Japanese have been shocked to learn that even their own ambassador to China is no longer safe, after his car was attacked in broad daylight and had its flag stolen.
According to the Japanese embassy in Beijing, a Chinese man “attacked” the ambassador’s official car as he travelled in it one afternoon, tearing off its flag and making off with it, leaving the poor car with a bent flagpole.
The attack may have been carefully planned – the man leapt from a car and grabbed the flag when the ambassador’s car was stopped at an intersection with its only avenue of escape obstructed by two other vehicles.
The ambassador and his staff were unharmed, although it transpired he normally travels without any escort and so could presumably have been at some risk.
Japan has lodged a protest with the Chinese government about the matter, and said it will try to avoid having it happen again.
China’s foreign ministry has called the attack “regrettable” and emphasised that it will investigate the incident and guarantees the safety of Japanese residents and enterprises in China (although last time there was any suggestion the islands belonged to Japan it did arrest a few random Japanese for “spying” and threaten to execute them).
Meanwhile, Japan is still insisting it is illegal for its own citizens to set foot on the islands, having just sent Tokyo governor and China hater Shintaro Ishihara notice that it will not allow landings as they “would disturb the tranquillity of the islands,” although it seems unlikely this will stop him.
The aftermath of a group of Chinese nationalists making an illegal landing on the Senkaku islands which neither Hong Kong nor Japanese authorities bothered to stop has seen anti-Japanese mobs riot across a number of Chinese cities, in which “Japanese” property was destroyed and police were attacked: