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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 April, 2005, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
China rejects calls for apology
Protesters in the south Chinese city of Shenzhen
Shenzhen marchers demanded a boycott of Japanese goods
Beijing has no reason to apologise over a wave of anti-Japanese protests, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has said.

His Japanese counterpart, Nobutaka Machimura, had gone to Beijing seeking an apology, but Mr Li said the real issue was Japan's wartime atrocities.

Protests have continued in Chinese cities - with 10,000 people marching in Shenzhen, in the south.

Japan has approved schoolbooks which critics say whitewash its wartime past.

The Chinese are also protesting against Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

"The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologise to the Japanese people," Mr Li said during talks with Mr Machimura.

Be vicious towards Japanese devils!
Protesters' banner outside Japanese consulate, Shanghai

"The main problem now is that the Japanese government has done a series of things that have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people on the Taiwan issue, some international issues including human rights, and especially in its treatment of history."

A Chinese government spokesman, quoted by the official Xinhua news agency, said the protests were caused by "Japan's wrong attitudes and actions on a series of issues such as its history of aggression".

On Wednesday, Japan further angered China by issuing drilling rights for oil and gas in a disputed area of the East China Sea.

Street anger

The Communist Party newspaper People's Daily has called for the public to "maintain social stability", on what is the third consecutive weekend of anti-Japanese protests in China.

In Shenzhen, tens of thousands of people protested on Sunday, waving banners calling for Japan to apologise for its wartime past. Some threw bottles at shops selling Japanese goods. Others kicked Japanese-made cars.

Chinese protesters set light to a Japanese flag

One group of protesters set fire to an image of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

In north-eastern China, up to 1,000 protesters marched on the Japanese consulate in the city of Shenyang.

Smaller protests were reported in the southern cities of Zhuhai, Dongguan and south-western Chengdu.

On Saturday thousands of protesters stoned the Japanese consulate in Shanghai, while peaceful marches took place in the cities of Hangzhou and Tianjin.

Correspondents say the scale of the disturbances is unusual for China, and indicates tacit official support for the protesters.

Row over history

Japan-China relations are at their worst for decades, says the BBC's Charles Scanlon in Tokyo.

Chinese views on Japan

Analysts say a bold gesture from either side may be needed to break the downward spiral in relations, but that may not be politically possible in the current climate.

The protests were triggered by Japan's decision to approve eight school textbooks which critics say gloss over the country's actions before and during World War II.

Among the issues causing outrage is the description of the Japanese army's massacre of between 50,000 and 300,000 civilians in the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937 and 1938 as "an incident".

Tokyo says private companies, not the government, were responsible for the texts, and that it is up to individual school districts to decide which books they use.

Only about 18 schools will be using the textbooks.

Why protesters have taken to the streets

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