Yes, it’s true. The rally in Changsha on Saturday did turn into a full-fledged riot. I already shared my images from the weekend here, but I wanted to give space today to all the amazing pictures and videos taken by my friends throughout the city.
The following three videos were taken by my boss, Jared, from his apartment just above the riots.
What I mainly took away from this weekend is two things. First, disappointment. The Pinghe Tang building is Japanese owned (that is why the people chose that spot to gather), but the business inside are all Chinese owned and staffed. The cars in the video being destroyed are Chinese owned. It is terrifying to see the Chinese turning on their own people. They are so blinded by hatred and ignorance they don’t even see that they are only hurting themselves and each other. This in no way sends a message to the Japanese other than ‘the Chinese are crazy.’ I have no problem with peaceful protests. In fact, China needs more protests (corruption, inequality, and human rights are a few places to start), but when it turns to destruction of property and attacking people, then the protest has lost all meaning.
The second thing I take away from this is that all foreigners need to be careful out there! The Starbucks isn’t Japanese, but in blind fury, all foreigners can become a target. Tomorrow is September 18th, a common anti-Japanese sentiment day since it marks the anniversary of the invasion of Manchuria during the second Sino-Japanese war. Also, National Day, to celebrate the day the PRC was established in 1949, is coming up on October 1st. So nationalistic fervor is high and will only escalate over the coming weeks.