Chinese Activists Deported from Japan

Posted August 17th, 2012 at 10:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The first group of Chinese activists has arrived in Hong Kong after being deported by Japan.

Five activists and two television journalists received a hero's welcome when they landed on a flight from Okinawa. They are part of a group of 14 Chinese arrested after landing on an island claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing.

The group travelled to the island in the East China Sea Wednesday, planting a Chinese flag and singing the country's national anthem before being arrested and accused of violating Japanese immigration laws.

Beijing had demanded that the activists be unconditionally released.

The uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyo in Chinese, are a frequent flashpoint between Tokyo and Beijing. They are located in a gas-rich area and surrounded by rich fishing grounds.

The islands were administered by the United States from the end of World War Two until they were transferred back to Japan in 1972. They represent not only important natural resources, but also a source of national pride in both Japan and China.