This past weekend saw matches cancelled in Beijing, Qingdao, and Hangzhou due to it being a “sensitive time”. The CFA offered nothing more in the way of an explanation, but all signs point to this being due to the Anti-Japanese protests that have spread across the country.
Originally, only the match in Beijing was to be cancelled, the announcement coming Friday afternoon and angering many fans. The capital is preparing for the upcoming party meetings to be held next month and a number of events, including the Beijing Marathon, have fallen by the wayside, but cancelling the match a full month before the meetings didn’t seem logical, even in overly safe China. The obvious reason was that it was due to the Anti-Japanese protests over the disputed pile of rocks in the East China Sea. The Japanese Embassy is a short ride from Worker’s Stadium and some, idiotic Guoan fans were talking about bringing the protests into Worker’s Stadium, leading the authorities to cancel the match.
The much talked about Hangzhou Greentown-Shandong Luneng match was cancelled early Saturday morning despite it being played in Hangzhou. Greentown is managed by the top Japanese manager, Takeshi Okada, and even though it was to be played at home, the club was concerned about the manager’s safety. As long as tensions between Japan and China remain high, stoked by the media, it will be hard for Hangzhou to play another match this season.
The last of the match cancellations came late Saturday evening after a day of destruction and lunacy in Qingdao. A Japanese grocery store and car dealership were looted and burned by out of control rioters in that city leading the authorities to decide not to play the next day’s match, trying to avoid anything to stoke tensions.
There has been no word about when the matches will be rescheduled, but it is most likely that these matches will be played midweek at some point in October. Politics and football should never mix and these cancellations have been incredibly frustrating for fans of the clubs, especially those who aren’t caught up in the blind nationalism that is plaguing the country.