BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese internet users are calling for tough measures to enforce China’s new airspace defense zone over waters disputed with Japan, with many saying only war will teach Japan not to mess with Chinese sovereignty.
China published coordinates for an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone over the weekend and warned it would take “defensive emergency measures” against aircraft that failed to identify themselves properly in the airspace.
Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers on a training mission flew over the disputed waters on Monday night EST without informing Beijing while Japan’s two biggest airlines also flew through the zone on Wednesday.
The area, about two thirds the size of Britain, covers the skies over uninhabited islands at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute between China and close U.S. ally Japan.
The resulting war of words between Beijing, Tokyo and Washington following the announcement has only deepened the intense dislike many Chinese have of Japan, due largely to what China feels is Japan’s lack of contrition at its brutal occupation of part of China before and during World War Two.
With strict government controls generally preventing people from taking to the streets to express their anger - though there were torrid anti-Japan protests last year - Chinese have flocked to the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service to make their voices heard.
“You little Japanese are shameless. Our military ought to fiercely strike you down, attacking until you admit the error of your ways and until you give our land back to us,” wrote a Weibo user who identified himself as Hong Zaixing.
“We must attack them - I’m willing to sign up,” wrote Hong Yindou.
Others said that China should suspend all economic links with Japan.
“Boycott Japanese goods, kill the thieves,” wrote “snakes watching ants”.
“The best method would be to cut off all economic exchanges with Japan. Within a year they would collapse,” added “Jilisi hot”.
China’s Defense Ministry said it monitored the B-52s’ flight, adding that it had the ability to “effectively manage and control” the zone, but made no threat of retaliation.
Some Weibo users said stronger action was needed.
“Lodging protests won’t get you anywhere. We must take real action. Nobody is scared of protests,” wrote “gongzhuai521”.
Retired Major General Luo Yuan, one of China’s most outspoken military figures, wrote on his Weibo account that China had to enforce the zone with force if necessary.
“It must be enforced to the full, and no country must think that they can harbor the idea of leaving things to chance,” he wrote.
“If they refuse to comply, and act willfully despite advice to the contrary ... China’s armed forces will take emergency defensive measures.”
Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Huang Yan; Editing by Nick Macfie