04/18/2005, 00.00
CHINA - JAPAN
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No Beijing apology to Tokyo for violent demonstrations

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Sino-Japanese tensions keep rising after weeks of street demonstrations in which Japanese nationals, businesses and diplomatic missions, including the Embassy, have been targeted by angry protesters.

Despite meeting Japan's Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, the Chinese government refused to apologise for the violence.

Although Chinese Deputy Foreign Ministry Wu Dawei said that diplomatic relations are at their lowest since they were established in 1972, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said that if there was anyone to blame for what is happening that is Japan because of its pro-Taiwan position, its criticism of human rights in China and its school textbooks that minimise its wartime atrocities.

Still, he said that his government would ensure protection to Japanese diplomatic sites, businesses and other economic interests.

Despite assurances, Mr Machimura lamented the lack of adequate security measures.

As for the apparent cause of the rising tensions, the Japanese government pointed out that the controversial textbooks were published by private editors, that each school district was free to choose its textbooks and that so far only 18 schools had adopted them.

Street demonstrations continued on Sunday in various cities: more than 10,000 people in Shenzhen, but also in Shenyang, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Chengdu and elsewhere.

Police were out in force around Japanese diplomatic missions, but did not interfere when crowds attacked Japanese stores, restaurants and cars.

The Japanese press has pointed out the Chinese government is tolerating the demonstrations and not stopping the violence as if it was incapable to uphold its laws and enforcing social order. (PB)

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