China foreign ministry says it has urged Japan to ensure the legal rights of two Hong Kong residents who staged a protest this week at a shrine in Tokyo.
Spokesman Lu Kang did not say whether Beijing considered the protest justified, but urged Japan at a Friday briefing to take responsibility for its actions during World War II.
The two were detained Wednesday after one of them set a fire inside Yasukuni Shrine while the other shot a video that was later posted on Facebook.
The protest came a day ahead of the annual commemoration of the 1937 Nanking Massacre, in which China says 300,000 civilians and disarmed soldiers were killed. Some in the Japanese right wing deny any massacre occurred.