• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:44am

China considers 'Martyrs' Day' to honour those who died for independence

September 30 could become the day when Chinese honour the veterans and others who gave their lives for their country

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 12:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 4:40am

China is considering a proposal to set September 30 as Martyrs’ Day to commemorate those who gave their lives for the nation in an attempt to promote patriotism at a time when people’s belief in communism seems to be fading.

Martyrs’ Day will honour those who gave their lives for national independence and prosperity since the first Opium War with the British in 1840, when China was made a semi-colony, Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo said. He spoke in support of a motion made to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), which is holding its bimonthly session this week until Sunday.

The purpose “is to foster patriotism and bolster core socialist values among citizens, and to inspire them to work to realise the dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Li said. The date of September 30 was chosen because it was on that day in 1949 when China’s communist leaders laid the foundation for the Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tiananmen Square. Chairman Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People’s Republic next day; central government leaders usually go to lay flowers at the monument on National Day, October 1.

Xigen Li, an associate professor with City University’s department of media and communications, said it is politically correct to set a day in memory of those who died as martyrs, but cautioned against too many superficial formalities and spending too many resources on them.

Although the Chinese calendar is already dotted with days of commemoration for historic events and causes, the supporters of the motion believe that having a national public holiday will promote patriotism.

In Chinese traditional calendar, people use Ching Ming as the tomb-sweeping festival in the spring to pay tribute to their deceased relatives and commemorate those who died defending the country. Family visit their ancestors’ graves during Cheung Yeung Festival in the autumn, as well.

Then earlier this year, the NPC Standing Committee designated two new national days aimed at highlighting Japan’s aggression during the second world war. September 3 was named “War Against Japanese Aggression Victory Day” and December 13 was named a day of remembrance for victims of the Nanking massacre. The moves come at a time when Tokyo has been trying to gloss over its offences during that period, and to move towards remilitarisation.

Last month, President Xi Jinping attended an official ceremony to mark the 77th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which symbolised the start of the Sino-Japanese war, as Beijing adds augments its efforts to denounce Japan’s wartime atrocities. The commemoration received an unusually high profile, as Xi’s participation – the first by a Chinese president – was also shown on national television for the first time. Normally such emphasis comes every five or 10 years.



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This article is now closed to comments

Rather unwise to set it so close to National Day. Logistically it means that people sort of just forget about it even if they get a day off (which they won't). And morally speaking it implies that all the sacrifices of the past were all made worthwhile by the founding of the PRC. Which in turn implies that those who died in 1840 died for communism...
I think that 9.18 is more qualified as a national day of remembrance. Maybe "National Shame Day"... oh that would go over well internationally I'm sure.
yay.. another day off from work...
Well if you're in China, you'll get the day off but will have to make it up the following or preceding Saturday.
And since this is right before the CCP's Oct 1 "National Day", I believe it's all marketed to be rolled into one MEGA holiday that tries to blur the lines between what "martyrs" did pre CCP into CCP myth building.
i don't care man, i just want a day off lol
war, war and war. sad topic for any sort of celebration. Especially when compared with the topics of many other Chinese holidays.
HK to officially commemorate China's victory of anti-Japanese aggression
(Xinhua) Aug 26
HK, Aug. 26 -- The Govt of the HK Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) announced Tue that starting from this year, official ceremonies will be held every year to commemorate the victory of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Jpn aggression and victims who died in the NANJING MASSACRE respectively.
Earlier this year, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress designated Sept. 3 and Dec. 13 as the Victory Day of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Jpn aggression and NANJING MASSACRE Memorial Day respectively.
Commemorative activities will be held on Sept. 3 every year to recall the resistance against Jpn aggression and pay tribute to those who died in or made contributions to the Chinese people's war of resistance against Jpn aggression, while memorial activities will be held on Dec. 13 to commemorate victims who died in the Nanjing Massacre and those who were killed during the Jpn invasion. They will also express the resolve of the Chinese people in safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and world peace.
On Sept. 3, the HKSAR Govt will hold a ceremony at the City Hall Memorial Garden to mark the victory of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Jpn aggression. The Chief Executive, senior Govt officials, judicial officers, members of the LegCo, reps of war veteran groups and members of the community will attend...
Formerly ******
Will the CCP also designate a day to ask for forgiveness for the murder of tens of millions of its citizens by the Mao-led CCP, including the several thousand unarmed demonstrators murdered in Tienanmen Square after Mao's death, and to honor the tens of millions murdered by the CCP?

Our martyrs, not SCMP's...


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