- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 16, 2005

SHANGHAI — About 20,000 anti-Japanese protesters — some shouting “kill the Japanese” — rampaged through Shanghai yesterday, stoning the Japanese Consulate and smashing cars and shops in protest over Tokyo’s bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat and perceived whitewashing of wartime atrocities.

Thousands of police watched the rioting, but did little to restrain the crowd, and Japan filed an official protest, complaining that Chinese authorities failed to stop anti-Japanese violence for a third weekend in a row.

Japan’s embassy said two Japanese were injured after being surrounded by a group of Chinese, Kyodo News agency reported. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry denounced the protesters’ “destructive and violent actions” and said it had “strongly protested” to the Chinese government.

“Even though information was available beforehand to infer that there would be a demonstration, nothing was done to prevent it,” the ministry said.

The Shanghai government, however, blamed Japan, saying the protest was prompted by “Japan’s wrong attitudes and actions on a series of issues, such as its history of aggression,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted government spokeswoman Jiao Yang as saying.

Thousands of people also participated in peaceful protest marches in Hangzhou and Tianjin, defying government demands for restraint. In Beijing, hundreds of police blanketed Tiananmen Square in the center of the Chinese capital to block a planned protest.

State television did not mention the Shanghai protests in its main evening news report, apparently reflecting fears by communist leaders that they could further damage already sour relations with Tokyo.

Yesterday’s anti-Japanese march was the first in China’s commercial capital.

Police in riot helmets kept protesters away from the Japanese Consulate building, but let protesters throw eggs and rocks. A group of young men broke the windows of a Nissan sedan and flipped it over, while protesters shattered the windows of at least two other Japanese cars.

Protesters smashed windows at more than a dozen Japanese-style noodle shops and bars, many of them Chinese-owned.

Last week, protesters smashed windows at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and marched in other Chinese cities. The violence prompted several Japanese companies — including Mazda Motor Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Toshiba Corp. — to cancel business trips to China, while others told employees in China to take safety precautions.

Some have suggested that Beijing has permitted recent protests to support a campaign against Tokyo’s bid for a permanent Security Council seat.

Tensions between the regional rivals also have been heightened by disagreements over gas resources in disputed seas and new Japanese textbooks that critics say gloss over Japan’s wartime offenses. Many Chinese believe Japan has never truly shown remorse for atrocities committed during its pre-World War II invasion of China.

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