'Never forget' plea by war veterans

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2005, 12:00am

Hong Kong people were told yesterday never to forget how China had suffered during the Japanese invasion in the second world war and that victory had made it a stronger nation.

Visiting veterans who fought in the war and witnessed Japanese atrocities also described activists in Hong Kong as 'patriots' for their plans to travel to the disputed Diaoyu Islands in support of Chinese sovereignty.

Visiting the city as part of the official delegation to host an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of the victory over Japan, the veterans - all in their 80s or 90s - told how their lives had been changed forever when the Japanese started the war.

'We should never forget what the Japanese did to our compatriots,' said Cai Zhibin, 93. 'My hatred towards the Japanese will never go away.'

Abandoning his native Singapore and travelling to China to join volunteers against the Japanese invasion in 1932, Mr Cai took part in numerous campaigns, killing countless invaders in his role as a machine-gunner.

Colleague Yin Xiufung, 81, who had an anti-Japanese war-propaganda film modelled on him for his distinguished war service, told how China fought back and won the war despite the Japanese having technological superiority.

'We used our brains and courage to win the war, while the other side relied only on its weapons,' Mr Yin said. He also accused Japan of trying to 'whitewash' its history of war atrocities.

Du Xiuming, 80, who fought as an armed agent behind enemy lines, said Hong Kong activists who are planning another voyage to Diaoyus next month were 'true patriots'.

The exhibition, organised by the National Museum of China, will be opened today by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa in the China Resources Building in Wan Chai. The exhibits include hundreds of pictures and artefacts.