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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
China probes football violence
Chinese police detain a football fan during unrest following the Asian Cup final
Chinese fans were bitterly disappointed at their team's defeat
Chinese police are investigating the violence which followed Japan's victory over China in the Asian Cup, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

Hundreds of China supporters threw bottles, burned Japanese flags and shouted obscenities outside Beijing's Workers' Stadium after their team lost.

"Mobbing and vandalism are strictly prohibited by Chinese law," said government spokesman Hao Chiyong.

"Police will mete out penalties to those responsible," he told Xinhua.

Despite the presence of thousands of riot police in Beijing's Workers Stadium, hundreds of Chinese fans went on the rampage after Japan won 3-1 in the final of the Asian Cup on 7 August.

The Japanese had faced jeers from Chinese fans throughout the competition.

There is a traditional rivalry between the two countries which extends much further than sport - many Chinese feel Japan has not atoned for its brutal occupation in the 1930s, and aggression during World War II.

Japan's national anthem was drowned out by Chinese chants, which continued whenever Japan had possession of the ball.

Even Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi appealed for a more welcoming atmosphere for the Japanese team.

After the match, the small contingent of Japanese fans had to be bussed to safety.

Meanwhile hundreds of Chinese supporters confronted riot police outside the stadium, burning Japanese flags and demanding a boycott of Japanese goods.

They also vandalised a Japanese embassy official's car.

Chinese riot after Japan victory
07 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Jeers as Japan win football final
07 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Japan retain Asian Cup
07 Aug 04  |  Internationals

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