- Title: CHINA: Activists protest over Chinese boat crew in Hong Kong
- Date: 14th September 2010
- Summary: HONG KONG, CHINA (SEPTEMBER 13, 2010) (REUTERS) **FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY** VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS FROM KOWLOON FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATION WITH PLACARDS AND BANNERS, CHANTING ANTI-JAPAN SLOGANS POLICEMEN STANDING AT THE ENTRANCE OF CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS HOLDING PLACARDS AND BANNER AT THE ENTRANCE OF CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN CONSULATE STAFF COMING OUT TO ACCEPT PETITION LETTER CONSULATE STAFF LISTENING TO PROTESTER PROTESTER CHANTING (Cantonese) "Japan, get out of Diaoyu Islands, Chinese people are angry" CONSULATE STAFF GOES BACK TO CONSULATE GENERAL WITH PETITION LETTER (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER, CONNIE WONG, SAYING: "Japanese Government have to release the ship and the captain as soon as possible. The relationship is two-way, it's not one way. So far, this incident is Japanese government, they escalate the crisis. So, the damage, they have to fix it up." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS FROM CHINA YOUTH SERVICE AND RECREATION CENTRE HOLDING BANNER OUTSIDE CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) PROTESTER, GORDON FONG, SAYING: "First of all, we should resolve this crisis through negotiation. If the Japanese refuse to do so, Chinese Government should escalate the situation by using economic pressure. If this doesn't work, they should use non-peaceful way to solve the problem." PROTESTERS CHANTING (Cantonese) "Down with militarism"
- Embargoed: 29th September 2010 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAE2C9DYFNIPUWG9TZR59CLWVTU
- Story Text: Around two dozen people protested outside the Japanese embassy in Hong Kong on Monday (October 13) over the crew of a Chinese fishing boat held by Japan last week in disputed waters.
Japan freed the crew on Monday, leaving unclear what will become of the arrested captain at the center of a territorial rift between the two neighbours.
The 14 crew are on their way home by plane, having been kept aboard their boat in a harbour on the southern Japanese island of Ishigaki.
A spokesman at the local prosecutors' office said Captain Zhan Qixiong was still being held after a court approved to extend his detention on Friday. Prosecutors can hold him for a maximum of 20 days before making a decision on whether to proceed with legal action.
"Japanese Government have to release the ship and the captain as soon as possible. The relationship is two-way, it's not one way. So far, this incident is Japanese government, they escalate the crisis. So, the damage, they have to fix it up," said one protester, Connie Wong.
The row over the detained fishing boat has given an emotive focus to a long-running dispute between Beijing and Tokyo over who owns a group of islets in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
The islets are thought to lie near potential oil and gas reserves with vastly varying estimates. A Japanese survey estimated the entire East China Sea may hold 7 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Chinese estimates range from 175 trillion to 210 trillion cubic feet.
If China's estimates prove accurate, the additional reserves in the seas would make it one of the world's top ten holders of natural gas and take it above the reserves held by top gas producer the United States, according to BP's 2010 statistical review.
China's proved gas reserves stand at 86.67 trillion cubic feet.
Despite the ongoing spat over the islands and mutual mistrust about each others' military intentions, the two countries' ever-deepening economic ties mean their governments are keen to keep relations on an even keel.
China has been Japan's biggest trading partner since 2009. Bilateral trade reached 12.6 trillion yen ($150.4 billion) in value in the first half of this year, an on-year jump of 34.5 percent, according to Japanese statistics.
China had summoned Japan's ambassador four times to protest the fishing boat detentions, and warned Tokyo on Sunday against making "misjudgments" in a case which has set back efforts to ease decades of distrust.
"First of all, we should resolve this crisis through negotiation. If the Japanese refuse to do so, Chinese Government should escalate the situation by using economic pressure. If this doesn't work, they should use non-peaceful way to solve the problem," said protester, Gordon Fong.
Liu Jiangyong, an expert on China-Japan relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said Japan appeared too preoccupied with a leadership election for the ruling party to decide on how to settle the issue.
China last week called off planned talks with Japan over an undersea gas bed dispute in another part of the East China Sea after the seizure of the fishing boat and warned that worse repercussions may follow.
But Japan said on Monday it would ask China to hold talks on jointly developing gas fields in the East China Sea.
Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have long been dogged by mutual distrust and Chinese bitterness over Japan's occupation of much of China before and during World War Two.
Since big public protests in China against Japan and bitter diplomatic exchanges in 2005 and 2006, both sides have sought to improve ties.
Yet they have stubborn disagreements over their sea rights, especially over the East China Sea islets, which China insists have been Chinese territory since ancient times.
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