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China calls for calmness as Japan ties at crossroads
Updated: 2005-04-17 12:34

Chinese Government has called for calmness and “sober mind” among its nationals, after a few thousand of people staged a second-wave protest against Japan’s Koizumi government in Shanghai and several other cities on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a senior Chinese official said that China’s relations with Japan are now at a "crossroads".

State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, a former foreign minister, said Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring war dead including convicted war criminals were at the heart of the problems between the two Asian giants.

On Saturday, a few thousand people marched along Yan’an Road in Shanghai towards the Japanese consulate, while hundreds of others protested in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou and in northern port city of Tianjin.

At the consulate in Shanghai, riot police three-deep linked arms to prevent the crowd from entering the compound as they pelted it with eggs, paint and water bottle.

However, a rally scheduled for the capital city of Beijing, where police were out in force, did not materialize following a warning Friday against any protests by the city’s public security department.

China's leading newspaper, People's Daily, carried a signed article on Sunday calling for the Chinese nationals to maintain social stability for the building of a harmonious society.

"Today's world is not placid and there exist frictions and problems of various kinds; our endeavor to grow economy is far from being a smooth sailing as we are faced with all sorts of difficulties," says the article.

"These contradictions and problems can only be settled in an orderly manner by abiding by the law and with a sober mind."

Chinese experts say that China’s leaders do not want the protests venting Chinese anger at rising Japanese right-wing political trends would go out of control, jeopardizing China’s rapid economic growth.

There were allegations that Beijing has encouraged anti-Japanese demonstrations that first erupted last week after Japan’s Ministry of Education approved a revised version of school textbooks whitewashing its heinous WWII crimes in China and other Asian countries.

The People’s Daily commentary attributes the country's rapid economic growth, progress in people's living standards and the rising prestige of China in the international arena in the past two decades to China's stable social order, which "should be cherished with redoubled efforts."

It quotes late leader Deng Xiaoping as saying that stability is of "overriding importance" in solving all of China's problems. "We should cherish and maintain social stability the same way we protect our eyes."

The article also underscores the importance of rule of law in dealing with various issues in the country. "Handling of all issues in an orderly manner and in accordance with the law is crucial for the national effort to maintain social stability and realize social harmony."

"So long as we unite as one and make concerted efforts to this end, there will be no difficulties that we cannot overcome," it said.

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