This photo of a wedding procession turned protest became a hit online in China. The groom and bride, from nearby Taizhou City, in Zhejiang Province, were taking a stroll through town on this cart when a local photographer snapped them. The sign above the new bride: “The Diaoyu islands belong to China, this woman belongs to me.”
What does 7-Eleven, the American institution and the world’s largest operator of convenience stores, have to fear from protests over the Diaoyu islands? Most 7-Eleven stores in mainland are directly owned by a Japanese owner. In lieu of Slurpees and Big Gulps, Chinese franchises are often stocked with a variety of Japanese goods. To avoid becoming a target, many locations were said to be removing Japanese products from shelves until the protests end.
High-profile Japanese companies like Canon and Panasonic have suspended their Chinese operations due to the continued protests. Many smaller restaurants and businesses across China have followed suit while also posting signs and Chinese flags outside or in their windows to show their true allegiance. This Japanese restaurant in Shanghai claims it is under-renovation, but also left a sign on its door that says “Diaoyu Islands belong to China.”
Owners of Japanese-brand cars were wise to park their cars and avoid taking them out in the street during the past few days of protests. Japanese cars caught in the middle of protests across the country were destroyed, sometimes by their own owners, in the name of protesting Japan’s claim to the Diaoyu islands.
The photo above is from protests in Shenzhen, China's Guangdong Province on Aug. 19. Disconsolate car owners take heart though: Chen Guangbiao, the billionaire owner of recycling company Jiangsu Huangpu Renewable Resources, announced on his Weibo feed Tuesday that anyone whose cars was destroyed during the protests could email him their details and he would replace the vehicle.
Taking a page from Google with its homepage doodles, China’s popular search engine, Baidu, went in a nationalistic direction, posting a picture of the Diaoyu islands with a giant Chinese flag plunged into it. Baidu spokesman, Kaiser Kuo, defended the provocative doodle, writing in a statement, “Planting a digital flag to express your feelings on the matter of the Diaoyu Islands is a much better alternative to throwing rocks or smashing cars.”
Protestors have been creative in their anti-Japanese – and sometimes anti-U.S. due to America’s perceived meddling in Chinese affairs – slogans and banners.
One local Chinese reporter who was covering the protests in Beijing this week wrote about one telling exchange with a police officer. The officer jovially encouraged the reporter to participate in the demonstrations, so the reporter asked whether he could shout “Punish corruption!” The officer suddenly turned serious. “No you can’t!” he said suddenly seriously. “Only slogans concerned with Diaoyu Islands are allowed," said another policeman.
This picture taken from behind the police barricades outside the Japanese Embassy Tuesday demonstrates the increased security seen today compared to the previous days of protest.
As guards dodged eggs, bottles and other projectiles being hurled by protestors at the embassy, Mao portraits were held overhead by an increasing number of the demonstrators. Many who have marched over the past few days have harkened back to the old days when strong men like Mao were in charge and have spoken almost longingly of Mao, who they believe would be more fearless in standing up to the Japanese.
It is a sensitive sentiment that Chinese leaders will be wary about as the weeks count down to an important, once-a-decade leadership change in China.
China’s ruling Communist Party has allowed the people to express their frustration with Japan over the Diaoyu islands, but what happens if the people perceive the government’s handling of the issue as being weak or inadequate? China’s new leadership could find itself stuck between a rock and a hard place: a more nationalist populace that will demand action and potential armed conflict with an important neighbor and trading partner.
A Sina Weibo user in Guangdong posted this photo of what appears to be employees at an Audi dealership in China holding a banner that says, “Even if China becomes nothing but tombstones, we must exterminate the Japanese; even if we have to destroy our own country, we must take back the Diaoyu Islands."
NBC News attempted to contact Audi’s offices in Beijing for comment, but repeated calls were not answered. A post on Audi’s Press twitter account though declared, “We distance ourselves from this action in China and any use of violence. We advocate dialogue and diplomacy.”
If you expected any company to buy into the nationalist sentiment that has swept up China in recent days, Zhonghua – which translates to “China” – a toothpaste company created this sales display in Chaozhou, Guangdong Province. It shows tubes of its toothpaste shaped like a cannon. The sign below the cannon predictably declares, “The Diaoyu Islands belong to China!”