China’s top legislature on Thursday ratified two new national memorial days, one marking “War Against Japanese Aggression Victory Day” and the other commemorating victims of the Nanjing Massacre.
September 3 will mark Victory Day and December 13 will be the national memorial day for massacre victims. The decision was made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The committee says this is to remember the harm caused to the Chinese people, convey China’s stance against aggression, safeguard human dignity and preserve world peace.
China’s Defense Ministry says there have always been forces in Japan who want to reverse historical judgments and challenge the post-war order. China urges Japan to reflect on its actions and face up to history.
Last week, China announced that it was considering sending to the UNESCO heritage project some recently disclosed documents detailing cruelties dealt by the Japanese military during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, or the Rape of Nanking, in which an estimated 300,000 people, including civilians and unarmed soldiers, were killed by Imperial Japanese forces.
The news followed controversy rising from a statement recently made by Naoki Hyakuta, a member of Japan’s public broadcasting company, who joined the likes of Tokyo’s former governor Shintaro Ishihara and others before him in saying that Nanjing Massacre “never happened”.
Many Chinese feel that Japan never fully atoned for the atrocities of World War II, and following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the Chinese government has allegedly said that it wants to highlight the war and Germany’s public contrition for the Nazi regime during President Xi Jinping’s trip to Germany next month as a way to embarrass Japan.
On the recent decision to ratify the commemorative days, Yang Yujun, spokesman of Chinese Ministry of National Defense said: “The reason we remember history is not for hatred. The World War II is in the past and history has already made verdict on Japan’s wartime aggression. So why do some people in Japan still want to overturn that historical verdict, and still visit the Yasukuni shrine, offering sacrifices to class A war criminals. We urge Japan to face up to and reflect on its post-war responsibility, and to earn the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community through concrete actions, instead of making irresponsible remarks about normal commemorations in countries that were victims of war.”
Japanenese top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that he didn’t understand why the holidays were approved so long after the war, according to AAP.
“I can’t deny there is a question why they have to set up these commemoration days more than 60 years after the war,” he said.
“But this is a domestic matter for China, so the government declines to comment on it,” he added, pressing that “Japan’s position on World War II has not changed a bit, and Japan has followed the path of peaceful nationhood since the end of the war, which has been highly commended by the international community.”
Xinhua noted that the Chinese government already designated September 3 as victory day in 1951, but didn’t explain why the decision was re-ratified.
[Image via News.cn]