Last Friday, Japan deported 14 Chinese nationals who were arrested over a disputed island. The 14 Chinese citizens includes journalists and activists who were3 based in Hong Kong. The group includes a teacher, a labor union chairman, 2 Phoenix Union chairman and 7 crew members.
Seven of them arrived in the island being disputed by Japan, China and Taiwan. The uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea were called the Senkakus by Japan and Diaoyu by China. Ownership of this island will give the privilege of a nation for exclusive oil, minerals and fishing rights in the neighboring waters around the island.
Five of the arrested Chinese nationals were photographed holding Chinese and Taiwanese flags before they were arrested by the Okinawa police. Japan coast guard were staying in the island detained nine others who remained on the vessel.
According to Japanese reports, the police considered filing charges of illegally entering Japanese territory. Another charge is damaging intellectual property after some of the Chinese activists threw bricks and stones to Japan coast guard vessels.
Hong Kong based Phoenix Satellite Television petitioned for “immediate and unconditonal release” of the 14 detained people including the reporters Gary Leung and Jiang Xiao Feng together with their equipment, notebooks and recorded films. They are demanding for freedom to report anywhere in the world.
The 14 arrested Chinese nationals were soon deported after being detained. According to the press, Japan were trying to end a potential diplomatic crisis with China, on the other hand, Chinese officials were also trying to mellow down with such issue requesting for release of the detained nationals by not using harsh words and taking it step by step. The 14 Chinese nationals apparently wanted to protest against Japanese plans for central government in Tokyo to buy the uninhabited islands, most of which are owned by a rich Japanese citizen.
The confrontation coincided with the 67th anniversary of official World War II surrender of Japan. Two Japanese Cabinet ministers visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo the same day, which honors Japan’s war dead and war criminals. China and South Korea, given their respective wartime occupation and colonization by Japan, have condemned such visits.
Japanese prime minister together with his advisers is planning to strengthen the surveillance of the island by imposing more penalties to unauthorized visits to the island in an effort to brush off incidents like this.