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China Marks Japanese Surrender in Bitter Memory

It was a different way to mark victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. 60 years ago Shanghai farmer Ye Lingen wailed at the graves of his grandmother, parents and brother when he learnt Japan surrendered.

He would share the news with his beloved ones, who lost their lives after the Japanese army captured Shanghai in December, 1937,telling them their murderers had been avenged.

Today, in his 80s, Ye mourns at their tombs on August 15 every year, the day the Japanese emperor announced surrender in 1945.

Ye lost his mother in a Japanese bombing attack on the city. His father and brother were stabbed to death by Japanese soldiers with bayonets. His grandmother died in prison because of hypochondria after she was forced to eat human flesh.

As for a person who suffered such severe trauma, Ye said, the war would always cloud his memory.

More than 20 million Chinese people, not only armymen but also civilians, lost their lives in the country's resistance war against Japanese aggression.

Japan started its military intrusion into China on September 18, 1931 and occupied the country's northeast provinces. The Japanese attempt to capture more Chinese territory triggered China's resistance war in July 1937, which lasted eight years.

Ye said the Chinese victory was earned at the cost of such great suffering and sacrifices of the Chinese people that he will pray every year at this time for lasting peace.

The Japanese aggression left in China more injuries than the deaths. At least 200,000 Chinese women were forced to serve Japanese invaders as sex slaves, or in the Japanese euphemism, "comfort women".

Adding more insult to these ill-fate women, the Japanese educational minister Nakayama Nariaki said recently that it was an honor for comfort women to serve Japanese soldiers.

Referring to the distortion of the history of the war by Japanese rightist politicians, historian Bu Ping with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that people are morally obliged to reflect and review history realistically.

The researcher said that the Japanese stance on the war creates a gulf between China and Japan's understanding of history.

Japanese invaders also left a lot of chemical weapons in China, whose whereabouts remains unknown and pose grave threats to people.

A variety of activities have been held in China to mark the 60th anniversary of China's victory in the resistance war, and also the victory of the world's anti-Fascist war.

As tremendous as the victory was in the human history, the remembrance of the war seems to have fostered little pride among Chinese people.

Air-raid alarms were sounded Monday in cities like Tianjin, a northern municipality, and Changsha, capital of central Hunan Province, which witnessed tough anti-aggression battles.

In an ongoing exhibition on the Nanjing Massacre at the National Museum in Beijing, Xu Shaofeng, a pupil at the Yangfangdian Central Primary School, said he was stunned by the "terrible" scenes the pictures and documentary clips showed.

"Chinese people suffered so much!" Xu said.

His mother, Yue Yingxin, said that it is the younger generation's duty bound to know the history of its nation.

"It is also their right to learn about it," she said, referring to the Japanese accusation that China fans antipathy towards Japanby instilling reckless patriotism in its youth.

Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre, said that neither the exhibition, nor any other patriotism education, is designed to plant hatred among young people.

"We want them to know how hard it was to win peace. Only then can they treasure today's peaceful life. We hope all people in the world can also understand this reason."

Chinese President Hu Jintao said Sunday when visiting another exhibition in Beijing that the Chinese nation marks the event to remind people not to forget history and cherish peace.

Hu said that the country will work together with nations the world over to build a world of peace and development by pursuing what it calls "peaceful development."

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2005)

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