Japan must face up to past

Updated: 2014-07-08 07:27

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Yunbi(China Daily)

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Reinterpretation of constitution and denials of facts show Abe and his cohorts have not learned the lessons of history

In a speech marking the 77th anniversary of the start of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) on Monday, President Xi Jinping criticized people who "beautify the history of aggression".

"Unfortunately, nearly 70 years after victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the anti-fascist war, there is still a minority group of people who ignore the historical facts, who ignore the tens of millions of lives lost in the war, who go against the tide of history, deny and even beautify the history of aggression and harm international mutual trust and create regional tension," Xi said in a nationally televised speech at Lugou Bridge, also known as the Marco Polo Bridge, in suburban Beijing.

The unusually high-profile ceremony on the anniversary of the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which was the beginning of the war of full-nation resistance against Japanese aggression, was a sharp warning that the current political situation in Japan is reminiscent to that 77 years ago.

Yang Bojiang, deputy chief of the Institute of Japanese Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said "the rare move apparently targets the fact that the authorities in Japan have not learned from past wrongs".

Yang noted that, to serve the political tide of "turning right", Japan's right wing is adjusting laws and policies on the one hand while putting a gloss on history to lay down the basis of the values it needs on the other.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement on July 1 that the country's Self-Defense Forces can fight overseas, marked a radical change in the country's postwar pacifist stance by reinterpreting Article 9 of the Constitution.

And right-wing figures in Japan, including Abe, have been consistently denying that the imperial army routinely committed atrocities, massacred civilians or forced about 200,000 "comfort women" from China, the Korean Peninsula and others, to serve Japanese troops.

Yang said China is not only arguing with Japan on issues of history, but is struggling "for the security of East Asia".

Jiang Feng, chief editor of the Japan-based New-generation Overseas Chinese Newspaper, pointed out that the reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution has "made Japan a country that can restart the Marco Polo Bridge Incident anytime".

Su Zhiliang, a professor on the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression with Shanghai Normal University, said by arranging the commemoration, Beijing is "warning its people and the international community" about the dangerous trends in Japan, which has "pushed Asia to another key juncture in history".

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