Chinese historians have reached a consensus that the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression lasted 14 years, Li Zongyuan, curator of the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, told Thepaper.cn.
Li made the remarks after China's Ministry of Education ordered Chinese textbooks to revise the phrase "eight-year war of resistance" to "14-year war of resistance." The ministry stressed that the 14 years after the September 18 Incident in 1931, a pretext for Japanese invasion, should be treated as part of the invasion's history.
"The revision is a correction," said Li, explaining that the six years of resistance before 1937 -- which included the establishement of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army and the Suiyuan Campaign -- is ignored if the clash is described as lasting eight years. He believes the run-up to the war was gradual, and setting the starting point as 1937 is not completely accurate.
According to Li, the Communist Party of China (CPC) issued five documents to oppose the Japanese invasion immediately after the September 18 Incident, and declared war against Japan in April 1932. Li said the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression adopted the 14-year definition back in 2005, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.
With regards to the history between 1931 and 1937, Chinese historians used to focus more on domestic issues, such as Soviet areas, encirclement campaigns and the Long March, Li said. Nowadays, however, scholars have revised their evaluation of anti-Japanese campaigns by the CPC and Kuomintang during this era.