It has been widely reported that anti-Japanese protests broke out in Chengdu, Xi’an, and Zhengzhou on the 16th. Kyodo reported that in Chengdu, a crowd of several thousand young people chanting “Long live China” and “Boycott Japanese goods” and singing the Chinese anthem smashed the windows of Ito Yokado and Isetan, two Japanese department stores. (Isetan’s windows were also smashed during the previous protests in 2005.) In Xi’an, a crowd of 7,000 attacked a Japanese sports-goods store. Photos from Xi’an, including young people holding a banner that reads “China’s Greatest Endeavour Must Be To Eradicate Japan,” can be seen here.
The demonstrations were seen as a response to protests in front of the Chinese embassy in Tokyo against China’s handling of the incident in which a fishing boat captain rammed a Japanese ship near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Bloomberg reported that a Japanese court released the captain after “China detained four Japanese employees of the construction company Fujita Corp. on Sept. 20 for allegedly videotaping military targets.” Japan’s former air force chief Toshio Tamogami led the procession to the Chinese embassy, Bloomberg said; some of the protesters pledged to boycott Chinese goods.
It is interesting that the Chinese demonstrations took place the same day as those in Tokyo, suggesting that the organisers had been preparing in advance. It is also interesting that Xinhua reported the incidents, unlike in 2005.
The protests have continued. According to a report by Japan’s ANN television, on 24 October in Baoji, Shanxi, demonstrators displayed, in addition, to anti-Japanese slogans, banners demanding lower housing prices and a multi-party system. Clips of the report can be seen here.