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Protest vs. Japan rages in Shanghai

3d weekend of violence in China

SHANGHAI -- About 20,000 anti-Japan protesters rampaged through the city yesterday, stoning Japan's consulate and smashing Japanese cars and Japanese-style shops in protest over Tokyo's bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat and perceived whitewashing of wartime atrocities.

Thousands of police watched the rioting but did little to restrain the crowd, some of whom were chanting, ''Kill the Japanese!"

Japan filed an official complaint, saying Chinese authorities failed to stop anti-Japan violence for a third consecutive weekend.

Japan's embassy said two Japanese were injured after being surrounded by a group of Chinese, Kyodo News agency reported. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Japan's Foreign Ministry denounced the ''destructive and violent actions" of the protesters and said it had ''strongly protested" to the Chinese government.

''Even though information was available beforehand to infer that there would be a demonstration, nothing was done to prevent it," the ministry said in a statement.

But the Shanghai government faulted Japan, saying the protest was sparked by ''Japan's wrong attitudes and actions on a series of issues such as its history of aggression," China's official Xinhua news agency quoted government spokeswoman Jiao Yang as saying.

Jiao called for calm and asked residents not to participate in unauthorized demonstrations.

Thousands of people also participated in peaceful protest marches in Hangzhou and Tianjin, defying government demands for restraint.

In Beijing, hundreds of police blanketed Tiananmen Square in the center of China's capital to block a planned protest.

State television did not mention the protests in its main evening news report, apparently reflecting fears by communist leaders that they could further damage the sour relations with Tokyo or encourage others to take to the streets against corruption or demand political reforms.

Earlier this month, protesters smashed windows at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and marched in other Chinese cities.

The violence prompted several Japanese companies -- including Mazda Motor Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp., and Toshiba Corp. -- to cancel business trips to China, while others told employees in China to take safety precautions.

Some have suggested that Beijing has permitted recent protests to support a campaign against Tokyo's bid for a permanent Security Council seat.

The five current permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- have veto power over UN actions.

Tensions between the regional rivals also have been heightened by disagreements over gas resources in disputed seas and new Japanese textbooks that critics say gloss over Japan's wartime offenses. Many Chinese say Japan has never truly shown remorse for atrocities committed in its pre-World War II invasion of China.

Yesterday's march in Shanghai was the first in China's commercial capital. Though state newspapers said no one received permission to hold a protest, authorities at one point posted a sign saying, ''March route this way."

Police in riot helmets kept protesters away from the Japanese Consulate building but allowed protesters to throw eggs and rocks. A group of young men broke the windows of a Nissan sedan and flipped it over, while protesters shattered the windows of at least two other Japanese cars.

Also yesterday, in Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, 10,000 people shouted slogans ''condemning Japanese militarism," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. In Tianjin, east of Beijing, about 2,000 protesters held a peaceful march.

Activists also have pushed for a boycott of Japanese goods.

Japan's foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, was preparing to fly to Beijing today for talks aimed at defusing the tensions. Japan and the United States warned its citizens in China about possible danger before the protests.

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