After causing a diplomatic row between Japan and China, seven Hong Kong activists were given a hero’s welcome home.

Seven men aboard the fishing boat, called Bao Diao II or “Defend the Diaoyu” II, sailed home from Okinawa, arriving Wednesday and were welcomed by Chinese patriots. The other seven flew to Hong Kong last week.

The fourteen activists attempted to plant a Chinese flag on the Senkaku islands, known as Diaoyu in China, to defend sovereignty over the territories. They were arrested by the Japanese Coast Guard, prompting China’s Foreign Ministry to lodge a protest with Japan. Activists from Japan set foot on the disputed islands to stake their claim, fueling a massive anti-Japan protest. Japan’s plan to deport the activists without pressing criminal charges received criticism from conservative politicians for a “soft stance”.

The activist group announced it plans to return to the disputed islands, Korean media The Chosunilbo reports.