ONTD Political

China marks massacre amid tense Japan ties

3:30 pm - 12/13/2012
China marks massacre amid tense Japan ties

China marks the 75th anniversary Thursday of the killing of huge numbers of people in Nanjing by Japanese soldiers, in a year when a territorial row sent ties between the Asian powers plunging.

The two countries -- the world's second- and third-largest economies -- have extensive trade and business links, but the weight of history still bears heavily on their relationship.

China says 300,000 civilians and soldiers died in a spree of killing, rape and destruction in the six weeks after the Japanese military entered the then capital on December 13, 1937.

Some foreign academics put the number of deaths lower, including China historian Jonathan Spence who estimates that 42,000 soldiers and citizens were killed and 20,000 women raped, many of whom later died.

At the Nanjing Massacre Memorial in the city's west, goose-stepping soldiers carrying flower wreaths rehearsed on Wednesday, watched by scores of tourists, ahead of the ceremony, which will be an invite-only event.

Retired school teacher Li Fanling took photos of a list of victims carved into a grey stone wall, some known only by descriptions such as "Old Yang's son".

"Name after name," he said. "The Japanese killed so many people but they don't acknowledge it, so Chinese people are angry."

A few metres (yards) away, teachers led schoolchildren by a covered pit of smashed skulls and broken femurs covered with a light layer of soil, remains of some of the 10,000 victims said to be located at the memorial site.

The 75th anniversary has taken on added meaning given the poor state of bilateral ties, a Chinese academic said.

"We need to remain on serious alert about the tendency in Japan to deny the fact of Japan's wartime aggression," said Wu Jinan of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

"The anniversary may only cool relations further to reach a freezing point. Currently, it's hard to see any signs of improvement."

Protests against Japan erupted in Chinese cities earlier this year, causing an estimated $100 million in damages and losses to Japanese firms, after Tokyo nationalised islands it calls the Senkakus but Beijing claims as the Diaoyus.

Chinese dissidents say the Communist Party nurtures anti-Japanese sentiment as part of its claim to a right to rule. Beijing typically cracks down on public protests but the anti-Japan demonstrations were allowed to take place.

A Japanese diplomat, who declined to be named, said his country hoped for an improvement in relations after Japan holds general elections in a few days' time and China's own leadership transition completes next year.

But some ultra-conservative Japanese politicians dispute that atrocities ever took place in Nanjing.

Japan says it has apologised to Asian countries, citing a 2005 statement by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who expressed "deep remorse and heartfelt apology" in a reiteration of an earlier pronouncement in 1995.

In an inconclusive joint study two years ago the Japanese side pointed to "various estimates" for the number of deaths, ranging from as low as 20,000 to 200,000.
freeze_i_say 13th-Dec-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Both sides are using this to drum up dangerous nationalistic bs and to cover up respective current sins. And China makes it so easy to retort "and what happened to all those Chinese citizens during and since the Cultural revolution that were never acknowledged jw".

"Chinese dissidents say the Communist Party nurtures anti-Japanese sentiment as part of its claim to a right to rule. Beijing typically cracks down on public protests but the anti-Japan demonstrations were allowed to take place."


angelofdeath275 13th-Dec-2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah I see this way too. Ugh it's so gross how no one can fully acknowledge anything and think of the victims....
hinoema 13th-Dec-2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
The Japanese killed so many people but they don't acknowledge it, so Chinese people are angry.

How many Tibetans and ethnic minorities have the Chinese slaughtered? We all have our war crimes, and I don't see them apologizing to the Dalai Lama.
asrana 13th-Dec-2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
Can we please not play "my atrocity is worse than your atrocity"? Can we just go with acknowledging that both are awful and both need to be allowed spaces to be talked about?
moonshaz 13th-Dec-2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
OMG, yes, please!
hinoema 14th-Dec-2012 04:36 am (UTC)
Normally, I would. But what the authorities in Beijing are doing here isn't talking about it; it's using it as a shield and a weapon, and that's just hypocrisy.
asrana 14th-Dec-2012 11:00 am (UTC)
They've marked the anniversary of the massacre for years. I agree that China does many shitty things and yes it's true to form for them to exploit this as an opportunity to be rude to Japan some more. But what I'm reading from your comments is that the actions of a government who're widely acknowledged to be shitty somehow means it's okay to reject/deny space for those who want to mark/remember a tragedy. That this makes it okay to derail conversations. And, tbh, I'm not okay with that. My grandparents were in Shanghai during the occupation, I'm credibly grateful they got through it alive, and this strikes just a little too close to home for me.

Sure, as it turns out the organised military activity that murdered all the rest of the family so that my grandparents fled with only the clothes on their backs and my mother and her siblings grew up with no grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, any of that extended family network that you'd expect, was Chinese organised military activity. But that doesn't make it okay to refuse to acknowledge that this was an atrocity too.
hinoema 14th-Dec-2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I completely agree on that. It was. My only criticism was with the government, but I'll save that.
mingemonster 13th-Dec-2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
The civilians who died in Nanjing didn't have anything to do with that
yami_no_hoshi 14th-Dec-2012 01:09 am (UTC)
That doesn't mean that this horrific massacre doesn't deserve full acknowledgement though...
hinoema 14th-Dec-2012 06:32 am (UTC)
It doesn't, and I'd be bang alongside them if they were treating ti as anything but a political tool.
yami_no_hoshi 14th-Dec-2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah but that quote you highlighted wasn't from the government, it was from an ordinary citizen. People have the right to be angry at the way that the massacre is politicised and minimised. (by the Japanese government, I mean)

Edited at 2012-12-14 11:18 pm (UTC)
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