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Memorial for Korean who fought Japanese colonization

Updated: 2014-01-19 23:20
( Xinhua)


"We seldom build a memorial for a foreigner. Today we do not intend to raise discord, but hope all countries can face up to history and jointly seek peace," said Xu Hedong, deputy director of the Harbin cultural and press department who was in charge of construction.

Visitors from China, the ROK and other countries came to the memorial hall to pay tribute to the Korean hero.

Hee Sun Jung, general manager of ROK's Asiana Airlines' regional field office in Harbin, took his 12-year-old son to see the exhibition and asked him to remember Japan's history of invasion.

"Thank China for marking the exact spot of the incident," said Jung, who had come to the railway station to pay homage to Ahn before the memorial was erected.

Social scientists consider such memorials an acceptance of history and important aspects of the struggle for peace in the future.

"Ahn Jung Geun was not a terrorist but one who confronted colonists bravely," said Da Zhigang, director of the institute of northeast Asian studies of Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences. "I believe the purpose  this memorial hall is not to cut off communication but to remind people of the real history and call for peace," Da added.

Charles K. Armstrong, professor of history at Columbia University, said it is fair to surmise that Japan has not reflected as deeply on its past actions as it might.

"It is not unreasonable for China and Korea to ask the Japanese government to sincerely and unambiguously condemn the invasions of Korea and China and the many terrible acts committed by Japanese soldiers in WWII. Such a clean break from the past could help Japan greatly improve its relations with its neighbors," Armstrong told Xinhua in an email interview.

Seong-hyon Lee, chief correspondent of the Korea Times, said the move would certainly have a positive impact on Sino-ROK relations.

According to him, Ahn is a very well known figure in the ROK, widely respected as a patriot as he stood against Japanese imperialism.