Unit 731's application for world cultural heritage causes disputes

10:07, July 16, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

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


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows strong wind blows trees in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province. Typhoon Nesat heads towards south China and is moving at an average wind speed of 20 km per hour toward the west coast of China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Hou Jiansen)
  • A fallen tree is seen on a road in Qionghai, south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 29, 2011. Typhoon Nesat was predicted to land in Hainan later Thursday, bringing heavy rainfalls to the island. (Xinhua/Meng Zhongde)
  • Arash Kamalvand (L) of Iran spikes the ball during the semifinal against South Korea at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 28, 2011. Iran won 3-1 to advance to the final. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
  • A man visits "Thy Word Is Truth, the Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China", during its opening at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington DC, capital of the United States, Sept. 28, 2011. Through the Bible's various Chinese versions, ancient or modern, as well as pictures, paintings, calligraphy, art works and historical documents, the exhibition was expected to give an overall understanding of how Bible was brought into China, how it was translated, published, distributed and loved. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
Hot Forum Discussion