Anti-Japanese rallies in China continue to escalate as protesters in cities across the country have come out in the thousands, marching in front of diplomatic compounds, attacking Japanese businesses and burning Japanese flags (see photos of the destruction here).
The Chinese government has shown no signs of intervening and the unchecked violence has become a double-edged sword as many of the Japanese businesses vandalized were staffed by local employees and contribute to local tax revenue.
Now it seems the protests have begun to take a toll on human life as well: it was revealed on Sunday that at least one Chinese person was trampled to death in a protest and, even more tragic, another person was critically injured after being attacked for driving a Japanese car.
Both incidents were reported on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo on September 16.
The first incident reported was that of a 21-year-old male Chinese university student who lost his life after being trampled on during an anti-Japanese protest in Xi’an city, Shaanxi province on Saturday, September 15.
Soon after, a similar post went up by a person claiming that their uncle had been dragged out of his car and beaten unconscious by self-proclaimed nationalists for driving a Japanese car.
The incident occurred at around 3:30 pm near a junior high school in Xi’an and while the victim is reported to have survived, doctors say he may be left paralyzed on one side of his body. The car was reported to be a Toyota Corolla.
The post was accompanied by a photo of the scene just after the man was beaten, which can be seen below (contains graphic imagery):
The protests began on Tuesday in response to Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands. The uninhabited islands, located in the East China sea, have been at center of a territorial dispute between the two countries for years as sovereignty would grant exclusive access to lucrative oil and mineral reserves as well as fishing rights in the surrounding waters.