The group of activists that sailed from Honk Kong on fishing boat to reach the disputed islands in the East China Sea (called Senkaku in Japanese, Diaoyu in Chinese) were met by Japan Coast Guard vessels, as well as police and immigration authorities upon their landing at 5:30 PM yesterday. Half of the group managed to climb on the outlying rocks of the islets and planted flags of China and Hong Kong in order to protest the Japanese control of Chinese-claimed territory. While five of the arriving members were arrested immediately, the two others returned to their boat where they were detained for questioning.
All 14 members of the group, who call themselves the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, have now been arrested by Japanese police for violating immigration laws. Fu Ying, China’s Vice-Foreign Minister, has now issued a demand to the Japanese government to immediately and unconditionally release them. The Chinese foreign ministry has also issued a statement on its website that its nationals have been illegally detained by Japan on the Diaoyu Islands.
Shortly after the incident, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua was called upon by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura. Yonghua was reprimanded for the activists’ entrance into recognized Japanese territory, and told that the 14 men would be treated in accordance with Japanese laws. The Japan Coast Guard issued warnings on Tuesday to the Hong Kong group that they would be stopped, but the Chinese government responded with a formal request not to endanger the lives of its citizens. There was confirmation that no one was injured on either side during any altercations.