Japan arrests Chinese activists on disputed land in the South China Sea
On Wednesday, a group of activists from China, Hong Kong, and Macau attempted to land on an island claimed by both China and Japan. The activists were detained by the Japanese coastguard, sparking an official complaint from the Chinese government.
The activists chartered a fishing boat to take them from Hong Kong to the the small grouping of islands that the Chinese have named Diaoyu. Japan’s name for the islands is Senkaku.
The activists goal was to claim Diaoyu by placing Chinese flags there, according to the Washington Post. Five activists were arrested on shore, and the other nine were arrested while still on the boat.
The area within the South China Sea has become very contentious as China, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim overlapping portions. The area is rich in oil, natural gas, and mineral deposits.
To add insult to injury, the arrests of the protestors comes on the anniversary of the end of World War Two, which brings back memories of a time when Japan occupied a large part of China.
Reuters reports that Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, said “The tensions are fully due to irresponsible clamoring and attempts by some Japanese politicians and activists to claim the islands which…indisputably belong to China”.