Unit 731's application for world cultural heritage causes disputes

10:07, July 16, 2010      

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Unit 731 of the Japanese Army is a secret biological warfare unit established under the order of the supreme ruler of the Japanese military and is the largest and most inhumane bio-warfare research center in human history. The center experimented on healthy living people using poison gas and bio-warfare weapons, which made its evil as appalling as the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Nanjing Massacre.

The predecessor of Unit 731 was the Dongxiang Troop, which the Japanese army set in the Beiyang River, also known as the cottage areas, in a Harbin suburb in northeastern China in 1932. At first, Unit 731 was disguised as a water purification troop and then began to experiment on humans in China in order to do things that could not be done in Japan.

In order to permanently preserve the site of the Unit 731 Troop, a significant site of the Second World War, relevant departments have invested nearly 100 million yuan to comprehensively clean up the site for the first time since 2000 under the approval of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and discovered more than 3,000 human anatomy appliances. Meanwhile, they also took measures to protect this site and decided to build a memorial park at the site calling for peace of humanity and proposed to apply for the World Cultural Heritage.

However, the value and necessity of the application has become the focus of public opinion. The heated discussions focus on whether the historical site of Unit 731 can be used to apply for the global intangible cultural heritage? What value does the application have? Many netizens have expressed their views about the event.

Yan Yang expressed some reservations about the application in a new newspaper because the historical site of Unit 731 is absolutely not a cultural heritage but the "evil legacy" of anti-cultural practices. The site implies an aggressive culture characterized by the law of the jungle as well as an extremely cruel, bloody culture. Some say it is a wrong move to declare such a "culture" a global intangible cultural heritage.

Nevertheless, Wang Peng, head of the Unit 731 Memorial Hall, believes Unit 731 committed crimes against humanity and the historical site is not only a patriotic education base, but it also deserves the attention and introspection of all mankind. Applying for global intangible cultural heritage for the historical site aims to raise its recognition, make more people pay attention to this part of history and better preserve world peace.

By People's Daily Online
Additional support provided by LOTO

(Editor:叶欣)

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