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Some in the West still stuck in Cold War

Updated: 2015-09-04 08:50
By Chen Weihua (China Daily)

Some in the West still stuck in Cold War

Soldiers of PLA march in formation past the Tian'anmen Square before a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

The military parade in Beijing on Thursday was the public highlight of this year's event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II and the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

Veterans, from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, Russia, the United States and several other countries, attended the parade.

About 11 hours before the Beijing parade, dozens of US veterans who fought the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific theater during the war gathered at the National WWII Memorial in Washington to mark the 70th anniversary.

The recollections of the veterans show how closely China and the US fought alongside each other. Thomas Robert Vaucher, who flew 117 combat missions in the Pacific, remembers well that some 9,200 Chinese built an air base outside Chengdu, not with mechanical devices, but with their muscles. Vaucher praised the Chinese for the huge role they played in fighting the Japanese.

The message from these commemorative events is simple and clear. We should learn the hard lessons from the past and do our utmost to ensure world peace. The huge loss of Chinese lives was recognized. At least 35 million Chinese either lost their lives or were injured during the war, more than any other nation.

However, China's military parade has too often been misinterpreted in the West as a show of muscle based on what they claim is its desire to project assertiveness in the South China Sea.

This is completely untrue.

China's economy is closely linked with the global economy. Building a military capable of protecting its interests, such as patrolling the Gulf of Eden against rampant piracy, is a rational decision. With stronger capabilities, China will also be able to shoulder more responsibilities. China is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Nothing justifies the accusation that China will try to rock the boat and bring chaos and conflict to the region. China depends on a peaceful environment for its development, not only over the past 30 to 40 years, but today and in the future.

Unlike the United States and some other nations, China does not have military bases overseas. And President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday that China will cut its troop levels by 300,000.

The West's misperception of China should not come as a surprise, because China, with its different political system, has long been viewed with deep suspicion by the West - a legacy of the Cold War. The West is always right and China, which is ruled by one party, is always wrong.

Such a Cold War mentality has indeed prevented them from looking at facts objectively. For example, many in the West do not seem bothered by the US-led invasion of Iraq, which is still in chaos at the cost of countless lives. Instead, they have joined the US to play up the non-existent China threat to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Such a mentality is in urgent need of change, because for China the Cold War is long over.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA. chenweihua@chinadailyusa.com

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