Angry demonstrators attempted to storm the Japanese embassy in Beijing Saturday, state media said, as tens of thousands of people across China protested against Japan over a growing territorial dispute.
Riot police armed with batons and shields struggled to contain the swelling crowd outside the embassy, where witnesses said at least 2,000 people had gathered, some of them throwing stones and plastic bottles at the building.
A mob attempted to break into the embassy compound but were stopped by armed police, the state news agency Xinhua said. It estimated the crowd at several thousand at its peak.
Meanwhile, there were online reports that protests were staged in at least a dozen cities across China, with Japanese-built cars and Japanese restaurants being attacked by angry crowds. Japanese media estimated 40,000 people took part in the protests nationwide.
Rallies were reported in several other places including the eastern city of Nanjing and Xian and Taiyuan in the north. The rumbling territorial dispute reached a new level this week when Japan announced that it had bought islands in the East China Sea which it administers and calls Senkaku, but which China claims and calls Diaoyu.
In Shanghai, police threw a security ring around the Japanese consulate but allowed groups of protesters to approach the compound for short periods. Scores waved Chinese flags, chanted slogans such as “Little Japanese” and held up signs insisting the islands were Chinese.