Chinese students protest Japan; rare earth "ban" still in effect?

There wasn't much in the way of protests before, but now they're starting.

Thousands in China hold anti-Japan protests
Photos from the southwestern city of Chengdu and the central city of Zhengzhou show hundreds of people marching with banners and signs protesting Japan's claim on what China calls the Diaoyu islands. Japan calls them the Senkaku islands.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said more than 2,000 protested in Chengdu and thousands of college students gathered in the northern city of Xian.

The report was in English only. The protests were not reported in Chinese-language state media.
China’s Ban on Selling Rare Earth Minerals to Japan Continues
The commerce minister, Chen Deming, suggested instead in a television interview on Sept. 26 that Chinese entrepreneurs in the rare earth industry might have halted shipments because of their own feelings toward Japan.

Thirty-two companies in China have export licenses for rare earth minerals, and 10 of them are foreign. Mr. Deming did not address why the 10 foreign companies would have strong feelings toward Japan, or why all companies in the Chinese industry halted shipments on the same day, Sept. 21.

Throughout the halt on exports of rare earth minerals, China has allowed exports of manufactured products that use them, like powerful magnets, and highly purified rare earth metals. Japan is the largest importer of rare earth minerals and ores. Japanese companies use them to make a wide range of technology products and have been reluctant to import manufactured goods from China instead.
And to round it out...

U.S. says Chinese businesses and banks are bypassing U.N. sanctions against Iran
The Obama administration has concluded that Chinese firms are helping Iran to improve its missile technology and develop nuclear weapons, and has asked China to stop such activity, a senior U.S. official said.

During a visit to Beijing last month, a delegation led by Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, handed a "significant list" of companies and banks to their Chinese counterparts, according to the senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue in U.S.-Chinese relations. The official said the Obama administration thinks that the companies are violating U.N. sanctions, but that China did not authorize their activities.
Politicians looking for an excuse for protectionism can take their pick...

Update: Here are some photos from a protest outside an Ito Yokado department store in Chengdu, with a smashed window.

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