The descendants of nine patriots who risked their lives to collect evidence of Japan's aggression against China 80 years ago have called on the United Nations in Geneva to return the original materials to China, Xinhua reported.
To mark yesterday's 80th anniversary of the Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, Gong Xin, grandson of Gong Tianmin, one of the nine patriots, said they had asked the UN to return the book of evidence titled Truth, Xinhua said.
The Mukden Incident was an attack on a Japanese-owned railway line, carried out by Japan but blamed on China and used as a pretext to invade, starting the second Sino-Japanese war.
Gong and his eight companions gathered the evidence on learning that a League of Nations investigation team, led by the British peer Victor Bulwer-Lytton, would visit Mukden, known today as Shenyang in Liaoning province, at the end of 1931.
The team of professors, doctors, bankers and undercover Communist Party members spent 40 days collecting evidence, including more than 300 pieces of orders, notices, news reports, eyewitness testimonies and many pictures showing how Japan staged the attack on the railway as a pretext to occupy Manchuria and create a puppet regime.
Gong, fellow communist Dr Liu Zhongming, and others were arrested and tortured by the Japanese, but none surrendered, Gong Xin was quoted as saying
Just two copies of the book were made, one of which was buried underground and did not survive.
The copy submitted to the League of Nations provided strong evidence of Japan's aggression. At a general assembly meeting in February 1933, 42 of the 43 league members agreed that Japan had invaded China and that the regime set up in Manchuria was bogus.
The decision led to Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations.
In 2008, Gong's family learnt that the long-lost document was in a United Nations Library in Geneva. A copy of the document was donated to the September 18 Historical Museum in Shenyang.
'But we still hope the original one will be sent home one day,' Gong Xin was quoted as saying. 'The value of Truth is much greater in China than just keeping it in Geneva.'
Xinhua said that the story behind the creation of the book might be made into a film, as some producers had expressed interest.