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  • Oct 15, 2014
  • Updated: 8:57pm

Sino-Japanese relations

The relationship between the two largest economies in Asia has been marred throughout the 20th century due to territorial and political disputes including Taiwanese sovereignty; the invasion of China by Japan in the second world war and Japan’s subsequent refusal to acknowledge the extent of its war crimes; territorial disputes surrounding the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and associated fishing rights and energy resources; and Japanese-American security co-operation.   

NewsChina
COMMEMORATION

Xi Jinping blasts Japan at 77th anniversary ceremony of Marco Polo Bridge Incident

High-profile Sino-Japanese war ceremony seen as aimed at Taiwanese

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 12:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 7:08pm
 

Xi Jinping yesterday became the first Chinese president to attend an official ceremony commemorating the start of the Sino-Japanese war, as Beijing ramps up its efforts to denounce Japan's wartime atrocities.

Xi joined more 1,000 people at a ceremony in Beijing to mark the 77th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge incident which sparked the war.

Besides stepping up its campaign against Japan's lifting of its post-war ban on overseas military operations, commentators said Beijing held the unusually high-profile ceremony in a bid to try to unite the people of the mainland and Taiwan against Japan's wartime atrocities.

Watch: Archive newsreel about the Marco Polo Bridge incident 

"No one can revise history and truth," Xi said during the ceremony. "Chinese people who made great sacrifices [during the war] would never allow anyone to play down [Japan's] wartime atrocities."

Accompanied by Nationalist war veteran Lin Shangyuan, a member of the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, one of eight registered minor non-communist parties on the mainland, Xi unveiled a statue named after the Medal of Independence and Freedom awarded to Sino-Japanese war veterans.

Premier Li Keqiang also raised the issue of the Sino-Japanese war during a press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, saying learning from the past promised a brighter future.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said at a photography exhibition in memory of the island's liberation from Japan that Taiwan "will never yield an inch in its territorial claim" to the disputed Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga hit back at Beijing. He said "China, by unnecessarily turning a historical issue into an international one, does nothing to contribute to peace and cooperation in the region".

Analysts said commemorations of the Marco Polo Bridge incident - a turning point in Chinese history that paved the way for the Second United Front, a brief alliance between the Communist and Nationalist armies to fight Japanese troops from 1937 to 1946 - would help Beijing win over the Taiwanese public.

"Such high-profile commemorations serve to evoke a sense of belonging with the ethnic Chinese identity - the basis of a consensus over the 'one China' principle - across the strait," said Wang Xinsheng, a Japanese history expert at Peking University.

Professor George Tsai Wei of the Chinese Culture University in Taipei agreed. "It's a good opportunity for Xi to remind Taiwan of previous Japanese aggression and call for strengthening of cross-strait cooperation to deter Japanese attempts to water down relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait," Tsai said.

Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said deteriorating relations [with Japan] allowed politicians to "play up nationalist sentiments and centralise political power".

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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8 Jul 2014 - 4:32am

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This article is now closed to comments

5381759a-6c88-46c2-b3cf-52a60a3209cb
Grieve the death of your compatriot.
bigking.hsiao
winning over Taiwanese public? They (and the world) should stop putting an equal sign between the Nationalists and Taiwan. The KMT only retreated to Taiwan after they lost the Chinese civil war; there were local Taiwanese people living on the island before that, and these people were denigrated by the KMT as Japanese Empire's slaves.
Yeah go ahead on emphasizing the relationship between CCP and KMT. It would only push you further away from the general Taiwanese people.
allan94
cant wait for prc to invade japan. hope it happens soon
mh0908
May Peace Prevail on Earth! 世界人類が平和でありますように!
I Gandhi
Japan's barbarism in Asia was terrible. The Japanese even used WMDs like chemical weapons and biological weapons. So the US was justified to drop two atomic bombs on Japan. Lets hope the Japanese leaders can teach Japanese the barbaric history they are guilty of, teach the Japanese people to be remorseful for Japanese war crimes, teach the Japanese people not to be hostile. Otherwise, Japan is headed for damnation.
Jonathan Smith
The Japanese is a murderous barbaric people that was taught a lesson when they surrendered unconditionally 69 years ago. Unfortunately Japan today is still very uncivilised.
Sifu_628
War is horrifically atrocious, just search out You-tube videos of mass killings in Iraq, Sierra, ****ia and other war torn territories. Women and children are but helpless victims in wars. Japanese massacre of many Chinese should not be forgotten but is not inconsistent with the nature of war.
What's unusual is for one country - China to incessantly harp on the experience of some 75 years ago and after it had forgiven its aggressive neighbors 65 years earlier by its founding President - Chairman Mao in 1949. So why is President Xi attacking Japan once more for its wartime aggressions. Does it serve the people of China or himself and his conspiring clans of political and economic elites controlling most of the capital, resources and opportunities across China today?
Deflecting public anger on domestic issues: endemic corruption, vastly-unjust distribution of wealth and opportunities for advancement as well as widespread ecological destruction, CCPC needs to find an scapegoat - imperial Japan and its wartime actions of 75 years past. I've no issue with securing compensation and apologies to Chinese victims but would not be played a fool by Chinese tyrants. Don't you be fools as well!
mh0908
May Peace Prevail on Earth! 世界人類が平和でありますように!
liukuei
Japanese are one of the few people who don't need a visa to enter China. Some enemy! China conveniently forgot history in the late 1970s, 80s, 90s when it needed Japanese investment. History is back on the front burner to deflect attention from the high corruption of the CCP. Also, as more Chinese learn history, they realize that far more Chinese died at the hands of the Chinese communists (often after being tortured), or indirectly through CCP's insane economic policies (collectivization, Great Leap, etc).
Japan can't be an aggressor nowadays, they don't make enough young people.
Paradox314
But I do agree with China that Japan needs to take responsibility for its past crimes- as Germany has done. But what are the chances of that happening given their approach over the past nearly 70 years.

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