Remember history, safeguard peace

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily) 13:51, December 14, 2022

On Dec, 13, 1937, invading Japanese troops captured Nanjing and committed the extremely cruel Nanjing Massacre, slaughtering about 300,000 Chinese people. It marked a horrifying anti-human crime and an extremely dark page in human history.

The people today must be on the lookout given what had happened in the past.

On the ninth national memorial day for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, China once again held a solemn ceremony to mourn the victims of the massacre. It demonstrated the Chinese people's determination to remember history and firmly safeguard peace.

The Nanjing Massacre is a memory of China, of the Chinese nation and of the world.

On Dec. 18, 1937, journalist Charles Yates Mcdaniel from the Associated Press wrote: "My last remembrance of Nanking: Dead Chinese, dead Chinese, dead Chinese."

Marjorie Garrett, daughter of late U.S. physician Dr. Robert O. Wilson who personally witnessed the Nanjing Massacre, said the history of the mass killing shall be told to the young generation.

Megan Brady, great-granddaughter of Richard Freeman Brady, a surgeon who stayed in Nanjing during the Nanjing Massacre, composed a song titled Mercy to eulogize the vitality of life and the hard-won victory.

These voices from the international community condemning the atrocious crime and calling on people to remember the history are constantly arousing people's aspiration for and adherence to peace.

History will not be changed with the course of time, and facts will never fade away due to repudiation from the artful tongue.

Recently, the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders held a press conference on the newly acquired cultural relics and historical data. A new batch of 453 historical materials was added to the memorial hall collection as new evidence of war crimes related to the Nanjing Massacre, including the original diary of Japanese soldier Jun Arai and photos of the Japanese army's Unit 1644, which was as notorious as Unit 731 and committed heinous crimes of performing germ experiments on human beings in China.

Besides, in November, an American pawnshop owner donated to the Consulate General of China in Chicago a World War II (WWII) photo album that sheds light on the atrocious crimes committed by the Japanese army in China during WWII.

However, Japanese right-wing politicians are still adhering to a wrong perception of history, visiting or sending ritual offerings to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine that honors Class-A convicted Japanese war criminals from WWII, glossing over and even denying the Nanjing Massacre and disavowing the issue of "comfort women." They even publicly questioned the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration and the Tokyo Trial.

These practices seriously hurt the dignity and feelings of the people in the victimized nations in Asia, and represent a countercurrent that challenges the victorious outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War.

Those who try to turn back the wheel of history are bound to find themselves on the wrong path again. There has been an obvious shift to right-wing politics and a rising trend toward military provocation in Japan over the recent years, which brings a sense of insecurity to the peace-loving people in Japan and the rest of the world.

Japan's defense budget has kept growing for 10 consecutive years and the country is fanning up regional tensions to seek opportunities to further its military development. This is extremely dangerous and makes Japan's Asian neighbors and the international community doubt whether the country could still stick to its "exclusively defense-oriented" commitment and follow a peaceful development path.

Japan must understand that only by facing and having deep reflections on its history of aggression, and making a clean break with militarism, can it win the trust of its neighboring countries in Asia and the international community, and go into the future with a responsible attitude.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan. Half a century ago, the two sides, with extraordinary strategic vision and political courage, made the decision of normalizing ties and opened a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Over the past five decades, the two sides have successively reached four political documents and a series of important common understandings. They have reaped fruitful results in their cooperation in various fields, brought about important benefits to the two peoples and promoted regional peace, development and prosperity.

The two countries need to treat each other with sincerity, engage each other with trust, abide by the principles of the four China-Japan political documents, and draw lessons from history. They should view each other's development in an objective and rational manner, and translate into policies the political consensus that the two countries should "be partners, not threats."

Major issues of principle such as history and Taiwan bear on the political foundation and basic trust in China-Japan relations, and therefore must be handled in good faith and appropriately.

The Japanese side should keep its promise, refrain from overstepping and crossing the line, and ensure that bilateral relations do not flip-flop or backpedal.

The solemn ceremony to mourn the victims of the massacre was held with the purpose to promote peace in the world. When the bell of peace rang up in the air of Nanjing, the conviction of remembering history and cherishing peace was passed on.

Justice will prevail! Peace will prevail! The people will prevail! It is the great truth of history. Today, China's national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability and China has grown into a great country that is able to safeguard peace for its people.

The country will always stand on the right side of history and the progressive side of humanity, firmly follow a path of peaceful development, and work with all peace-loving countries and peoples around the world to make more contributions to the long-term peace of the world.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.) 

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Liang Jun)


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