AT A restaurant just up the street from Japan’s embassy on Sunday, September 23rd, local diners were lining up to take advantage of a regular weekend buffet that features tempura, sashimi, sushi and other Japanese delicacies. Just inside the door stood two prominently displayed Chinese national flags. Restaurant staff said business was getting back to normal, but added that it might recover more quickly if both ends of their street were not still blocked off by military-style barricades and police standing watch in full riot gear.
The anti-Japanese protests which roiled several Chinese cities last week have subsided, but the situation remains tense. The emotion and vitriol unleashed against Japan during last week’s demonstrations was a reminder that anti-Japanese nationalism remains a potent—and potentially destabilising—force in China.