Beijing: Sino-Japan tensions over detention of the captain of a Chinese fishing trawler escalated as Beijing observed the 79th Japanese Invasion Day on Saturday, with a large number of people protesting outside Tokyo's diplomatic missions.
Groups of Chinese held rallies outside Japanese diplomatic missions in Beijing, Shenyang and Shanghai to protest Japan's seizure of a Chinese fishing boat on September 7, shouting slogans like 'Japan, get out of the Diaoyu Islands (in East China Sea),' 'Boycott Japanese goods' and 'Don't forget national humiliation.'
The day is officially observed all over China every year to condemn the Japanese invasion of eastern China and the alleged atrocities committed by the Japanese troops.
Japanese forces had attacked Chinese troops in Shenyang on September 18, 1931 and the Japanese occupation lasted 14 years until the Second World War.
This year the protests acquired a new dimension following the seizure of the Chinese fishing trawler by Japanese Coast Guard off the Diaoyu Islands over which both China and Japan claim sovereignty.
A Japanese court had sent the captain of the trawler to detention for ramming his vessel into two coast guard ships, while 14 other crew members were released. The captain's detention would come up for judicial review on Sunday.
Simultaneously, the Chinese government launched an offensive sending "maritime surveillance" ships to the area and reportedly made preparations to resume drilling in the offshore Chunxiao oil and gas field in the East China Sea claimed by both countries.
It also sent fishery administration ships to China's territorial waters to provide "protection to fishermen," she said.
China has full sovereign and jurisdiction rights over the Chunxiao oil and gas field and its activities there are entirely reasonable and legitimate, the spokesperson said, virtually confirming reports that Beijing is all set to resume the drilling operations.
Earlier, Japanese media reported that China had transported equipment into the Chunxiao field and said it was probably about to carry out maintenance work there.
Chinese analysts are hopeful that the new Japanese government headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan may take steps to ease tensions by releasing the captain.