China Opens Exhibition To Mark War Victory Over Japan | Independent Newspapers Limited
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China Opens Exhibition To Mark War Victory Over Japan

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 8:34 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

China opened Tuesday an exhibition of guns and photos of massacres to commemorate the World War II victory over Japan, part of a propaganda push to stir up nationalism by observing the 70th anniversary of the war’s end in Asia with great fanfare.

Soldiers and children stood in silence outside the museum in suburban Beijing at the opening ceremony for the “Great Victory and Historical Contribution” exhibition on the 78th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. A clash at the Marco Polo Bridge in 1937 is regarded as the first battle of the second Sino-Japanese war, which lasted until Japan’s defeat by the Allies in 1945.

Relations between the two Asian giants have long been affected by what Chinese see as Japan’s failure to sufficiently atone for the suffering it caused during the war. They have also worsened in recent years over competing claims to islands in the East China Sea. China has sought to underline what it maintains is Japan’s renewed militarism, while at the same time becoming more aggressive in pressing its own territorial claims.

With the Chinese flag flying Tuesday outside the entrance to the Museum of the War of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Liu Yunshan, the Communist Party’s propaganda chief, said the exhibition was to remember the “martyrs, to cherish the peace and look ahead to the future.”

Inside, the exhibition includes handguns, machine guns, a cannon as well as toxic shells and gas masks said to have been used by Japanese troops. Photos show troops fighting and the aftermath of massacres by Japanese soldiers, including heads on wooden stakes.

Liu said the exhibition “demonstrates the bravery of all Chinese people in this anti-Japanese war and the critical role played by the Chinese Communist Party.” It also serves as “an excellent platform for patriotic education,” he added.

As part of President Xi Jinping’s drive to stir patriotism, China is promoting its participation in World War II as never before. Last year, it created three new annual national holidays linked to the war.

In September, China will hold a military parade to mark the anniversary of the end of the war in Asia. So far, only Russia has confirmed it will send officials and soldiers to take part in the September 3 parade.