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Disputed isles see 11 China ships

Tens of thousands of anti-Japan demonstrators rallied across China over disputed islands on Tuesday as Tokyo said 11 Chinese government vessels had entered the area.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2012 23:46 IST

Tens of thousands of anti-Japan demonstrators rallied across China over disputed islands on Tuesday as Tokyo said 11 Chinese government vessels had entered the area.

The moves followed several days of protests, some of them violent, that have raised international concerns and fears of conflict between two of the world’s top three economies, with Japanese firms shutting or scaling back production.

Thousands gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, some throwing eggs and plastic bottles and others carrying portraits of Mao Zedong, the late leader venerated by some for standing up to Japan.

“China is not a weak country anymore. We are strong and we should no longer be bullied by Japan,” said Jiu Longtou, a 31-year factory worker. “Diaoyu Island is Chinese and we should protect it from Japan.”

China’s defence minister Liang Guanglie said Beijing reserved the right to take “further actions” over the islands — controlled by Tokyo — while hoping for “a peaceful and negotiated solution”.

Scores of Japanese-owned factories and stores in China have been closed, at least temporarily, as the anti-Japan demonstrations raged.

Meanwhile, a group of Taiwanese fishermen are also planning to sail this week to the disputed islands. About 60 fishing boats, each carrying five to six people, are expected to head for the islands on Saturday.