China calls for calm as thousands join anti-Japan campaign

THOUSANDS of protesters marched on a Japanese consulate and threw paint and bottles at businesses selling Japanese goods, in two Chinese cities yesterday, a day after anti-Tokyo demonstrations in Beijing turned violent.

The protests in the southern Guangzhou province were the latest eruption of anger at what many Chinese see as Tokyo’s whitewashing of atrocities it committed during the Second World War and its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

On Saturday, an estimated 10,000 people gathered at Japan’s embassy and the ambassador’s residence, throwing stones, bottles and eggs in the biggest public outpouring of anger against foreigners since the 1998 NATO bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade.

The fresh demonstrations came as Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo to lodge a formal protest and seek an apology for the anti-Japanese rally in Beijing.

Sentiment against Japan has been running high since last Tuesday, when Japan approved a textbook that critics say glosses over the brutal Japanese occupation of China, which lasted from 1931 to 1945.

China’s foreign ministry appealed to protesters to be "calm and sane".

A spokesman said: "The government demanded the demonstrators give voice to their attitude in a lawful and orderly way, and not to engage in excessive action."

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