China is holding back its patriots fearing that ‘too much freedom’ could backfire on the government.

Anti-Japanese sentiment filled the streets of Beijing, underlining the escalating tensions over territorial disputes in the East China Sea. However, the Chinese government is putting on a calm facade as its once-in-a-decade leadership transition approaches. Anti-Japanese activists called the government’s tight grip on protests a sign of a “soft stance”. Wu Qingjun, a protester, told AP: “They need to have a stronger backbone. Our government has failed to protect its own interests”. Several security agents have reportedly scattered across China to prevent planned activism.

China said it is attempting to refrain from further damaging ties. Chinese protesters smashed Japan made police cars in a massive anti-Japan protest, while Japanese restaurants were vandalized in some cities. State run Global Times urged citizens “not to blindly boycott anything Japanese”, reiterating both countries’ bilateral economic interests.