Angered by misconception of Sino-Japanese day

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 September, 1998, 12:00am

For the past two years I have held my tongue during the third week in August, but this year I find that I must speak out against the obscene travesty contained in the name of the Sino-Japanese War Victory Day holiday.

My complaints are two-fold: The compound adjective 'Sino-Japanese' implies that these were the only two nations involved in the massive conflict that the rest of the world chooses to call, albeit a little inaccurately, the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

The term 'Sino-Japanese' thus completely ignores the immense suffering inflicted upon the people of the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Brunei, and Indonesia - not to mention the island nations of the Pacific and Korea which became a Japanese 'colony' as early as 1910.

The noun 'victory' coming after the adjective 'Sino-Japanese' implies that it was the Chinese who were primarily responsible for driving the Japanese out of their once vast 'Southeast Asian Co-prosperity Sphere' and back to the home islands from where they came. I think the history books are quite clear on which nation bore the brunt of that heroic military operation - and it certainly wasn't China.

No, the victory over Japan was made possible primarily by the men and women of the United States Army, the US Navy, the US Marine Corps, and the US Army Air Corps - with a little help from their combat allies the British, the Australians, and the New Zealanders, and the various resistance groups that sprung up in the occupied countries. For any nation to claim otherwise both denigrates the absolutely decisive contribution of the American fighting forces and appropriates a most unjustified glory.

And finally, I am appalled by the hypocrisy of so many in Hong Kong who insist the Chinese Government acknowledge the events in Tiananmen Square in June of 1989 to be a 'massacre' but blithely accept their own Government's perpetuation of a much larger historical injustice with 'Sino-Japanese War Victory Day'.