More than 70 years after its conclusion, China’s bitter and lengthy “War Against Japanese Aggression” just got six years longer.
At the beginning of the upcoming Spring semester, the “Eight-year Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression” will become the “14-year Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression” in textbooks across the country, according to the Ministry of Education. Presumably, much to the annoyance of students who have had the term “eight-year war of resistance” drilled into their heads since primary school.
The ministry says that the revision has been made in order to “strengthen patriotic education” and highlight “the spirit of the Chinese nation in defying brutality and fighting against aggression.”
In the past, China had always counted the Sino-Japanese War as beginning on July 7th, 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident; however, students will soon be taught that in fact the war with Japan began six years earlier, on September 18th, 1931 with the Mukden Incident, a staged explosion in the Manchurian city of Mukden (now Shenyang) which Japan used as a pretext for its invasion and occupation of Manchuria.
Last year marked the 85th anniversary of the Mukden Incident and showed that time had done little to diminish the bad memories that the incident carries in the minds of many Chinese. The anniversary inspired one company to ban its employees from purchasing the new iPhone7 and caused a wax likeness of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a Hitler mustache to pop up in a Shenyang shopping mall.
Of course, China never wastes a good opportunity to remember its hard-fought war against Japanese invaders. In 2015, Beijing marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a massive military parade, commemorating world peace by showing off many of its latest weapons.
In the lead-up to that parade, anti-Japanese sentiment ran high with Chinese tourists shooting “Japanese devils” with water guns and bows and arrows. Even more anti-Japan war dramas filled Chinese airwaves and one Henan tourist site even encouraged visitors to punish “Japanese war criminals” with a slap or punch.
In the past, patriotic Chinese have also taken revenge for their country by crashing into Japanese cars and leaving the faucet running while staying at Japanese hotels. Now that six more years of persecution have been tacked on to the injustices, we’ll have to see how they respond.
[Images via englishworldwar2.weebly.com]
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat