Memories of resistance refreshed on Japanese surrender anniversary

GMT 20:17 2015 Sunday ,16 August

Arab Today, arab today Memories of resistance refreshed on Japanese surrender anniversary

People lay flowers to a monument
Taiyuan - XINHUA

Veteran soldier Zhao Jixun was eager to sleep at every break in battles. On August 15, 1945, however, he was too excited to sleep for the whole night.

"I heard the news that Japanese surrendered. I was ecstatic, throwing my hat into the air," the 90-year-old man told Xinhua on Saturday, the 70th anniversary of the victory of China's anti-Japanese war.

Residing in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi province, Zhao said he would never forget the atrocities he saw.

Once, in Baoding, Hebei, the Japanese asked an old woman to call the name of each villager," he recalled. "Those whom she didn't know were executed immediately. At least 100 innocent villagers were killed."

He was also impressed by the bravery of ordinary people who assisted resistance fighters. While Zhao and his fellow soldiers hid in basements, the landlord would rather die than betray their whereabouts.

"Seventy years have passed, I never forget this date," said the old man. "It is time that we celebrated for the victory."


Japan invaded northeast China in September 1931, but historians generally agree that the full-scale invasion began on July 7, 1937, when a bridge that acted as a crucial access point to Beijing was attacked by the Japanese troops.

During the eight years before Japanese surrendered, 35 million Chinese people were killed or wounded. They killed and wounded 1.33 million Japanese, 68 percent of Japanese troops' casualties during World War II.

In Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin province, a seminar was held on Saturday to discuss the relationship between China and Japan after the war.

"The right-wing forces in Japan have always tried to deny the country's wartime crimes," said Zhang Donggang, an official with China's education ministry who attended the seminar. "It is our mission to respond to them with facts."

In northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, an exhibition of some 200 documents and photos was held to tell stories of how people from different ethnic group fought side by side.

According to the documents, people in Xinjiang donated a large sum of money to purchase 10 fighter planes in August 1938 for the Chinese army. A farmer Aysa was too poor to donate money, so he sent his 18-year-old son to the army. "If you don't fight bravely, don't come back," he was recorded as saying.

In Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong province, a book was published on Friday, about Japan's wartime literature.

"Quite a few writers encouraged the militarists with their pens," said Wang Long, author of the book Lies Written by Bayonet.

One example was "The Eternal Zero," which was adapted into a film, reportedly viewed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013.

"They portrayed themselves as victims, turning a blind eye to the victims of their crimes," Wang said.

In Zhijiang county of Hunan, where Chinese army accepted the surrender of the Japanese, a short documentary was shown for the first time in the memorial hall of victory of the Anti-Japanese war and the acceptance of the Japanese surrender.

The 10-minute footage, collected in 2014 from an archives in the United States, included a two-minute record of the surrender ceremony in Zhijiang.

"This marks the end of the war," said Wu Jianhong, curator of the museum. "We showed this not for the purpose of hatred, but for peace, eternal peace."


Two museums about Japan's wartime atrocities opened in northeast China on Saturday.

The Museum of Evidence of War Crimes by Japanese Army Unit 731 is on the site of former headquarters of Japanese army unit 731 in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province. Unit 731 was a biological and chemical warfare research base established in 1935.

The 6,300-square-meter building is home to 13 exhibition rooms, a gallery and an exhibition hall.

At least 3,000 people died at the base between 1939 and 1945 mostly in experiments for the development of biological weapons. Biological weapon killed at least 300,000 people in China.

One of the victims was Zhang Huizhong, who was sent to their in 1941. His son Zhang Kewei learned about the death of his father in 1949.

Living in Jinzhou of Liaoning province, Zhang Kewei visited the museum Saturday, and found his father's name on one of the documents on show.

Another visitor was a Japanese Mori Masataka, who spent 30 years studying Unit 731. He donated some video clips to Harbin in 2008, which he saw in the museum.

"I will bring my friends to the museum," he said. "As a Japanese, I feel sorry for the Chinese victims and their relatives...Hopefully the museum will remind people of the history and make them value peace more."

In Fuxin, Liaoning, a new memorial hall for dead miners also opened on Saturday, with more than 2,000 people attending.

The four exhibition rooms showed 220 pictures and 200 items on the suffering of miners who were forced to work for the Japanese.

A mining company opened on October 1, 1936 in Fuxin by the Japanese, which took about 25.3 million tons of coal and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of miners. More than 70,000 remains were found in mass graves.

Together with three provincial officials, 83-year-old Gao Duoxian unveiled a statue for the memorial hall. The statue showed a cart loaded with miners' helmets.

Gao's father was a miner, and he could still recall the scene when his father was taken away forcibly by Japanese.

"The mourning today is a consolation for relatives of those persecuted by the Japanese," he said. "Let us remember that part of history forever."

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