* Paramilitary police barricade Japanese embassy
* Protests reported in other Chinese cities
* Japan foreign minister cuts short Australia trip
By Sui-Lee Wee and Maxim Duncan
BEIJING, Sept 15 Thousands of Chinese besieged
the Japanese embassy in Beijing on Saturday, hurling rocks, eggs
and bottles, and protests broke out in other Chinese cities in
an angry dispute over a group of remote islands.
Paramilitary police with shields and batons barricaded the
embassy, holding back and sometimes fighting with
slogan-chanting, flag-waving protesters who at times appeared to
be trying to storm the building.
"Return our islands! Japanese devils get out!" some shouted.
One held up a sign reading: "For the respect of the motherland,
we must go to war with Japan."
Protester Liu Gang, a migrant worker from the southern
region of Guangxi, said: "We hate Japan. We've always hated
Japan. Japan invaded China and killed a lot of Chinese. We will
By early evening, police had succeeded in persuading some
people to leave. Rings of anti-riot police stood guard in front
of the embassy, apparently readying for a long night.
"I think it's time for the Chinese government to get
tougher. Look at what the ordinary people feel. The government
should respond," said a man who gave his family name as Xue.
"I don't mean war, but tougher action like sanctions. You
can see how much Japan depends on our economy. Then don't sell
them any rare earths," he said, referring to elements mined in
China which are vital to defence, electronics and
Japan said its foreign minister had cut short a visit to
Australia and flown back to Tokyo.
The long-standing territorial dispute escalated dramatically
on Friday when China sent six surveillance ships to a group of
uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, raising tension
between the two countries to its highest level since 2010.
It was responding to Japan's decision on Tuesday to buy the
islands, which Tokyo calls the Senkaku and Beijing calls the
Diaoyu, from a private Japanese owner after Chinese warnings not
Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China's bitter
memories of Japan's military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s
and present rivalry over resources - the islands are believed to
be surrounded by energy-rich waters.
Relations between the two countries, which have extensive
business and trade ties, chilled in 2010, after Japan arrested a
Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese
coastguard vessels near the islands.
China's official Xinhua news agency said big anti-Japan
protests were also held in the Chinese cities of Xian, Changsha,
Nanjing and Qingdao. Japanese media reported attacks on Japanese
restaurants and other businesses.
"Armed police and police officers have been dispatched to
protest sites to maintain order," Xinhua said.
The microblog of Communist Party mouthpiece the People's
Daily called on protesters to behave properly.
"What we should show the world is that as China has
peacefully risen so has the quality of its people, and that the
government is not lacking in its management of the law," it
Japan's Kyodo news agency said the demonstrations were the
biggest in China since the two countries normalised diplomatic
relations in 1972.
Pictures on China's popular Twitter-like Sina Weibo showed
protests in provincial cities and pictures of looting of shops
and destruction of Japanese cars.
Japanese broadcaster NHK said protesters broke into a dozen
factories in the eastern city of Qingdao, including one run by
Panasonic. Such attacks prompted Japan's government to
complain to China's foreign ministry.
There have been sporadic protests around China throughout
the week. Those in Beijing had been small and largely peaceful.
"CHINA WILL NOT SHY AWAY"
The latest dispute flared up last month after Japan detained
a group of Chinese activists who had landed on the islands.
China also has similar disputes with neighbouring states in
southeast Asia over islands in the South China Sea.
Diplomats say Tokyo and Beijing want to keep the row from
escalating. That ciould be made harder by China's impending
leadership changes and a looming election in Japan.
China's ruling Communist Party rarely permits street
protests. "I think the government is encouraging this," said one
protester, who gave his name as Uda Chen.
"They could have stopped all of us approaching when we were
at the subway station. The government has taught us to be
anti-Japanese at school, so if they want us to stop it would be
like slapping their own mouths," he added.
The influential tabloid Global Times, published by the
People's Daily, said backing off was not an option for China.
"China should be confident about strategically overwhelming
Japan," it wrote, saying Chinese forces should "increase their
preparation and intensify their deterrence" against Japan.
"China will not shy away if Japan chooses to resort to its
military," the paper added.