by the evening, Chinese government had declared martial law in Xi'an, capital city of Shannxi Province.
The day of Sept 15, 2012 started as an organized protest, but ended as riot with the city burning in flames. A convey of Porsche carried crossed-out Japanese flags proud led the way. Patriotic activities has become a new badge for China's 2nd gen riches. Last month, two young drivers driving a BMW and an Audi forced the Japanese Ambassador's convey to stop, then broke the Japanese flag on his car.
So far the protest has been tolerated, if not encouraged by the government. An intellectual described how he sneaked in the mob who were chanting anti-Japanese slogans in front of the Japanese embassy. He described how police supplied water and make sure everyone had a fair turn to express their anger.
Soon the protest turned into chaos. Angry mob vandalized Japanese brand cars on the streets, in parking lots. Japanese supermarket were looted. Japanese restaurant destroyed.
There would always be comedies, although dark ones in this case. This young man was seen holding a sign which read, 'I will mail-order a wife from Japan, then hang her up and beat her every day.'
By the end of the day, nineteen cities had seen riots against Japanese business and properties. In Wangfujing, heart of business in Beijing, an Armani store was destroyed, because mobs found Japanese characters on its banner. When desperate employee cried we were not a Japanese firm, a mob replied, 'yeah right, but Italy was also a fascist country on Japan's side (in WWII).'
Next, Qingdao of Shangdong Province, the birth place of the boxer uprising which led to a declaration of war against eleven countries in 1900.
The Court of Qing Dynasty quickly changed its mind when it was clear that boxers had caused more trouble then they could handle. An order was issued and soon hundreds of thousands of boxers were rounded up and executed, to appease foreign delegates.
As it says, history tends to repeat itself, the first time a tragedy, the second round a comedy. Does the communist Party really believe they can manipulate people's hatred risk-free?
Japanese embassy published anti-Japanese gathering information in multiple cities one day before they took place, based on messages spread on Weibo, Chinese version of Twitter. There is no excuse Chinese police were not alerted. Furthermore, propaganda censorship officers deliberately deleted messages calling for calm. Reporter Li Miao of the PhoenixTV complained that Weibo deleted her tweets reporting all Chinese visitors were not attacked in Japan. It's clear that the communist government just can't wait to see violence on the streets.
Two days later it will be the anniversary of September 18, 1931. Imperial Japanese Army attacked Chinese troops in Shenyang of Liaoning Province. Had the current violence not curtailed, no-one can be sure what might happen. Now the government of China holds a big bargain power against the Chinese intellectuals for tighter control and elimination of civil liberty.
It's nothing about the dispute with Japan, but all about the ruling power of the Party.