7 Chinese activists return to HK

Updated: 2012-08-17 21:26


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HONG KONG - Seven of the 14 Chinese activists illegally detained by Japanese police for landing on the Diaoyu Islands Wednesday arrived at Hong Kong by plane at around 07:50 pm local time Friday.

The seven people include five activists and two journalists. Of the five activists, three are from Hong Kong, one from the Chinese mainland and one from Macao. Their plane took off from Naha airport in southwest Japan at around 06:40 pm local time Friday.

The other group of seven have also boarded a plane of Japan Coast Guard to fly to Ishigaki Island where their vessel was detained and will return later Friday by their boat, according to local media reports.  

The Japanese Cabinet announced Friday morning that it had decided to release all the 14 Chinese activists.

China's Foreign Ministry said later Friday that China holds a " firm stance" over the Diaoyu Islands, and any of Japan's unilateral moves against Chinese nationals is illegal and invalid.

The 14 Chinese activists, despite obstruction by Japan Coast Guard patrol ships, arrived at the Diaoyu Islands by a Hong Kong fishing vessel on Wednesday to assert China's territorial claim to the islands. They were arrested by Japanese police on suspicion of "illegal entry".