BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese protesters vented anger against Japan Saturday when they took to the streets to assert China's claim to sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.
More than 2,000 college students gathered in downtown Chengdu, capital of the southwestern Sichuan Province, at around 2 p.m., unfurling banners and shouting "Defend the Diaoyu Islands," "Fight Japan" and other slogans.
More people joined the protest and the procession marched through some of the city's main streets, with some protestors distributing Chinese national flags.
The protest ended at about 3:30 p.m.. No violence has been reported.
In Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, more than 7,000 college students marched, holding flags, banners and shouting slogans such as "Diaoyudao is China's" and "Boycott Japanese goods."
The protestors sang the Chinese national anthem while marching peacefully. Some set fire on Japanese national flags.
When demonstrators were breaking into a Mizuno sportswear shop, riot police rushed to the site and put the situation under control.
All Japanese shops along the route of the protest had closed, local police authority told Xinhua.
In Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, college students thronged to a downtown square at about 2 p.m. and then marched through the city, shouting "Long live the motherland," "Return the Diaoyu Islands to China."
Some protestors said they learned about the protest on the Internet and gathered there voluntarily to support a previous protest in Shanghai.
The students left the scene at around 4:40 and returned to campus, ending the more than three-hour protest.
Police were stationed along the routes of the protests, but no clashes had took place.
China-Japan relations have been strained since a collision occurred between two Japanese Coast Guard patrol ships and a Chinese trawler on Sept. 7 in the East China Sea off the Diaoyu Islands, over which China claims sovereignty.
In Tokyo, right-wing groups had planned to mobilize 3,000 people to gather in front of the Chinese Ambassy to "clarify Japanese's attitude on the issue," according to a report on ifeng.com.
China-Japan relations are experiencing an era of frequent turbulance that would last for ten to 15 years as China's rising economic and political power have triggered discontent among Japanese people, said Yan Xuetong, director of the International Studies Center at Tsinghua University.
Both sides have tried to avoid deep-rooted problems and focus on common interests, but it would just worsen instability in bilateral ties, Yan said.