Chinese protest Japanese claim to disputed island (PHOTOS)

Thousands of people protested in the streets of China and Hong Kong against Japan’s claim to a contested island territory.

The protesters are rallying against recent actions by some 150 Japanese activists, who on Sunday raised their country’s flag on the disputed Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diyaou and claims to be Chinese territory.

The Japanese activists made their display after the country detained and deported 14 Chinese and Hong Kong activists visiting the island days earlier, Kyodo news agency reported.

In two southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, 3,000 demonstrators were witnessed shouting anti-Japanese slogans and burning the country’s flag. Some also attacked Japanese restaurants and cars, Interfax reported.

One Shenzen demonstrator told AFP that protesters were headed towards a train station on the border with Hong Kong. "The demonstration is strung out for seven to eight kilometers. Many police are escorting us along the street," he said.

AFP Photo/China Out
AFP Photo/China Out

The Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed the Japanese government on Saturday over the recent tension.

The territory has been disputed since the 1970s, when the island was discovered to hold vast oil deposits, but hostilities in the feud have spiked in recent days.

 People scuffle with police officers as they attend a rally to protest against Japan′s claim of islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in Hangzhou, east China′s Zhejiang province on August 19, 2012. (AFP Photo/China Out)
People scuffle with police officers as they attend a rally to protest against Japan's claim of islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province on August 19, 2012. (AFP Photo/China Out)
A protester destroys an overturned Japanese-brand police car with an metal rod during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
A protester destroys an overturned Japanese-brand police car with an metal rod during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
otesters overturn a Japanese-brand police car during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
otesters overturn a Japanese-brand police car during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
Protesters, holding banners, placards and Chinese national flags, march down a street during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
Protesters, holding banners, placards and Chinese national flags, march down a street during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
A protester, standing on an overturned Japanese-brand police car, shouts slogans during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
A protester, standing on an overturned Japanese-brand police car, shouts slogans during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Keita Van)
AFP Photo/China Out
AFP Photo/China Out
 Pro-China activists rally during an anti-Japan protest in Hong Kong on August 19, 2012. Members of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions waved Chinese flags and chanted slogans such as "Down with Japanese militarism" and "Get out of our Diaoyu Islands", the Chinese name for what Japan calls Senkaku. (AFP Photo/Laurent Fivet)
Pro-China activists rally during an anti-Japan protest in Hong Kong on August 19, 2012. Members of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions waved Chinese flags and chanted slogans such as "Down with Japanese militarism" and "Get out of our Diaoyu Islands", the Chinese name for what Japan calls Senkaku. (AFP Photo/Laurent Fivet)
AFP Photo/Laurent Fivet
AFP Photo/Laurent Fivet
AFP Photo/Laurent Fivet
AFP Photo/Laurent Fivet