US Ambassador to China's car damaged after anti-Japan protesters mob his vehicle


Chinese policeman stops a protester from throwing an egg as he marches during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu islands issue outside the Japan Embassy on September 15, 2012 in Beijing, China.


Lintao Zhang

Anti-Japan protesters mobbed the US Ambassador to China's car Tuesday, forcing security guards to intervene outside the Beijing Embassy. 

62-year-old Gary Locke was leaving the US Embassy when he was apparently accosted by around 50 protesters who had been gathered outside the nearby Japanese Embassy, reports the Telegraph. His car was slightly damaged in the fray. 

China and Japan are at each others throats over the eternally-controversial Senkaku Island chain (known as the Diaoyu's in China), which China wants and which Japan recently purchased from a private owner.

Read more from GlobalPost: Panasonic, Canon suspend operations at Chinese plants

Protests over the islands have continued for days in both China and Japan, and Japanese business interests have been attacked, forcing both Panasonic and Canon to suspend operations at their Chinese plants. 

Although Locke was unhurt, it's another disturbing incident of violence against US interests abroad, coming hot on the heels of the death of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and the dramatic storming of the US Embassy in Cairo. 

Tuesday also had rather unfortunate timing: it was the 81st anniversary of the Mukden or Manchurian incident, a staged pretext that allows Japanese troops to begin their invasion of northern China, an event considered a day of shame by the Chinese. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Fresh anti-Japan protests break out across China 

On Wednesday, Chinese vice president Xi Jingping called Japan's purchase of the contest islands a "farce," reported Xinhua, and demanded Japan cease behavior that infringed upon China's "sovereignty."

(Note that Xinhua is putting the word "purchase" in quotation marks, in reference to Japan's acquisition....)

"Japan should rein in its behavior and stop any words and acts that undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Xi told US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this week.