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Chinese citizens echo Xi's sentiments on war history

Updated: 2014-07-08 17:23
By Su Zhou ( chinadaily.com.cn)

President Xi Jinping criticized people who "beautify the history of aggression" in a nationally televised speech on Monday, as Beijing marked the 77th anniversary of the start of the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945).

"Unfortunately, nearly 70 years after victory in the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the anti-fascist war, there is still a minority group of people who ignore historical facts, who ignore the tens of thousands of lives lost in the war, who go against the tide of history and deny, and even beautify, the history of aggression and harm international mutual trust and create regional tension," Xi said at the ceremony at the Lugou Bridge, known as the Marco Polo Bridge in the 1930s, in suburban Beijing.

Others echoed Xi's sentiments on July 7:

1. Wang Shuxian, female, 87, retired neighborhood committee director, Beijing

I was only seven or eight years old when the war started. My home was next to the gate of Wanping county. I have never left this county, no matter which countries' troops invaded Beijing. I have protected Wanping in my own way.

My memory about the war is hiding all the time, hiding from the Japanese. Hiding saved my family from all kinds of war and disturbances. Now I have three sons and two daughters. They are all Communist Party members and contribute to the country in their positions.

My mom, who was a secret Communist intelligence officer, died when she was 31 years old. My dad raised me up. During the occupation, life was so hard that I cannot even elaborate in one or two sentences. War is crueler than you think. I have always told my children and grandchild how precious peace is.

To remember this day is to remind everyone, especially elders like me who have survived the war, to value peace and don't start war easily. War brings such suffering to the lowest level of people.

However, if we have to fight, we will fight. We have fought before and we can and will fight.

2. Liu Jinlong, male, 60, retired factory worker, Beijing

I visit Wanping county on July 7 every year. I was born in this county and still live nearby. I have my own attachments here.

I have no direct experience of war. However, I heard this a lot when I was young. At that time, I thought it was boring. Gradually I understood and felt respectful for those soldiers that died during the war. They fought for our homeland, for us who enjoy peace afterward. They didn't fight for themselves. I come here to remember those heroes, with names or without names.

3. Wang Xinjian, male, 55, civil servant with Shandong province

I think all ceremonies are to remind us not to forget. The ceremony is so important today because some right-wing politicians in Japan have been trying to whitewash the atrocities Japanese aggressors committed during the war. People of my age are getting older every day. Youngsters have to remember this. We cannot repeat history.

I think, in the future, massive-scale wars can be avoided, while local wars cannot. We need to be ready for this. So I think the anti-corruption campaign within the army is very important. We need an army that can fight. A corrupted army cannot defend our homeland.

4. Wang Tong, 23, male, soldier from Guangdong province

I have a very complicated view toward Japan. First, I think we cannot compromise on some issues, like the attitude of history and territorial disputes. Second, I think Japan has done a lot of impressive work that we can learn from, such as environmental protection.

I think the potential risk among countries in an age of peace may come from terrorism and territorial disputes. Japan, as our neighbor, will definitely have conflicts with us.

However, I don't think we have to be hostile toward Japan. We need to let bygones be bygones. We have to look forward. Many patriotic demonstrations of youngsters against Japan have turned into crimes, which is not cool. We have to choose a more rational way to love our country.

Many youngsters don't pay too much attention to politics, not to mention serious thinking on this issue. We should not remember this event by just bringing it up among friends or feeling sad about the suffering. We have to think deeply about how to avoid this in the future.

5. Yi Kang, 24, male, teacher from Ganzhou, Jiangxi province

My grandfather was chief of staff of the 19th Division of the regular army of KMT, and fought with the Japanese directly. So I have heard a lot about war and know how cruel the war was. My grandfather said at the beginning of the war, the Chinese army could barely fight back. Many armies were wiped out in the blink of an eye.

Young people should remember the history without hatred. I think the deceased would want us to live in a peaceful and prosperous world. They fought to end a war, not to start a new one.

6. Zhang Changhai, male, 84, veteran of guerrilla forces, Tangshan, Hebei province, joined the army at the war's later period

I joked when President Xi shook my hands during the ceremony: I can go back to the battlefield if the country needs me.

The denial of the invasion recently in Japan shows that Japan has refused to take lessons from history. I think this is crazy. China is not the vulnerable country that Japan invaded on 1937. And Japan's behavior has increased the concerns of other Asian countries. If Japan wants to regain its power through its old path, it will bring its own destruction.