Empty shelves are becoming a prominent occurrence in bookstores across China as mounting anti-Japanese sentiment damages the sale of anything Japanese – from vehicles to printed words.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication last week discouraged publishing houses from releasing and selling books by Japanese writers, Chinese books with themes related to Japan and Japanese publications translated into Chinese. The move aims to “unify ideas and grasp a (political) direction,” a senior bureau official told the editors. The bureau denied such instructions in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun. Bookstores in Beijing have already removed books by Japanese authors, according to reports. Copies of Haruki Murakami’s best-seller, “1Q84”, were said to have been carted off bookshelves.

Chinese workers have also turned against their Japanese employers in a walk out after demanding for wage increases, just days after operations were forcibly halted. About 2,000 workers at Canon Inc. walked out last week. Rumors spread that employees were granted an increase of 500 yuan (6300 yen or $80) and a week off with pay. It is still unclear whether the demonstrations are part of protests against Japan or demands for pay hikes, officials from the Japan External Trade Organization told Asahi Shimbun.

China sought measures to rein in anti-Japanese protests but said it would make Japan “responsible” for its actions. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stressed that Beijing would take “effective steps to protect China’s sovereignty and territory”.