Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

FM slams denial of Nanjing Massacre [China Daily]

Apologies to readers, I’ve not had and will not be having internet access till sometime next week. I will return with regular updates then. As such I have not been able to pay as much attention to Chinese news as I’d like.

One story in particular caught my eye however. For most public diplomacy China has been quite quick to design a harmonious stance. Not for this, however.

People in Nanjing visit Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders. Photo: Xinhua

Central to the deck of cards that hurts China’s feelings is its century of humiliation and the deep lying scar it’s had with Japan for the past two centuries. Economic sense has little utility here. What will this event evoke? Nanjing has suspended relations with sister Nagoya over its mayor’s denial of Chinese versions of the Nanjing Masscare.

Mayor of Nagoya Kawamura Takashi essentially said on February 20 that he believes only “conventional acts of combat” took place there, not the mass murders and rapes cited in history books.

Update on the escalation:

City suspends ties over massacre denial (China Daily, Feb 23, 2012) – As 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties, Hongalso asked the Japanese side to work on the improvement of bilateral relations in light of theprinciples enshrined in the four China-Japan political documents, as well as act in the interestof both peoples based on the spirit of learning from history.

National outrage rips into denial of Nanjing Massacre (Global Times, Feb 22, 2012) – The mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, said the Nanjing Massacre “probably never happened” on February 20 while meeting with a delegation from Nanjing, a city that witnessed the mass murder, genocide and rape following the Japanese invasion of the city in 1937.

– – –

FM slams denial of Nanjing Massacre
By Wang Chenyan
Source – China Daily, published Feb 21, 2012

Nagoya mayor’s claim over slaughter is ‘nonsense’, says history expert

BEIJING – China does not accept Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura’s denial of the crime of the Nanjing Massacre, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing on Monday.

Hong emphasized that there is irrefutable evidence regarding the Nanjing Massacre and China hopes Japan “takes history as a mirror”, urging Tokyo to properly deal with historical problems.

Kawamura, head of the Nagoya municipal government, told Liu Zhiwei, a member of the Communist Party of China Nanjing City Standing Committee, that he thought the massacre of civilians by Japanese troops in 1937 never took place.

“There were regular combative activities, but I believe the Nanjing (Massacre) never happened,” he said.

The Japanese army slaughtered more than 300,000 men, women and children when they invaded Nanjing, then the capital of China.

Japan’s government said “the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other acts” cannot be denied, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in the “Historical Issues Q&A” section of its website.

Kawamura declared his doubts because he said his father was “welcomed” by people in Nanjing when the war ended eight years later.

The 63-years-old mayor’s father Kaneo Kawamura was one of the soldiers guilty of the war crime.

In a telephone interview with Kyoto News, Zhu Chengshan, director of the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, criticized Kawamura’s talk as “nonsense” and said that proof of the massacre had been presented at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

Though Nanjing and Nagoya established a sister city relationship in 1978, it is not the first time Kawamura has made comments on the massacre. In September 2009, he told the Nagoya city assembly that he doubted the number of casualties in the Nanjing Massacre.

Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said there was “no evidence” to support Kawamura’s statement.

“Such a statement by a mayor cannot be neglected, but mainstream academic circles in Japan frankly acknowledge the Nanjing Massacre,” Feng added.

Yang Bojiang, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of International Relations in Beijing, also said Kawamura’s denial of the crime by referring to his father’s own experience “does not make sense”.

“It is logically wrong to write off a truth based on an individual’s feeling,” Yang told China Daily.

“There is a small group of people in Japan whose conception of history is wrong. But no matter how many people in Nanjing were killed in 1937, the essential fact is Japan does admit the slaughter.”

Also during the news conference, replying to Japanese protests over a Chinese surveillance ship’s order to stop a Japanese coastguard vessel, Hong said that China opposed “any unilateral action within the disputed area”.

On Sunday, the China Marine Surveillance 66 ocean surveillance ship called on a Japanese coastguard vessel to stop its so-called marine survey in the waters of the East China Sea.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura then protested over the request of the Chinese ship at a news conference on Monday.

Similar conduct by Japanese coastguard vessels occurred in May and September 2010.

Hong reiterated that China’s position on the East China Sea is “clear and consistent”, expressing the hope that both sides could make tangible efforts to protect stability in the East China Sea and the region.


Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, History, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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