Shenzhen police authorities published the snapshots of 20 protesters suspected of vandalism in the city's anti-Japan demonstrations on September 16, encouraging the lawbreakers to surrender themselves to the police. Citizens who provide clues to the police will receive rewards.
This is another example of the authorities' efforts to discourage violence during the anti-Japan demonstrations. Xi'an of Shaanxi Province, where violence by a few individuals in demonstrations last week led to an outpouring of public anger, immediately issued a notice saying authorities would firmly crack down on such violent behavior. In Jiangmen of Guangdong Province, local police authorities busted a gang suspected of looting 78 Japanese-made cars between September 14 and 18, and detained seven gangsters.
Punishing these perpetrators based on law wins the overwhelming support of society. In the wake of the smashing, looting and burning during last weekend's anti-Japanese protests, many Chinese voiced their disappointment at their compatriots' way of expressing their patriotism. Violence has discredited a righteous campaign, which was supposed to show Japan the shared feelings of the Chinese public. More than a few foreign media outlets saw them as "Chinese mob protesters." Some even cast doubt on the righteousness of the whole movement and its ability to strengthen China's claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.
Nevertheless, it is increasingly apparent that rational patriotism is a basic consensus of mainstream Chinese society. This is an important conclusion to draw from the past few days. As more photos, videos and narratives by witnesses are published online, people see what the perpetrators looked like and what motivated their participation.
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