Pro­posed law aims to curb in­sult­ing of he­roes, war vic­tims

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Two Sessions - Wangkai­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn Car­rie Qiu con­trib­uted to this story. Draw­ing Sword:

More than 30 po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers from the worlds of art, cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment have backed a pro­posal call­ing for a law to safe­guard China’s “na­tional dig­nity”.

The move comes af­ter a se­ries of in­ci­dents in which young Chi­nese peo­ple have been ac­cused of dis­re­spect­ing vic­tims of the Nan­jing Massacre by vis­it­ing memo­ri­als and other his­toric lo­ca­tions dressed as im­pe­rial Ja­panese sol­diers.

“Mak­ing fun of a na­tional dis­as­ter or peo­ple’s pain chal­lenges the bot­tom line of jus­tice and hu­man na­ture,” He Yun’ao, a mem­ber of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the 13th Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, said dur­ing a group dis­cus­sion on Thurs­day.

He, who is a his­tory pro­fes­sor at Nan­jing Uni­ver­sity in Jiangsu prov­ince, pro­posed draft­ing a law to de­ter such be­hav­ior. His mo­tion was sup­ported by other mem­bers, in­clud­ing Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial statis­tics, more than 300,000 peo­ple were killed in just six weeks af­ter Ja­panese troops cap­tured Nan­jing on Dec 13, 1937.

This week, a man from Shang­hai was de­tained for the sec­ond time in two months for of­fen­sive re­marks on­line about those who lost their lives.

The 35-year-old, iden­ti­fied only as Meng, was held for 15 days in Fe­bru­ary for say­ing in a WeChat group that the massacre vic­tims had de­served their fates. This month, he was de­tained for an­other eight days for record­ing a video out­side the Memo­rial Hall for the Vic­tims of the Nan­jing Massacre to in­sult the ne­ti­zens who re­ported him.

Also in Fe­bru­ary, two men wear­ing cos­tumes de­signed to look like im­pe­rial Ja­panese mil­i­tary uni­forms took self­ies in front of a his­toric bat­tle­field site in Nan­jing.

Four men in sim­i­lar out­fits also posed for pic­tures in Au­gust out­side Si­hang Ware­house, a Shang­hai land­mark where Chi­nese sol­diers held off in­vaders for days dur­ing the War of Re­sis­tance Against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (1931-45).

Each in­ci­dent re­sulted in a pub­lic out­cry, yet cur­rent law de­fines such ac­tions as dis­turb­ing pub­lic or­der, which car­ries a max­i­mum pun­ish­ment of 15 days in de­ten­tion.

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi de­nounced those who carry out such stunts as “scum” at a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

He Yun’ao, the his­tory pro­fes­sor, said: “We must bring peo­ple’s voices to the two ses­sions. Des­e­crat­ing war he­roes and ex­cus­ing the Ja­panese forces’ atroc­i­ties is a mock­ery to Chi­nese peo­ple’s last­ing re­sis­tance against the in­vaders. It in­sults our na­tional dig­nity. I’m not tar­get­ing the in­di­vid­u­als but look­ing for rea­son­able so­lu­tions.”

In­sult­ing the na­tional flag, an­them or em­blem are now crimes in China, and He said his pro­posed law would give “na­tional dig­nity” equal sta­tus.

“We still need more solid le­gal ref­er­ences when talk­ing about how to pun­ish those who pub­licly pro­mote fas­cism or Ja­panese mil­i­tarism, or who in­sult rev­o­lu­tion­ary mar­tyrs and na­tional he­roes,” he added.

Actor and di­rec­tor Zhang Guang­bei was among the po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers who backed the pro­posal. To show his sup­port, he quoted a line from his best-known role, as gen­eral Chu Yun­fei in

“Na­tional in­ter­ests should come above all else.”

TV di­rec­tor Zheng Xiao­long added that the un­re­al­is­tic por­tray­als of com­bat in some re­cent Chi­nese pro­duc­tions made the war eight decades ago look like a game and had neg­a­tively in­flu­enced view­ers’ per­cep­tions.

Feng Yuanzheng, an actor from Bei­jing Peo­ple’s Art The­atre, also en­dorsed the pro­posal and said the is­sue re­flected prob­lems in ed­u­ca­tion.

“Of­fend­ers can­not be ex­plained away as naive,” he said. “It will harm our coun­try if the young gen­er­a­tion blindly ad­mires for­eign cul­tures. There should be rules to let peo­ple know where the red line is.”

WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY

Huang Zhix­ian, pres­i­dent of the All-China Fed­er­a­tion of Tai­wan Com­pa­tri­ots and a deputy to the 13th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, pre­sides over a ple­nary meet­ing of the Tai­wan del­e­ga­tion in Bei­jing on Fri­day.

He Yun’ao, his­tory pro­fes­sor at Nan­jing Uni­ver­sity and CPPCC Na­tional Com­mit­tee mem­ber

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