Premier visits Zhou Enlai memorial

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 April, 2007, 12:00am

Premier Wen Jiabao visited a restored monument dedicated to predecessor Zhou Enlai to show China's sincerity about repairing the Sino-Japanese ties that the late leader played a key role in normalising.

'I have a special feeling about laying flowers here,' Mr Wen said on the final day of his three-day trip.

'Premier Zhou was not only a premier beloved by the Chinese people, but also a pioneer in promoting peace and friendship between China and Japan. We honour the memory of premier Zhou today, which means we should push forward the cause of building Sino-Japanese friendship and co-operation,' he said. 'The flowers of China-Japan friendship will become much brighter.'

The stone monument is engraved with a poem, Arashiyama in the Rain, which Zhou wrote when he studied in Japan from 1917 to 1919. Before leaving the island nation, the then ambitious 21-year-old visited scenic Arashiyama - an exclusive district on the western outskirts of Kyoto - in spring, with a steady rain and the area's breathtaking beauty inspiring him to write the poem.

He penned the famous sentence 'rays of sunshine shall break through the clouds' to express his joy at enlightenment, following a period of spiritual puzzlement and searching for ways to realise his aspirations to revitalise the Chinese nation.

Zhou made his famous remark that Chinese and Japanese should make friends generation after generation during a 1972 meeting with the then Japanese prime minister, Kakuei Tanaka, to normalise the Sino-Japanese relationship.

Six years later, the stone monument, on which the poem was engraved, was built in commemoration of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed between China and Japan.

In 1979, the late premier's wife, Deng Yingchao , visited Japan and unveiled the 1.5-metre-high monument in Kameyamakoen Park, Arashiyama.

In June, 1987, the monument was defaced with red paint by a group of Japanese rightists, but within two weeks it was repaired.