Anti-Japan protests swell in China over disputed islands (PHOTO GALLERY)

(EDITORS NOTE - IMAGE SHOT ON THE HIPSTAMATIC IPHONE APPLICATION) Demonstrators hold flags and a portrait of Chairman Mao (C) during an anti-Japanese protest over the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, outside the Japan Embassy on September 15, 2012 in Beijing, China. There were protests in many major cities in China, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Hangzhou, Harbin, Qingdao and Hong Kong.


Feng Li

Anti-Japan protests outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing escalated Saturday, with protesters throwing rocks, eggs, and bottles as police guarded the building with shields and batons. 

Protests against Japan in the wake of escalating tensions over the disputed islands in the East China sea also broke out in at least 11 other cities across China, as tensions between the two nations reached new highs, Reuters reported

NPR cited protests in at least 20 other cities, many of which started earlier in the week. 

"Armed police and police officers have been dispatched to protest sites to maintain order," Xinhua said in its first mention of the protests, according to Reuters.

The frayed relations between Japan and China have been further strained over the Senkaku islands (referred to as the Diaoyu in Chinese) after Japan reportedly "bought" the disputed land from a private owner this week. China then briefly sent six surveillance ships to the area surrounding the islands, BBC News reported.

Though Japan has been in control of the resource-rich islands, which are uninhabited, for decades, China has taken the purchase as a symbol of Japan's unwillingness to negotiate over the land, the Associated Press reported

More from GlobalPost: Japan and China: tensions escalate; in a reportedly related incident, noodle soup is thrown

Thousands of protesters were gathered outside the Embassy in Beijing, and were also seen burning Japanese flags, the AP reported. A few demonstrators made it through the police barricade but were taken away by plainclothes police.

Some shouted slogans like "Return our islands! Japanese devils get out!"

One protester was holding a sign that read: "For the respect of the motherland, we must go to war with Japan," according to Reuters. 

Japan's foreign minister also reportedly cut a trip to Australia short to return to Tokyo amidst the conflict's escalation.

Though relations between the two Asian countries have blossomed for years following Japan's aggression against China in the 30s and 40s, they became fraught in 2010 after Japanese Coast Guard officials arrested a Chinese captain whose boat collided with their fleet.  

"China can forget about Sino-Japanese economic integration and instead impose political and economic sanctions on Japan," read an opinion piece in China Daily. "On the diplomatic front, China's strategic competition with Japan should be direct until Japan unconditionally accepts the post-World War II order in East Asia." 

More from GlobalPost: China livid after Japan 'buys' disputed Senkaku Islands from private owner

Related Stories