UK & World News
China: Protests Spread Over Japan Islands Row
Angry protests have continued in China on the 81st anniversary of the Japanese invasion.
Tensions have reached a new high between the countries over the disputed ownership of islands in the East China Sea.
Activists based in Hong Kong had hoped to use the anniversary to sail to the islands to try to re-claim them for China.
They landed there a month ago, successfully planting the Chinese flag before being arrested and deported by Japanese coastguards.
Now they want to sail again - but the authorities have stalled their plans refusing to grant them permission to leave Hong Kong harbour.
Activist David Ho told Sky News he believed the decision was politically motivated because the vessel had passed its sea-worthiness test and technically should be allowed to leave port.
But it's clear if the activists reach the disputed islands again, this time they risk much more than just being deported.
In recent weeks both the Japanese and the Chinese have upped the stakes by sending patrol vessels to the area to protect their interests.
There are fears the activists could spark a clash which could easily spiral out of control leading ultimately to war.
Sitting here on the deck of the activists' boat a police harbour patrol passes by.
It is under watch from the authorities - pretty much impounded and unable to leave until officials in Beijing give the go-ahead.
China has also been carrying out military drills in the East China Sea - a clear military message to Japan that it is flexing its muscles.
Meanwhile there have been more street protests in Hong Kong and also in the Chinese capital Beijing where large numbers of demonstrators gathered outside the Japanese Embassy.
Over the weekend there were demonstrations in more than 80 Chinese towns and cities.
China is experiencing a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment which has resulted in businesses temporarily closing down after coming under attack.
Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Canon and Panasonic have all suspended or scaled back their production in China.
Hundreds of Japanese-owned shops have shut down and Japanese people have been told to maintain a low profile while Japanese children have been kept off school in China.
Decades of feelings remain raw over the perceived failure by Japan to properly apologise for war-time atrocities.
Both sides are clearly pushing each other over the disputed ownership of the islands.
The Chinese refer to them as Diaoyu and the Japanese as Senkaku.
They are rich in natural resources but the outcome of the conflict is also seen as a symbol of regional strength.
China is the dominant East Asian power in this part of the world - the queen bee which the other countries in the Asia-Pacific region rely on economically.
Japan certainly needs China more than China does Japan and until now China has put aside its war-time bitterness when it comes to business to foster strong economic ties with Japan.
But this is a point in history when China wants to use its regional leverage to underline its dominance.
It knows the US and Japan have a military alliance and China needs to appear strong too - which all goes to underline the real concerns about how the stand-off will end.
It's a loaded territorial dispute which means much more than a fight over tiny bits of land in the sea.