Photos of ‘Japanese soldiers’ posing at Chinese war memorial site spark anger online

Social media users call for investigation after four men in military garb pictured at site of bloody conflict during Sino-Japanese war

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 2:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 10:10pm

A series of photographs showing four men posing in second world war-era Japanese military uniforms at the scene of a bloody conflict during the Sino-Japanese war has sparked outrage on the internet.

The images of four young, apparently Chinese, men were taken against the backdrop of the Continental Bank Warehouse, where Chinese troops defeated an invading Japanese force in a week-long battle in 1937.

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The identities of the men and their reason for taking the photographs are a mystery, but the appearance of the images on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, on Monday provoked a wave of anger among the Chinese public.

“These people [are] openly traitors and [have] run wild on China’s land. Isn’t there anyone to intervene? In Germany, the government intervenes, why doesn’t China?” a person wrote after seeing the images.

The setting for the photographs is the Sihang (Four Banks) Warehouse complex, which was made a heritage site by the Shanghai government in 1985. The owners said they have been unable to identify the four men as there are no surveillance cameras in the area.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the owners denounced the “shameless and profane behaviour” and said the site’s property management company has been tasked with improving security.

The only clue to the men’s identities is a message on another social media platform, apparently posted by one of the four, saying: “There were so many people at the Sihang Warehouse. Taking the group photo was like stealing a well cover. We did it fast, within just a few seconds.”

The comment, which added that the men were on a seven-day visit to Shanghai as part of a tour group, was accompanied by several other pictures of them wearing Japanese military uniforms at unidentified locations.

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So far there have been no statements from the police or any other government agency saying whether or not the matter is under investigation.

In a similar case, two Chinese tourists were arrested in the German capital Berlin last week after being caught taking photos of one another striking “Heil Hitler” poses in front of the historic Reichstag building. They were charged with “using symbols of illegal organisations” but were released after posting bail of 500 euros (US$590) each.