Pass­ing of me­mo­rial days hailed

Min­istry says Sept 3, Dec 13 act as re­minders of Ja­panese atroc­i­ties

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YUNBI and QIN JIZE

Ex­perts in China and around the globe hailed the de­ci­sion by China’s top leg­is­la­ture on Thurs­day to rat­ify two new na­tional days re­gard­ing Ja­pan’s war­time atroc­i­ties in China.

Sept 3 — the day af­ter Ja­pan of­fi­cially sur­ren­dered in 1945 — was des­ig­nated as vic­tory day and Dec 13 was made a na­tional me­mo­rial day for vic­tims of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre.

The Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional People’s Congress said there is world­wide recog­ni­tion of Ja­pan’s “in­hu­man mas­sacre” that be­gan on Dec 13, 1937, and re­sulted in the deaths of more than 300,000 people in more than 40 days.

“This is an act of fas­cist sav­agery that dis­re­gards hu­man­ity,” the com­mit­tee said.

The For­eign Min­istry said the rat­i­fi­ca­tion serves as a “re­minder of his­tory” and a sign of the “Chi­nese people’s firm will to safe­guard na­tional sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity”.

On Thurs­day, De­fense Min­istry spokesman Yang Yu­jun re­buked Ja­panese Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga for a com­ment the day be­fore that Ja­pan was “feel­ing puz­zled” about the rat­i­fi­ca­tion com­ing decades later.

“We re­mem­ber the his­tory, and are not for fan­ning ha­tred again,” Yang said. “What has re­ally puz­zled us is that so many years have passed since World War II, so why have some people in Ja­pan per­sisted in de­fy­ing the ver­dict of his­tory?”

Jiro Hon­zawa, a Ja­panese po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor, said the rat­i­fi­ca­tion is event­ful, and “it is of ne­ces­sity” for the vic­tim­ized Asian coun­tries to pro­vide suf­fi­cient ed­u­ca­tion to younger gen­er­a­tions.

Hon­zawa also un­der­scored the same sig­nif­i­cance to the Ja­panese pub­lic, be­cause the me­mo­rial days call upon them to re­flect on the his­tory and join hands with the Chi­nese to seek world peace and “say no to cam­paigns that try to de­rail Ja­pan’s pol­i­tics”.

Marceli Bur­del­ski, a pro­fes­sor at the Cen­ter for East Asian Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Gdansk in Poland, said he thinks the set­ting of the two me­mo­rial days aims to ed­u­cate de­scen­dants and that that pe­riod of his­tory should “take deep root in the mem­ory of all the peace lovers of the world”.

Zhou Yong­sheng, a pro­fes­sor of Ja­panese stud­ies at China For­eign Af­fairs Univer­sity, said that “in re­cent years, some right-wingers in Ja­pan have at­tempted to white­wash his­tory with lu­di­crous ar­gu­ments, claim­ing that Ja­pan was forced into the wars by the United States.”

Zhou said the war was a com­po­nent of the global ef­fort to elim­i­nate fas­cism in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, and that Ja­pan “should al­ways pay a hum­ble at­ti­tude to­ward the his­tory”, not the op­po­site.

Ste­fan Geiger, ex­ec­u­tive of the Ger­many-based eco­nomic and cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tion Chi­nafo­rum Bay­ern, lauded the leg­isla­tive de­ci­sion and said that “other­wise, the his­tory will be for­got­ten”.

Zhao Long, a for­mer na­tional po­lit­i­cal ad­viser who first sub­mit­ted the pro­posal to com­mem­o­rate the vic­tims of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre in 2005, ex­pected that “the Nan­jing Mas­sacre Me­mo­rial Hall can be listed as a na­tional me­mo­rial hall and ap­ply for a world her­itage list­ing by the UN”.

Zhu Cheng­shan, cu­ra­tor of the Me­mo­rial Hall of the Vic­tims of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre, said the hall will be ex­panded this year and that work­ers have been sent to col­lect more ma­te­rial about the mas­sacre.

“Though it hap­pened in 1937, it is not too late to mark the mas­sacre vic­tims now be­cause Ja­pan is still deny­ing the his­tory of in­va­sion,” he said. Con­tact the writer at zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily. com.cn Xin­hua, Cang Wei in Nan­jing, Wang Zhuolun and He Liu in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Tourists visit the Me­mo­rial Hall of the Vic­tims of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre in Nan­jing on Wed­nes­day. China’s top leg­is­la­ture rat­i­fied two new na­tional re­mem­brance days on Thurs­day.

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