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Sino-Japanese Tension Spreading to Asian Games

Posted November. 10, 2010 11:32,   


“We are angry that China lost to Japan. We’ve prepared so hard for the (Guangzhou) Asian Games and China lost to Japan in the first game,” a Chinese national said after the two countries played a soccer game in the tournament.

Rising tension between Asia’s two superpowers over the disputed Senkaku Islands of Japan, known as the Diaoyutai Islands of China, is showing signs of spreading to the Asiad.

A tense atmosphere covered Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou Tuesday even before the start of the game between China and Japan. A Japanese media outlet warned of anger by Chinese fans if Japan won.

The Asiad’s organizing committee separated the fans of the two countries and dispatched security guards to the stadium.

No incidents were reported but the more than 40,000 Chinese fans were not happy after their team lost to Japan, 3-0. A Chinese reporter initially said he enjoyed the game but later showed his true feelings by saying the Chinese people had hoped for a win given recent anti-Japanese sentiment.

The organizing committee exercised extreme caution, however, for fear that the rising tension between the two countries could damage the Asian Games. A Chinese college student working as a volunteer at the Asiad said, “The Japanese and Chinese are friends,” as if told to say so.

Chinese media had mixed reactions to the game. The Guangzhou Daily, the city’s largest newspaper, featured the game between South and North Korea and simply reported the score of the China-Japan game.

The Southern Daily, a provincial newspaper, put up a photo featuring the mingled feelings of Chinese and Japanese players. Its headline said the Chinese team was a “sandcastle squad,” hinting at a weak performance.