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Rallies Call for Japan to Face History

Some 500 people took part yesterday in various rallies to condemn Japan for refusing to repent its wartime atrocities and to mark the 60th anniversary of China's victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

The biggest rally, with more than 130 participants, was organized by the Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB). Singing the national anthem, waving national flags, and chanting slogans, the protesters demanded that Japan promise to cease military expansion and respect Chinese sovereignty by removing facilities from the Diaoyu Islands.

Other organizations that held similar rallies yesterday were Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), the Hong Kong Reparation Association, the China Youth Service and Recreation Centre and the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands.

The DAB handed a petition and a Chinese history textbook for secondary school curriculum to a representative the Japanese consulate in protest against the country's move to distort the history of the Second World War.

Such actions as distortion of history in textbooks, official visits to the Yasukuni Shrine where A-class war criminals are being worshipped and claims on Chinese territory, namely the Diaoyu Islands, are testimony to the fact that Japan does not seriously admit or accept the responsibilities for its wrongdoings in the past, DAB's central standing committee member Thomas Pang said.

The Japanese Government must face the historical fact and rectify the distorted pages of information in the history books. "There can be world peace only when we do not forget wartime history," he added.

Another DAB spokesperson, Kenny Lee, criticized Japan for trying to cover up the mistakes they committed more than 60 years ago.

Lee worried that time will wash Japan's history of aggression off the minds of the younger generations in Japan and Hong Kong.

"We do hope the Japanese Government could rectify the wrong textbook as it is a fact that they invaded China," Lee said.

The DAB appealed to local youngsters to get in touch with their mainland counterparts in order to know the historical truth, and the SAR government should make modern Chinese history compulsory in secondary schools.

In another rally, more than 50 slogan-chanting protesters from FTU called for an end to what they called "Japanese militarism".

To avoid the recurrence of the bloody and horrible history of World War II, the Japanese Government must educate their younger generations on the disastrous consequences that Japanese militarism would bring to the world, they said.

FTU Social Policy Committee member Ho Yin-fai said: "The Japanese need to strengthen their national education and stop invading our territory, the Diaoyu Islands, immediately."

Wartime notes

Some elderly people carried with them wartime military currency notes and called for Tokyo to compensate them for this worthless "money".

Some 40 members of the Hong Kong Reparation Association launched a petition from Chater Garden to the Japanese consulate, urging Japan to face the historical truths and pay damages for its wartime atrocities.

Local citizens support the protests. Student Jenny Wong told China Daily that she feared the re-emergence of Japanese militarism because she hated wars.

"This is a good chance to draw public attention to modern Chinese history in which the Japanese took away millions of Chinese lives," she said.

Academic consultant Davis Luk said he hoped Asian peoples would realize the potential military threats imposed by Japan on the security of East Asia.

(China Daily HK Edition August 16, 2005)

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