New York, Sept. 16 (CNA) More than 1,000 people of Chinese descent rallied in front of the Consulate-General of Japan in New York City Sunday to protest the Japanese government's unilateral nationalization of the disputed Diaoyutai Islands.
The rally was organized by mainland Chinese groups, but many Taiwanese expatriates also attended the rally. This led to a rare scene of the national flags of the Republic of China (ROC) -- as Taiwan is officially known-- and the People's Republic of China (PRC) -- as China is officially known -- flying simultaneously at the same event.
The Taiwanese protesters, some dressed in the colors of the ROC national flag, joined other demonstrators in chanting anti-Japan slogans such as "Get out of the Diaoyuta Islands" and "Return the Diaoyutais to us."
Paper Japanese flags and posters with a sun-ray motif symbolizing Japan were distributed to the demonstrators to be torn up in a show of anger at the Japanese government's controversial move.
Located some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, the Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and Senkaku Islands in Japan, have been under Japan's administration since 1972 but they are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
Ning Yo-ming, a Taiwanese expatriate, said the Diaoyutais are indisputably an inherent part of Chinese territory. People of Chinese descent, no matter whether they are from Taiwan, Hong Kong or mainland China, should stand up together to protect Chinese territory, Ning said.
"That's why I have joined my wife and other relatives and friends to attend the rally to voice our protest against Japan's move," he said.
The long-simmering Diaoyutai territorial row reached a new level last week, when the Japanese government bought three of the uninhabited group of islets from their private owner in an attempt to reinforce its sovereignty claim.
The move has since triggered protests in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and in Chinese communities in major U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and New York.
Mainland Chinese expatriates in Washington, D.C. also staged a protest in front of the Embassy of Japan in the United States on Sunday.
Some 500 demonstrators attended the rally, at which a protest letter to Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki was read.
The letter urged Japan to immediately stop any irresponsible provocative actions, including any form of "purchase" or "nationalization" of the Diaoyutai Islands. None of the Japan embassy staff appeared to accept the protest letter.
Police were present to maintain law and order at the one-hour protest that ended peacefully.
Taiwanese expatriates in the United States are also planning various activities to protest Japan's nationalization of the Diaoyutais, sources said.
(By Leaf Chiang, Lin Shu-yuan and Sofia Wu)