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Chinese protesters attack Japanese embassy in Beijing over island dispute (PHOTOS)

Published time: September 15, 2012 07:58
Edited time: September 15, 2012 14:05
A demonstrator throws an egg at the Japanese embassy during a protest in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)

A demonstrator throws an egg at the Japanese embassy during a protest in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)

Thousands of protesters massed at the Japanese embassy in Beijing on Saturday, hurling rocks and bottles at the building and burning Japanese flags. The demonstrators demanded that Japan drop its claim to disputed islands in the South China Sea.

­The dispute worsened earlier this week when Japan announced plans to purchase the islands from their private owners. Japan will buy three of the uninhabited islands from a Japanese family it recognizes as the land's rightful owner,  Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

China does not recognize Japan's claim to the isles, known to the Japanese and Senkaku and as Diaoyu to the Chinese. Taiwan has also claimed ownership of the territory.

A protester uses a megaphone to shout slogans during a protest outside the Japanese embassy (in the background) in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
A protester uses a megaphone to shout slogans during a protest outside the Japanese embassy (in the background) in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)

­The sale is worth a reported 2.05 billion yen ($26 million US). The Japanese Coast Guard will maintain administrative control over the archipelago, which is located amid an important shipping lane and is believed to be sitting on deposits of valuable resources.

China responded to Japan's announcement by claiming that it will “never yield an inch” of the islands.

Demonstrators hold Chinese flags and banners beside an overturned car of a Japanese brand during a protest in Xi′an (Reuters /R ooney Chen)
Demonstrators hold Chinese flags and banners beside an overturned car of a Japanese brand during a protest in Xi'an (Reuters /R ooney Chen)

­During the Saturday rally in Beijing, one of the protesters held up a sign with the provocative slogan, "For the respect of the motherland, we must go to war with Japan," Reuters reported.

Riot police attempted to use shield and batons to push back the crowd as they waved flags and chanted slogans.

Japan's foreign minister was reportedly forced to cut short his visit to Australia and head back to Tokyo to resolve the situation.

Protests were reported in at least a dozen other Chinese cities, with scattered reports of violence. Hundreds of police were deployed during a demonstration at Shanghai's Japanese consulate. Larrge anti-Japan protests were held in China’s Xian, Suzhou, Changsha and Nanjing provinces, Japanese media reported.

Tensions between the two countries intensified on Friday when six Chinese ships entered Japanese waters near the disputed islets, ignoring the Japanese Coast Guard's orders to leave.

For the past week, sporadic protests took place across China, and overseas. Some 200 members of Greece's Chinese community gathered outside the Japanese embassy on Friday raising banners and placards in Chinese, English and Greek saying, "Chinese expats in Greece firmly oppose Japanese occupation to Chinese territory Diaoyu Islands." The rally ended peacefully.

A demonstrator holding a poster of China′s late Chairman Mao Zedong yells slogans during a protest against Japan′s purchase of the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
A demonstrator holding a poster of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong yells slogans during a protest against Japan's purchase of the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
Security officers reinforce barriers as people attend an anti-Japanese protest outside the Japanese embassy over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
Security officers reinforce barriers as people attend an anti-Japanese protest outside the Japanese embassy over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
Protesters burn Japanese flags during a protest against Japan′s purchase of the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
Protesters burn Japanese flags during a protest against Japan's purchase of the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
Demonstrators climb into the police lines during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
Demonstrators climb into the police lines during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
A protester uses megaphone to shout slogans during a protest outside the Japanese embassy (in the background) in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
A protester uses megaphone to shout slogans during a protest outside the Japanese embassy (in the background) in Beijing September 15, 2012 (Reuters / Jason Lee)
Demonstrators climb into the police lines during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
Demonstrators climb into the police lines during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
A man tries to climb over police lines during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
A man tries to climb over police lines during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japanese, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on September 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)

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