American, born and raised in the United States and I side with my friends, the Chinese. Japan owes China a big apology.

  9. I’m tipping Ito and Isetan will be offering big discounts later this week, just as carrefore did in ’08, and in true Chinese fashion, all will be forgiven…

  10. I just can’t belive what the hell the people doing there. I hope none of kids and other innocent people were involved in this harm. I understand current situation and relationship between China and Japan that we need to take time to slove the Senkaku shoto problem but at least in a rational way.(At least I hope) This kind of violent solution or demonstrate things toward Chinese people apparently not happening here in Japan. but I What would you feel if Chinese people and store relates in Japan were under our attack.(Actually there is many chinese people living in Tokyo.) Think about it !

    • “Senkaku shoto problem”? Surely you mean the Diaoyutai Islands problem. Using the language of Japanese imperialists can only mean that you sympathize with their aims. By using the correct language to discuss the issue, you can remove all doubt that you are a biased observer.

    • They don’t care. They just need an occasion to express their discontent. Many of them are ignorant. It seems they just want to take part in something fun and exciting, taking photos of themselves in the demonstration.

    • you japs,you know what about Chinese,do you know why they are doing these? you jabs ,you nation,listen “Give a thief enough rope and he’ll hang himself.”

    • Japan is starting shit with China again.
      They invaded China many years ago and recently they held a Chinese captain of a ship for no good enough reason. Of course Japan has nothing to demonstrate about because they are the ones who keep starting shit. That’s why the Chinese are upset. I’m American and I am pissed off at the Japanese for what they are doing. Tell your president to apologize to the Chinese people for all of the present and past b.s. they have caused. They owe it to the Chinese.

  11. I was there on Saturday. There were a lot of people and a lot polices–a big deal. However, on Sunday morning local Chinese lined up outside Isetan to shop in the store again. Most of them are older women. There was an elder man. He claimed that there was no way not to shop in Japanese stores. That he did not like Japanese, but will continue to give them money. This is why Japanese look down on us, the Chinese, because we will give them money no matter what they do. We are hopeless. If we cannot unite against the Japanese when there is such a clear cause when are we going to unite against anything. Wake up China, and take pride in your heritage, your people. Stop sending Japan money or else you will never be respected by anyone–not just the Japanese!

    • “…when are we going to unite against anything…”
      LOL I love your negative attitude. Zero-sum mentality much? How about uniting with others for something? Or do you have problems perceiving as human and working with people outside Han-blood ?

  12. The Los Angeles Times noticed this article on your site and mentions it in a story of theirs in today’s paper.

    Congrats, Chengdu Living, you’ve made the Big Time.

  13. When will the Chinese learn to forgive? Their grudge against the Japanese is terribly unhealthy. Too bad that the government feeds the grudge for its own political purposes.

    • I’d guess it won’t happen for a long, long time. This sort of thing takes decades to leave the public mindset, especially when you have the leadership promoting this sort of animosity. It’s tragic.

    • forgiveness of such a big massacre deserves at least an apology William, just like how the jewish forgave the germans. Japan never apologised.
      when your family members were slaughtered for a sick “who-kill-the-most competition” of the japanese army and their blood made a river in the city,when the babies were grinded under a grindstone alive, when young girls and old women got raped then killed with no mercy, you would understand how it feels. it’s nothing about the government, it’s just a common sense and feeling as a human being.

      • Somersby, Japanese PMs and Ministers have made no fewer than 40 official apologies over the years. What more do you want?

        The CCP has done a fantastic job at keeping past Japanese offences at the forefront of the Chinese. For decades they have been operating with the view that nationalism at home safeguards their legitimacy.

        Does the Israeli government do this to Germany? Do they stoke and buttress the same kind of absurd and visceral hatred many Chinese feel toward Japan?

        The Japanese atrocities were committed by people and decision makers who are either all dead or frail and elderly. Certainly none of them are in positions of power or influence.

        Time for Chinese people to grow up and get over it.

        • Not to disagree that it serves the CCP to have these protests & anger unleashed against a foreign power. But believe me this hatred was not a product of Communist propaganda. Similar anti-Japan protests have taken place in Taiwan and Korea periodically.

          The real problem is that the Japanese gov’t continues to do/condone the following

          1. Denies the scale/extent of the Nanjing Massacre
          2. Attempts to brush off the “Comfort Women” as willing prostitutes
          3. Continues to celebrate & exalt class-A war criminals enshrined in Yasukuni Shrine
          4. Attempts to remove/down play the atrocities committed by Japan in World War 2 from Text books.

          This is just a tip of the iceberg as far as the reasons why neither the Chinese nor the Koreans are ever going to just “get over it”. The painful memories goes so much deeper than some stupid islands.

          It’s time for Japan to grow up. Accept responsibility fully and let’s now work together in sincerity to try to prevent it from ever happening again.

          The Israel comparison is entirely invalid given that Germany hadn’t tried to minimize or otherwise deny the Nazi atrocities.

          Imagine Israel’s reaction if the German Chancellor openly visits the shrine of a Nazi war criminal, or bicker over the “actual casualty” of the holocaust. This is what Japanese politicians have done, time & time again. Those “apologies” you speak of are just words, a lip service after all.

          • I think this is a reasoned response, although the government implicitly sponsoring this protest by allowing it to occur grants them some form of ownership over it. I didn’t know that anti-Japan protests were common in Taiwan, but that is an interesting and relevant point to add.

  14. I’m not taking either side, and my nationality is completely irrelevant, and until they understand the same condition,
    these servile minions will cause China to lose the world’s respect, and can they not see that they are also being used by their own government as pawns to fight a resource war for the 1% Nouveau riche? So shameful and pathetic.

    • Is Japan any better, really? Protests in Japan and retaliatory protests in three cities on the Mainland. I wasn’t at the protest in Tokyo but I suspect it was similar to this one in terms of pointing fingers at the “Lesser nation”, and so on.

      • I didn’t mention Japan because this article is not about protests in Japan, if so i would also duly criticize. Photographic evidence is revealing, but I cannot validate what you suspect. Lesser nation?

    • truth! @charlie, his point is that all of these protesters are minions.

      another interesting point is, these minions would never be allowed to protest, say, ANYTHING ELSE in number without getting beaten and imprisoned, at least in China. i am not sure if the Japanese government is as intolerant of free speech, but for sure, in China if you want to speak out against foreign devils, no problem. anything else is all bad.

  15. I was just floating this around with my main man (actually my cat) Kuma: how about before anyone can is allowed to protest about these little dots of land they must first identify them on an unlabelled map? If you care so much about them, do some homework first. Or better yet: in the words of the late, great Isaac Hayes, people who get red in the face over trivial shit like this should (and i quote)”get stoned, laid, or just the Hell away!”
    Kuma liked that one….

  16. Just a quick update – the Youtube clips to accompany this post have been uploading for over a day (they’re in 720p HD) but are nearly complete. As soon as they’re finished I’ll add them to the post – they’re worth checking out.

  17. “I could never understand ethnic or national pride. Because to me pride should be reserved for something you achieve or attain on your own. Not something that happens by accident at birth. Being Irish isn’t a skill. Its a fucking genetic accident. You wouldn’t say I’m proud to be 5’11. I’m proud to have a predisposition for colon cancer. So why the fuck would you be proud to Irish or proud to Italian, American or anything else. Well if you’re happy with that- that’s fine. Do that. Put that on your car. Happy to be an American. Be happy. Don’t be proud. Too much pride as it is. Pride goeth before our fall. ”
    – George Carlin

    • Good one, Eli.

      But this recalls me that my son has a t-shirt says ” proud of being an American”.. and it’s cute! eh..

    • This isn’t about pride =) For the Chinese, this is about the injustices committed by the Japanese against our grandparents and great-grandparents. It’s not just national, for many of us (even those of us who identify as a different nationality – I consider myself American) it’s still very painfully personal.

  18. As China is playing an untrustworthy clown role in the world, no matter what the truth is, for most of people outside China, China is always on the wrong side.

    It’s really complicated to explain why Chinese people still hate Japanese this much today. yes, the war, it was cruel, happened before our parents were born. yes, the atittude Japanese had, after they surrendered because of American’s atom bombs: no apology to Chinese like Germans did to Jews, very little war indemnity, and still pay homage to those war criminals. All these lit Chinese people’s fury. I don’t think Japan really did the right thing after war. As long as all the war-experienced grandparents are alive, the anger of Chinese to Japanese is understandable.

    But the education system is still producing new hatred, Chinese government doesn’t want their people to forget or forgive, or being a little bit more friendly to new Japanese generation, when Wen’s telling the world “we love peace”. That’s another thing. At the same time, Japanese governmernt also deleting some particular events from their high school history text book. I can only say Asian governments are perverts. Nobody knows what the hell their real aims are.

    So I mean, it’s not that you can simply say either side is right or wrong, even on this paritcular island thing. The hilarious thing is that the protesters are all about some government bs on those little rocks they may have no idea where exact it is. Even if China do get this island and being even richer for digging the oil under the island, none of those protesters can get a penny, none of those wealth will let their children have better education. You’ll never know how many new big fat rich officers will become even richer from this drilling. And probably the protesters will pay more tax for the new oil drilling pipes and eat more polluted sea food from that area.
    ps. Poor itoyokado and isetan Chinese staff.

    • @leixiaobai

      Your 3rd paragraph is right on, but don’t restrict it to Asian governments. Ask any Irishman about the Black & Tans and then ask a Brit the same question. One will tell you a lot the other will probably have no knowledge of them.

      It’s not only Asian governments who doctor their history books. Show me a national govt. that doesn’t have an agenda on propaganda and thought manipulation and I’ll come clean your toilet for a week!

      • oh it will cost you flight tickets to clean my toilet..hahaha.
        but you’re right. that’s also something I wanted to say, nobody knows the so called “truth” in the international affairs, no one can get the real history from no where. try your best you can only get closer to the real history.
        and, why history matters so much?

        • why history matters so much?


          Perhaps the question I could spend a good 10 hours talking about. But let’s keep it simple…

          History is the scapegoat for allowing governments to act in the ways that they do. Why can China claim overlordship of Tibet & Xinjiang? Because of history. Why does Japan have a claim to the “disputed islands”? Because of history.

          By history of course I mean the recording of every known fact, event, person, thought etc. from the past. It’s all about being able to stake a claim to something based on previous events or actions.

          P.S. pay for the flight and I’ll be there soon, I need a holiday. And if you’ve got kids I’m guessing you’re married. I’ve never met a married woman who doesn’t have a cleanish toilet in the west so won’t be too bad!

    • I felt bad for the staff, too. If you look closely you can see a small crowd of people inside the Ito Yokado looking out. I nudged my way through the dense crowd to the very front where there was a line of police officers and asked the one in front of me who was inside the store. He looked flustered and didn’t answer, but based on what they were wearing they looked like employees trapped inside.

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  20. Today I heard on a American-Chinese tvstation (NTDTV) that the demonstration is maybe a action of the communist party. In order to distract attention of other major issues in China. Also, they argue why this protest is not held in Beijing… Because normally something like this would. Its because there is a big conference going on in Beijing. Well, im not convinced that. But it wouldnt suprise me if such a thing was started/caused by the CP

  21. Alright, all four videos that I took at the demonstration are on Youtube. To anyone in mainland China, you’ll obviously need VPN access to view them. I’ll embed them to the end of the post above and here’s the link to the Chengdu Living page on Youtube where the clips are located:

    They’re all available in normal or HD (720p) resolution in case you want extra-crisp Chengdu demonstration clippage.

  22. Hey, I agree that this kind of protest is stupid and dangerous, but some of the posters have this attitude of “just get over it,” and I think they are forgetting that Japan brutally invaded China within living memory – that is, the guy who said he hates the Japanese because his grandfather does may not sound so dumb if you consider his grandfather might have very personal reasons for his feelings. I know older Chinese people who lost blood relatives to the Japanese, are you going to tell them to just lighten up?

    Having said that, all the fenqing lurkers should wake up to the fact that the damn islands have nothing to do with Chinese pride, and everything to do with offshore drilling. Nobody would care if there wasn’t money to be made.

    • I know people who lost blood relatives fighting the Germans at the same time, I almost lost one of mine. Do we/they hate the Germans? No, we hate the German hierarchy during the Nazi era and what they made the German people do.

      I think the major difference here is the western philosophy of forgive and forget against the eastern philosophy of “unto death”.

      I’ve been screamed at by a local about 1840 and the Opium wars because he wanted to charge me an extra kuai for buying DVDs compared to locals. Yeah it’s a kuai, but the 1840 stuff…really?

      It’s not about “lighten up” and “your feelings mean nothing”. It’s about “blame the right people…specifically”

      • Callum, what you’re also forgetting is that the Germans did do almost everything in their power to seek forgiveness for their actions during WWII (youtube video of Willy Brandt kneeling before the Holocaust memorial, anyone?) whereas most of the Japanese war criminals were never even put on trial, but lived long lives venerated as heros back in Japan. What really angers the Chinese (& the Koreans) is the unwillingness of the Japanese to make amends for their crimes and accept the extent of their ancestors’ sins.

  23. It is really sad to see people doing this although I’m a Chinese too. To be honest, most staff in the Japanese-based companies are Chinese. Those spats actually cannot break the benefits of Japanese but indeed Chinese. The government doesn’t really want to lose their tax income from the companies. The government is also afraid of losing its face in dealing with foreign issues. So they incited anger among students (mostly) and fool its people to do such stupid thing for its own selfishness.

    • Oh, for sure. It’s pretty rare to see Japanese people in places like Uniqlo or Ito Yokado, actually – the vast majority of the employees are Chinese. I agree that China doesn’t really want their Japanese business partners to go anyplace, just ruffle some feathers for a day and make the Tokyo protest look small-time.

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  25. I’m overseas Chinese, I believe the islands belong to China, but I’m not throwing a tantrum over this. Nationalism is abhorrent on every side. Especially when there’s nothing to be nationalist about. We even have people in both countries threatening children in expat schools. Has any of the FQ here ever been to Japan? Do they seem like the devil to you, just waiting to build bombs with Toyota and Nintendo’s revenue and dropping them over China? This is ridiculous. They are just like us. In fact, all the things they say about Diaoyu islands are the exact same things WE say. Like “our government isn’t strong enough” or “they’re testing our response” and other paranoid nonsense.

    Stop the hate already. They have made numerous WW2 apologies in the past.

    You can say they still visit Yasukuni or some politicians still deny things, but saying they never apologized for anything is just flat wrong. What does that have to do with this anyway? I live in Canada where there are a few island disputes, but most Canadians don’t care or even know what they are. Why are Asians so upset? The MOST important thing in East Asia is UNITY, UNITY AT ALL COSTS. Are we really going to let some rocks get in the way of this?

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  29. Once again feel this web like a spy intelligence agencies
    discuss here is like a part in the procession,
    opinions vary,
    but generally concerned the demonstrations and developments.

  30. When i think of nationalism in China i’m always reminded of 2008, after the earthquake, when the fad-sensation-fashion statement was the “I (heart) China” t-shirt. One guy (foreigner) made a mock up t-shirt: front- “I (heart) China”
    back: “But i love greencard more!”
    I showed some of my students this picture. Needless to say, they were not amused (“lighten up!” i said). My ex-girlfriend, however, thought it was hilarious…(BTW: she had studied in the States)….Shoulda bought one of those t’s…..

    • No doubt, post-earthquake and pre-Olympics conditions really created a perfect storm of nationalism. I suspect you’ll still see people rocking t-shirts from that year well into the future.

      I can’t see why your students weren’t into that shirt! It’s pretty creative.

    • I doubt it’s that easy; Japan has a very advanced military and many powerful allies. And also, wars in the modern era aren’t determined my number of soldiers as much as technology and weapons delivery systems.

      Besides, a war between Japan and China wouldn’t benefit anyone. It’d be better for us to find a way to work around our differences and improve the lives of everyone.

      • Yeah don’t forget that the US has a deal with Japan. Attack Japan and China attacks the US as well.

        If it wasn’t the case I’m sure China would have gone after Taiwan and even Japan a long time ago.

  31. Enlightening, culturally diverse, politcitally estute, worldly perspectives registering here!…

    Dudes what is the story about? What do the pictures tell us??? (which are kinda hard to dispute.. even for the China apologists here!) It is raw, unbridled, (but yet controlled) nationalionism, xenophobic, demonstrations that serve the interests of the elite (CPC -for you dumb asses that are bought into the whole HARMONIOUS SOCIETY LINE!)God i wanna puck!!!!!!!! Maybe you apologists need to go home for a stint and actually realise what a fee society is!!!! If these guys were out protesting for subsidised education, realistic house prices, an end to corruption, equality for migrants and city dwellwers, recognition for gays and lesbos, reduction in pollution levels….. DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY WOULD BE THERE IN SUCH NUMBERS????? DO YOU THINK THE AUTHORITARIAN REGIME WOULD LET IT HAPPEN???? Damn… wake up and see what is happening here… when the next NATIONALISTIC FLAG is raised it could pertain to YOUR COUNTRY… WTF will U do then?????????

  32. I would like to talk about his own views

    On the anti-Japanese demonstrations, many people think the government is secretly instigated this incident. I think it overestimated the impact of the government, but does not deny that anti-Japanese demonstrations against the restrictions relaxed.

    First of all, the friendliness of the Chinese and Japanese are different. Not only from history, in addition to political / economic aspects, the values and feelings is the most important reasons.

    Chinese people can not understand some Japanese values, and even some disgust. Values of the collision, people remember the bad things, good can easily be overlooked. Such as the geisha, female body Sheng, h comics …

    There is a large part is the shadow of war, other military threat, the national spirit of national, cultural and other aspects of the impact. which virtually allows between the two countries young people more and more hostile to each other. Such as documentaries on World War II, the military reported , the Yasukuni Shrine … the two countries people have different understanding. the movie”Grave of the Fireflies ” it seems like an alternative.

    Food, music, tea ceremony, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc., more and more exchanges between the two countries people, more and more the same personal preferences. This is also the globalization trend.

    Chinese anti-Japanese plot, but also with thier exposure to Japan and a variety of Japan factors related to change. For example, many people like Japanese animation, often eating Japanese food, also took part in the procession; For example, many people dislike the Japan, but did not participate anti-Japanese demonstrations,did not do any thing boycott Japan

    Ito Yokado,Isetan smashed, the Japanese bar smashed, but some owners are from China, those radical people should know that is fool.

    Therefore, the above analysis combined with personal behavior, we can see a lot of people spontaneously participated in anti-Japanese demonstrations, of course, who was the onlookers,who did behaving aggressively.
    “Not because someone incitement, I joined, i just want to seen.”
    “Diaoyu Islands, once again serve as a fuse .”

    Before the company worked with Japanese companies, before 15th, some Japanese people back their country, and they fear will be a war, a negative look over at the developments .
    After demonstrations, other Japanese still continue with their lives in Chengdu. In fact they are still to work as usual, go to the bar, go to the supermarket ……

    Some foreign reported that the Chinese government laissez-faire of the anti-Japanese demonstrations.
    Look at their country, demonstrations are also a frequent occurrence,airport strike march…Of course, depends on your perspective. We all know it is not just about the territorial integrity of an island.

    Yes, China have restrictions of demonstrations. after this demonstration ,may be more free. the Government always suppression measures may be change.
    Maybe the next procession is against the urban management system or what the gay marriage thing, who knows?

  33. Personally, I don’t really blame the Chinese people for taking the opportunity to publicly display their displeasure. After all, they’re only granted the opportunity once every few years.

  34. I was on Chunxi Lu at that time as well and it is the first time in 3 years that this city and it’s people disappointed me. ((Yes, i’m generalizing a bit))

    I understand ‘Protesting’ but taking it to a level where police must interfere. And destroying branch stores that give work to many Chinese families.

    And what really bothered be as well is seeing so many young students that spend their young adult lives watching, reading, listening to Japanese mangas, videos, singers >> All of a sudden discover their Nationalism and trash Japan. I feel like we just went back in time 50 years, all progress gone.

    I was really sadden by this.

    • Overall though, the protest was reasonably controlled. Despite the guy getting inside Ito Yokado and busting the window out, Chunxi Lu in general was just littered with bottles, mostly. I don’t think the damage was too bad, relatively speaking. Like I said previously though, I’ve seen riots far worse than this over pretty trivial things in the United States. At least no one got hit with tear gas this time (that I noticed!).

  35. I am really sick as a Japanese person the stupid tit for tat arguments between the two countries. I really wish my ancestors did not do the things that they did to the Chinese and many other Asian countries. But I can’t really do any more to make it better. Do I have to kill myself to make Chinese people happier?

    I believe the islands are Japanese. I would wonder why it was only after oil and gas was discovered that a pressing claim for it came out. But if people are going to act foolishly and become violent, then I would wish that these islands never existed in the first place.

    My grandfather would never tell me anything about the war when he was in the South Pacific. My mother used to tell me how he apparently killed many people and the guilt he felt for it ate him until he passed away.

    I only wish for peace and cooperation among all Chinese and Japanese and everyone else. I wish people would stop fighting over what amounts to nothing. If someone loses a life over these islands, then all value of the islands are lost.

    • I assume that you really didn’t know, instead of playing you dunno; so, let me give you one basic info about the islands. Prior to 1900s, Japan called the islands the same name Chinese has been calling it for more than 400 years, Uotsuri. Is this obvious enough? That name was officially changed to Senkaku Retto in Japan during 1950s. Hence, there’s no doubt that those islands belonged to China historically. The only problem is that the USA gave it to Japan in 1972; even though various Chinese people have been protesting about it ever since, Chinese govt didn’t give a damn about it before the oil and gas resources were discovered, and now the disputes.

  36. OOOh ooohh Charlie, Your such a wordly experienced dude… sure you have seen worse. Damn you have been in China for how long? Hmm … Gotta take your lead dude! Where else from your worldly experience can you relate this to? Some where else in Chine or another authoritarian country where you ‘might’ have first hand experience?

    • Hi Bill,

      i am not answering for Charlie and this actually has nothing to do with anything, but the only shit I’ve seen was in Hong Kong when Korean protesters fought the police and got pepper sprayed and tear gassed and then arrested. and in seattle, the cops used rubber bullets, batons and tear gas and the protest there against the WTO would have failed due to this serious violent cop action had it none been for a band of crazy black clad dudes (really) that came out of nowhere with gas masks and ran around letting people breathe and tossing the tear gas canisters back at the cops. what happened next was an outpouring of serious serious rage … that eventually dissipated because most of the protesters have running water etc.

      but this one here in chengdu is obviously some politically controlled pro-government shit and that is so different because there is no real rage here. just indignant projecting of self onto a vast state apparatus. probably totally different and alien to any real activist/protester.

  37. I am Chinese. I am upset to see this happening between China and Japan. Fighting over an island that we are frankly ignorant of will not benefit either party or anyone. What sort of benefit will we get out of this hatred? I like both Chinese and Japanese and I hope someday there will be peace between us.

  38. It’s great to see some level-headed comments in here from both Japanese and Chinese. Discussing topics like these online often results in a lot of hate and anger. I’m hopeful that China and Japan can work it out, even though it presently seems like a long shot.

  39. Damn this article hit big eh? I really wanted to report on the Xi’an riot but was a bit nervous about it. Probably should have. There were people that had their cameras taken from them as well though. Really nice shots.

    • Really, cameras taken? I spoke to some police officers there – few were willing to talk to me but none objected to me taking photos at all. I gestured to some of them before photographing them to make sure there wasn’t a problem with me snapping shots.

      Fortunately I took all of these photos with my iPhone and not my SLR – I’m sure that would have attracted much more attention.

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  41. It’s great to see some level-headed comments in here from both Japanese and Chinese. Discussing topics like these online often results in a lot of hate and anger. I’m hopeful that China and Japan can work it out, even though it presently seems like a long shot.

  42. All of those photos look like a normal Weekend in Chunxi road when they have a sale on – it was only the photo with the Chinese flags that made me notice something was different.

    Half of the people there were probably, like me, unaware that it was a protest and just thought it was the queue to get into Isetan.

    • I’m doubtful that anyone could have been there and not noticed. Aside from fires being lit in the street and hundreds of police with riot gear, there were enormous droves of protestors chanting slogans into mega phones. It wasn’t very low key.

  43. Well done China,, you are entitled to be patriotic towards your country.

    I notice nobody is saying anything about the flag waveing anti chinese denonstrations in japan.

    I have been to both countries and the chinese people are kind and friendly,
    something i never found in japan..

  44. I served in the United States Marines and was in Korea during the Korean conflict. I am well educated. I have been a successfull businessman in California. I am married to a Chinese woman and have 3 great children. I think I am a credible sourse of facts concerning the period of time featured in this artical. The facts are as follows. It is so simple that it is hard to understand why people don’t seem to understand. The fact is that Japan has never stated that they were sorry for the murder of over 1 million Chinese people including children not to mention the multitude of peoples of other countries. As a matter of fact the Japanese people still claim that the war was the fault of others. In Japan today you would be supprised at the 2nd world war history taught in their schools. Lets face it, all it would take to end all of the problems is for Japan to officially apoligise for the crimes they commited during the war. Germany did and we forgave them. I really think its the japanese attitude of supperiorty that prevents then for admitting that they were wrong. Untill they do the controversary will continue.

    • I’m a chinese expat in canada and I say who the fuck gives a shit? why doesn’t the japanese government give the baby it’s toy and just fucking apologize it ain’t gonna cost them shit just words. I say how about the chinese government stop spreading it’s racist propaganda and give a objective evidence based account of history and let the people decide what to believe? why the fuck are we fighting over stupid shit the governments did to the people? don’t you see this is just the government manipulating us so we don’t fight the real enemy? them? do you sincerely believe it was the fault of the people that those atrocities happened? if you actually research these things what you find is that many times people are forced to do these things against their will by the governments!!! and yet you will support anything those bastards do so long as they attach the japanese as a target, do you see how fucked up that is?

  45. The problem as I see it is, Japan has not changed their attitude. They really believe that they are superior to other people. I don’t see that changing in the future

    • but whose fault is that? assuming this is even true(I haven’t been to japan so I wouldn’t know). the governments or the peoples? the ones who force their versions of realities down peoples throats, or the ones just trying their best to live a decent life?

      • Agreed that the principal fault should lie with the governments. But let’s not forget that Japan is considered a democracy and its leaders are elected and should act accordingly to the will of its constituents.

        On the basis of that argument, one could conclude that Japanese governments actions are more reflective of its people than say, those of the Chinese Communist Party.

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