Chinese land grab activists return to heroes’ welcome
Japan yesterday sent home the first group of Chinese activists detained after landing on an island claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing.
The move was welcomed by China but it warned its neighbour against any further escalation in tension.
Asia’s two largest economies have been at odds since the activists were detained on Wednesday after using a boat to land on the rocky, uninhabited isles, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
Five activists and two Chinese TV journalists, who flew to Hong Kong from Okinawa, arrived to a heroes’ welcome, while the rest of the 14-strong group were expected to head home by boat in a voyage that could take up to four days.
At Hong Kong’s international airport, crowds of Chinese passengers cheered the men, who carried national flags and a banner bearing the words: “Successful landing on Diaoyu islands. Activists show their ambition.”
Amid emotional scenes, the men again asserted China’s sovereignty over the islands and denounced Japan’s actions as illegal.
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