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China-Japan island dispute: patriotic protests backfire on Beijing

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Published on Sep 17, 2012

Anti-Japan protests in China have spun out of control. China and Japan are locked in a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands if you're Japanese). Leaders in Beijing have used the issue to fan nationalistic sentiments.

But those protests have backfired on Beijing, with leaders losing control of the rioters they set loose. Rioters have targeted all things Japanese: turning over Japanese-made cars, burning Japanese-related businesses and even forcing Japanese-funded electronics companies to shut down production.

Some rioters have used the opportunity for general looting and mayhem, targeting luxury retailers such as Rolex.

Now, the protesters are discovering protests can be used for things other than expressing national pride, such as the desire for democracy, freedom and human rights. Will Beijing regret giving its people a taste of freedom?

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