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A textbook sparked off the worst anti-Japanese demonstrations in China since the two nations normalised relations in 1972.

According to the Chinese, the school textbook cleared by the Japanese education ministry in early April deliberately distorts Japanese war-time atrocities like the Nanking massacre of 1937, the use of slave labour, and the practice of forcing females from occupied countries to act as 'comfort women' for Japanese troops.

The protests spread to several cities, including Shanghai and Hong Kong. Over 20,000 took the streets in Shanghai. Astonishing conduct in a country where demonstrations are strictly prohibited!

In Beijing, Japanese officials said Chinese police stood by as over a thousand slogan-shouting demonstrators stoned the Japanese embassy April 16, breaking several windows.

Demonstrators at an anti-Japanese rally April 17 in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. 'Kill the Japanese,' many were heard chanting.

Text: Ramananda Sengupta. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images. Design: Rahil Shaikh.

Also read: Bridge of friendship

Additional Insight: Nationalism and the China-Japan Conflict

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