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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China Spat on APEC Agenda — for Protesters

November 18, 2010

By Aaron Back

Wall Street Journal

14 November 2010

Japanese demonstrators protest against the government’s response to the China-Japan territorial spat in the East China Seat at APEC Nov. 14.

As world leaders gathered in Yokohama for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Sunday, a small group of Japanese protesters gathered nearby to deliver a message of anger at China.

Speakers mounted a makeshift podium on top of a small sound truck to address an audience of around a hundred protesters waving Japanese flags and wearing placards with anti-Chinese slogans. Perhaps not entirely by coincidence, the protest was right by the hotel where the Chinese delegation set up their press office.

The main focal point of the protests was clearly the dispute over the Senkaku islands, as they are called in Japanese, or the Diaoyutai islands, as they are called by China, the site of the recent naval spat that sent Sino-Japanese relations into a downward spiral. But the protesters covered all their anti-China bases, with signs and slogans demanding the release of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, and advocating the independence of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and even inner-Mongolia.

Katsuhiko Umehara, the former mayor of Sendai, a mid-sized city in northeast Japan, addressed the crowd and spoke with JRT afterwards, criticizing current Prime Minister Naoto Kan for what he said was a weak response to China on the Senkaku issue, and his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama for weakening security relations with the United States.

“China is now trying to dominate, first of all the South China Sea, then the East China Sea, including the Senkaku islands, including the Okinawa islands,” said Mr. Umehara. “They are very clever, I think. They have been carefully observing the Hatoyama administration, and the Kan administration,” he continued. “As they expected, or even more, the reaction of the government of Japan is so weak.”

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