BEIJING – Hundreds of protesters gathered Saturday in China’s northern city of Xian to protest against Japan’s arrest of Chinese activists who landed on the disputed Senkaku Islands last week, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The demonstration was staged a day after Tokyo deported all 14 Chinese who traveled to the Japanese-controlled isles in the East China Sea. Seven members of the group landed Wednesday on the largest islet in the group, Uotsuri. Japan had arrested the 14 activists — from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau — for violating the immigration control law.
Xinhua said in a dispatch from Xian that the protestors carried Chinese flags and banners reading “Get out of the Diaoyu Islands immediately!” and “Salute the Chinese warriors who defend the Diaoyu.” The disputed islets are referred to as Diaoyu in China.
Beijing claims the isles have been part of its territory since ancient times, but Tokyo maintains the Senkakus are an integral part of Japanese territory and that there is no territorial dispute over them.
The 14 Chinese nationals sailed to them aboard a Hong Kong ship to assert China’s sovereignty claims.