A grand reception was held in Beijing Saturday to mark the victory of the Chinese people's resistance war against Japanese aggression and the world anti-fascist war.
Addressing the reception, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao highlighted the great historic significance of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-47) to China, saying "this was a great war of national liberation, in which the Chinese people won a complete victory for the first time in nearly 100 years."
"This was a just, progressive war, which marked a historic defining moment of the Chinese nation from national peril to national rejuvenation," Wen said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and other state leaders joined more than 2,100 war veterans, patriots from home and abroad, and foreign guests at the reception held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
China's resistance war against Japanese aggression was an important part of the World Anti-fascist War. During the War, the Chinese people suffered the most, made the biggest sacrifices and fought for the longest time, said Wen, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee .
"The contributions made by the Chinese people to the complete victory of the World Anti-Fascist War are indelible and of historic significance," he stressed.
The premier called for drawing lessons from history, being forward-looking, committing to the road of peaceful development, and advancing the cause of world peace in the new century.
Wen urged Chinese people of all ethnic groups to invigorate national spirit with patriotism at the core and strive to develop China into a prosperous, strong, democratic and culturally advanced modern socialist country and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Wen also called people of all countries in the world to hold high the banner of peace and strive for a fair, equitable and secure new international order and for a new world of peace, amity and harmony.
At the reception, Hu and other leaders had warm talks with Chinese, Russian and US war veterans and other guests.
Hu shook hands with US war veterans, expressing his gratitude to the US people for their selfless assistance to the Chinese people during the war and his hope to carry on the friendship between the Chinese and US peoples from generation to generation.
Also from north to south, from east to west, the 1.3 billion people on the Chinese mainland are commemorating the WWII victory achieved six decades ago and wishing for eternal peace in the world.
In Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, the Municipal Library staged an exhibition for high schools and communities to display the evidences that testify the invasion of the Japanese militarists during the WWII. Altogether more than 300 material objects, documents, and photos were on display.
In Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, a peace rally was held, attended by veterans, survivors of the notorious Nanjing Massacre, students and citizens.
"It is a special day today, we specially set up a 'triumphal arch' decorated with 'V' and 'PEACE' outside the memorial. That is to show Chinese determination of carrying forward the spirit of resisting war and adhering to the road of peaceful development," said Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.
"We will never allow the tragedy in history to recur," he said.
In Shanghai, thousands of citizens witnessed the inauguration of a 1.5-ton "bell of peace" built for the commemoration of the war victory.
Engraved on the bell are the words "keep history firmly in mind, never forget the past, cherish peace and create a better future."
At 8:15 AM Saturday, the citizens tolled the huge bell for 60 strikes and meanwhile 1,500 doves of peace were released into the sky.
On Saturday, many Chinese also listened to the speech via TV delivered by President Hu Jintao at the grand gathering that commemorated the war.
Hu, in the speech, reminded the Japanese government of its commitment regarding historical issues and urged the Japanese Government and its leaders to take a highly responsible attitude toward history in order to "avoid the repetition of historical tragedies."
"The speech is inspiring. What the President has said on the China-Japan relations just represents what we Chinese people actually think," said Yang Yanhui with the Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province.
While Su Zhenhai, a citizen in Qingdao City, east China's Shandong Province, was impressed mostly by Hu's words on peace.
"President Hu's speech is a clear demonstration of Chinese people's attitude toward peace to the whole world: we love peace, we pursue peace, but we are always ready to fight for peace," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2005)