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Adam Minter

Barren Islands Bring China to a Boil

On Sunday morning, thousands of people in at least six major Chinese cities took to the streets to engage in anti-Japanese protests that became, in some cases, riots.

The official target of the protests was Japan's claim to a chain of islands in the East China Sea to which China also alleges ownership. The less official, but no less important, target was the Chinese Communist Party -- and its ability to serve as a steward of China’s national interests. With many Chinese voicing doubts about whether the Party is capable of protecting the disputed islands, China’s foreign policy is facing a crisis of legitimacy.