April 16, 2005

IAN HAMET witnessed anti-Japanese protests in Shanghai and has posted a full report. And a reader in Shanghai sends these photos, and reports:

Here are two picts I took at the anti-Japanese protest today in Shanghai. The mob smashed everything Japanese along the march route and around the embassy, but the police stopped all attempted looting. All in all it was very orderly, with lots of smiles and laughing among the participants.

I've noticed tensions rising over the past few months. There used to be only one guy at my office who refused to buy Japanese items; now it's more than half, even very no-nonsense people who's judgement I trust. One of my coworkers has been dating a Japanese guy for four months now, and she's scared that someone at the office will find out. Another foreigner and I are the only two people she's confided in. There has also been acts of violence against Japanese people on the street. Just a few days ago two Japanese exchange students got their asses kicked by a group of Chinese guys.

Protest highlights:
A shout of "Don't take pictures with Japanese cameras and and cell phones!" was met with nervous laughter and stuffing of cameras and cell phones into pockets.

Chains of Chinese people holding Chinese flags and standing in front of Japanese restaurants where they worked. Along the march route they were pushed out of the way, but they managed to protect some businesses that were off the main path.

Chinese people don't play baseball. The rock and bottle throwing was comically poor and inaccurate.

That's some comfort. I suspect that the Chinese government is stirring this up. I suspect that it will get out of hand, if it continues.