Published on 16 Sep 2012 Sections , ,

Massive protests in China over Japan islands row

The diplomatic spat between China and Japan over sovereignty of the disputed Senkaku islands has sparked further protests across China.

Protests have taken place in cities across China following Japan’s announcement on Tuesday that it had bought islands also claimed by China from a private Japanese owner. Japan currently administers the territory.

The uninhabited rocks, which are known as Diayou-Tai by the Chinese, lie in the South China sea. Sovereignty could prove lucrative as it would unlock exclusive economic rights to nearly 20,000 square miles of undersea gas and oil reserves as well as rich fishing grounds.

Read more: China v Japan islands row – why should we care?

Thousands of Chinese protesters outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing hurled bottles and other objects as hundreds of riot police stood by to keep order.

Paramilitary police with shields and batons have barricaded the embassy since Saturday morning, when they clashed with slogan-chanting, flag-waving anti-Japan protesters who at times appeared to be trying to storm the building according to reports.

The long-standing territorial dispute between the two Asian neighbours escalated dramatically on Friday when China sent six surveillance ships to the group of uninhabited islets raising tension between the two countries to its highest level since 2010.

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.