Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met Japan's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi in Beijing yesterday afternoon against a worrying backdrop, after a Japanese rightist group announced plans for a documentary film denying the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.
On Monday, the group announced its documentary-making plans, in response to new documentary film Nanking, produced by AOL Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, inspired by Iris Chang's Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller The Rape of Nanking.
The film, which recently claimed a coveted competition slot at the Sundance Film Festival, is based on interviews with 80 survivors and diaries and journals from eight Western missionaries who were in Nanjing during the massacre.
Bombarded with questions about the rightist group's plans for their own documentary at a regular press briefing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: "The evidence of the Nanjing Massacre is irrefutable and the international community long ago came to a consensus over the event.It would be conducive to better relations for Japanese to take a correct and responsible attitude toward history so as to win trust from their Asian neighbors."
Wen to visit Japan
Despite controversy over the film, Li told Yachi that Premier Wen Jiabao would press ahead with a visit to Japan in April.
Yachi is in Beijing for a new round of Sino-Japanese strategic dialogue, which started yesterday.
The talks, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Yachi, cover bilateral ties and issues of common concern.
The two countries launched their first round of strategic dialogues in Beijing in May 2005, at which they agreed to continuing consultations. The current series of meetings will end tomorrow.
Dorm case continues
Meanwhile, the Japanese Supreme Court has started hearings on the ownership of Guanghualiao (known as Kokaryo in Japan), a once five-story dormitory that Kyoto University rented out to Chinese students during World War II.
Taiwan's "mission" in Japan purchased the estate in May 1950, but the Chinese Embassy to Japan and Consulate General in Kyoto have cared for the building and contributed special funds for its maintenance.
Plaintiffs representing Taiwan's authorities first brought the province's claim on the building to court in 1967. It was overruled in 1977 at the Kyoto Local Court, but in its ruling and review in 1982 and 1987, the Osaka High Court overturned the first ruling.
"The Guanghualiao case is not merely a property case, but a political case concerning China's legitimate rights," Jiang said.
(China Daily January 26, 2007)