Beijing: Thousands of anti-Japan protesters mounted demonstrations in cities across China as authorities today appealed for restraint, a day after violence erupted on a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea, claimed by both the nations.
Concerned over the safety of Japanese citizens in China, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Sunday called on Beijing to prevent violence and attacks on the country`s diplomatic missions amid growing tensions between the two sides over the islands.
China calls the disputed islands as Diaoyu islands while Japan, which control them, calls Senkaku islands. China on Friday sent six surveillance ships to the disputed area and asked Japanese Coast Guard vessels to leave the waters or face consequences.
Chinese paramilitary force today guarded the perimeter of the Japanese embassy here as they allowed protesters in groups to walk past the building. In Shanghai, hundreds of protesters gathered near the main gate of the Japanese Consulate and chanted anti-Japan slogans.
In Guangzhou today, the capital of the southern province of Guangdong, over 10,000 people marched along several streets before staging protests outside the Japanese consulate.
Chinese authorities, meanwhile, beefed up security in major cities to prevent protesters from damaging property.
Protesters yesterday pelted stones at Japan`s embassy here amid growing tensions between the two sides over the islands, where surveillance ships dispatched by Beijing asked Japanese Coast Guard vessels to leave the disputed area or face consequences.
"The Chinese people should be rational and obey the law when expressing patriotic feelings and they should abstain from `smashing and looting`," an appeal from the Chinese authorities said in a commentary carried by the official Xinhua news agency today.
In Tokyo, Noda asked Chinese government to ensure the safety of Japanese people and businesses.
This situation is a "great disappointment" and so we are protesting to China, Noda was quoted as saying by Fuji Television. "We want (China) to oversee the situation so that at least Japanese citizens and businesses in China will not be in danger," he said.
The commentary also said, "The Japanese government should take note of mainstream Chinese public opinion, as voiced in those protests, and think twice about their illegal activities".
"Otherwise, the foundation of Sino-Japanese relations and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries will sustain damage not seen in the four decades since the normalisation of Sino-Japan relations," it said.
Observers say the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) appears to be "not too unhappy" with the protests, which politically suits as the economy showed strains in the face rapid decline in exports.
Protest demonstrations are not permitted in China.
Meanwhile, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) has released a string of geographic information of Diaoyu Island and some of its affiliated islets to reaffirm China`s sovereignty, while Chinese surveillance ships began patrolling the waters around the islands challenging the Japanese Coast Guard.
The SOA announcement details the exact longitude and latitude of the Diaoyu Island and 70 of its affiliated islets while publishes location maps, three-dimension effect graphs and sketch maps for the Diaoyu Islands.