Fanning the flames of public rage: coverage of Diaoyu Islands dispute in Chinese legacy media

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


In 1971 the Chinese government issued a declaration that claimed Japan had “colluded” with the United States to “seize” the Diaoyu islands. The declaration asserted: “This is obviously an invasion of China’s territorial sovereignty, the people of China cannot accept this!”1 The controversy was kept alive over several decades as the Chinese media reported on various public protests and other incidents that reminded the Chinese public of the importance of these islands. For example, in 2003, Chinese activists landed on the islands and unfurled banners asserting China’s sovereignty,2 and in 2010 Japanese authorities captured a Chinese fishing boat and detained its crew near the islands.3 The issue really captured the attention of the Chinese public in August 2012, after the Japanese government announced a plan to purchase the disputed islands from their private owners. The announcement sparked protests across China, and provoked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to declare: “This plan disregards historical fact, violates international law and seriously hurts the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese people; both the Chinese government and the Chinese people are resolutely opposed to this plan.”4 The renewed focus on the Diaoyu islands led to the greatest tension to have emerged between China and Japan in decades.5 The controversy not only ruptured diplomatic relations between China and Japan but trade between the two nations was also “seriously damaged.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe disputed Islands in the East China Sea: how media narratives shape public opinions and challenge the global economy
EditorsThomas A. Hollihan
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages118
ISBN (Electronic)9781137443366
ISBN (Print)9781137443359
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Chinese Government
  • Japanese Government
  • Ming Dynasty
  • Chinese Edition
  • Xinhua News Agency


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