Protests that broke out in northeastern China condemning North Korea's latest nuclear test are spreading to southern parts of the country. Although the protests are not massive, it is rare for rallies to target China's close traditional ally.
The anti-Beijing website Boxun on Sunday reported that crowds of demonstrators from the cities of Shenyang and Dandong near the border with North Korea gathered in front of the North Korean consulate in Shenyang on Saturday and protested against the nuclear test.
Protesters called for tougher economic sanctions and military steps over North Korea's nuclear test, and urged Beijing to halt aid supplies the North.
The protests lasted about 30 minutes and led to no clashes with police. A handful of Chinese human rights activists also protested in downtown Guangzhou in southern China on Saturday condemning the nuclear test.
Earlier, small protests took place in front of the North Korean embassy in Beijing, as well as in Jilin, Changchun and Anhui provinces. Kyodo News said some Chinese netizens posted messages pledging to demonstrate against Beijing's failure to deal more firmly with North Korea, but the rallies never materialized.
The New York Times on Saturday said worsening public sentiment toward North Korea among Chinese is straining the traditionally strong ties between Beijing and Pyongyang.
Jin Qiangyi at Yanbian University said, "The public does not want China to be the sole ally of an evil regime (North Korea). And they do not consider North Korea an ally." Jin added such sentiments will pose a major obstacle to China's leader Xi Jinping.