Four years after being beaten harshly during anti-Japan demonstrations, one of the victims remains traumatized, but experts warned that similar situations might resurface amid global political changes.
Li Jianli, 55, still undergoes rehabilitation at a hospital in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province after he was hit by a heavy U-shaped lock at a large rally against Japan for attempting to "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands in 2012, a WeChat account affiliated with the Beijing-based newspaper Legal Mirror reported Monday.
Li said he still suffers from insomnia and nightmares after four years of treatment.
The attacker, Cai Yang, 25, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2013 after he fractured Li's skull and smashed his Toyota Corolla with the lock, the report added. Cai was ordered to pay 258,860 yuan ($42,220) in damages.
Li received a 520,000-yuan relief fund from local authorities in August as Cai could not afford the compensation.
According to the Legal Mirror report, Cai was a fan of anti-Japanese war themed TV series, and sometimes even shouted "fight, fight, fight" while watching the show.
Dozens of people were arrested around China for their violent behavior during the protests, a majority of whom were in their 20s, the Legal Daily reported in 2012.
Though the motive of similar patriotic moves is understandable, as patriotism has been a significant value in China for thousands of years, expressing it should be in a rational way, Jiang Lifeng, a research fellow on Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
Calling the demonstrations in 2012 as arising from "twisted patriotism," Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, told the Global Times on Monday that the protesters mistook Japanese people and the country's products as targets to vent their hatred for Japan's militarism.
He noted that the risk of another wave of violent demonstrations still exists, as the "twisted patriotism and blind xenophobia have not changed."
Su added that the next trigger might be "Japan's new tricks on territorial disputes or 'Taiwan independence' that could be hyped during the term of pro-independence Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen.