Foreign Policy

Anti-Japanese Demonstrations in China

Sep 17 '12

A banner on a store called pattad reads: “pattad firmly defends China’s right to the Diaoyu Islands. / We will give a 15% discount to customers who yell THE DIAOYU ISLANDS BELONG TO CHINA! in the store / We will give a 20% discount to customers who yell JAPAN ALSO BELONGS TO CHINA!”

This is a caption from a series of photos documenting Chinese demonstrations against Japan’s bid to purchase some of the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea (via Valerie Hudson). Protestors have targeted Japanese businesses and products throughout China, leading several Japanese companies to suspend work at their factories.

Leon Panetta expressed concern about the possibility of war between the two countries today, but these concerns may be premature. Although Chinese authorities used extremely strong language toward Japan last week, the intensity of the protests seems to be more than they bargained for. Yale political scientist Jessica Weiss suggests that the rapid spread of the demonstrations has made them incredibly difficult to manage, and that the protests are poor indicators of Beijing’s intentions.