Police around China in recent days failed to stop protesters from defacing reminders of Japan, like cars, shops and Tokyo’s diplomatic missions.
But this week in Shanghai, police methodically prevented damage to one image of Japan: its local consulate building. One possible reason: Shanghai authorities know how expensive it is to repair.
Police watched this week as protesters in Beijing hurled plastic bottles and eggs at the Japanese Embassy there; bricks were hurled through windows at Japan’s consulate in Shenyang; and in Guangzhou, demonstrators smashed glass in a luxury hotel that also houses Japan’s mission in the southern city.
But in Shanghai, with police and paramilitary troops going to extraordinary lengths to control the mob, no one appears to have tossed anything more damaging than a profanity over the high walls that protect the Japanese consulate.
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This week’s Shanghai protests were smaller and more orderly, and indeed some protesters got transported to the scene by police. As they were corralled between riot barriers protecting the consulate, demonstrators were stripped of any eggs and bottles.
Police officers warned them off violence with megaphones and big signs. Protesters were kept from getting too close to the mission’s walls, and not permitted to remain more than a few minutes.
And little, if anything, got tossed at the building.
Quipped the Japanese consular official: “The Shanghai government must have learned its lesson from 2005.”