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China uses D-Day rites to blast Japan’s stance on war history

Kyodo

China on Friday used the 70th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy, also known as D-Day, as an opportunity to lecture Japan on the importance of learning from history and accepting responsibility for its role in World War II.

Germany’s “sincere repentance” for its role in the war stands in stark contrast to Japan, which “is still trying to reverse the verdict of history, turning back the will of history, challenging the victory of the Second World War and the postwar international order,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said during a daily press briefing.

“We urge the Japanese leaders once again to face up to and reflect upon its history of aggression, to correct its mistakes with concrete actions and win back the trust from its Asian neighbors and the international community,” Hong said.

The comments came in response to a question from the state-run Xinhua News Agency. China Central Television included the remarks in its afternoon broadcast along with segments discussing the history of the Normandy invasion.

Beijing has previously contrasted Germany and Japan’s respective attitudes toward their responsibility for the war as a means of scolding Tokyo for failing to face up to its role in the conflict.

On a trip to Germany in May, Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly requested that German Chancellor Angel Merkel accompany him on an official visit to Berlin’s Holocaust memorial, but Merkel declined, fearing that Xi intended to politicize the visit by using it to criticize Japan.

Germany’s envoy to China, Michael Klauss, subsequently blasted China for the ploy, telling the South China Morning Post that Germany “does not want to see our approach to history exploited to stir up tensions between Tokyo and Beijing. That is a different matter.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn criticism from around the world for his visit last December to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, a memorial to Japan’s war dead, including several Class-A war criminals. The visit has dragged relations with China and South Korea to new lows.

Members of his administration have also attracted heavy criticism for their remarks downplaying the Imperial Japanese military’s role in forcing women from across Asia and Europe into service as sex slaves for soldiers. Japan euphemistically refers to the girls and women as the “ianfu,” or “comfort women.”

China has a checkered record in dealing with its own history, as evidenced by efforts this week to squelch attempts to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, when Chinese soldiers killed hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful pro-democracy protesters.

  • Daniel Francis

    China is behaving as someone who would use a birthday celebration to remind the birthday-person of the time they were in jail long, long ago.

  • King Kung

    Americans don’t like to think of themselves as hypocrites but the Republicans can remind Obama once in a while – that is the beauty of the American republic!

  • Yamatosenkan

    The PRC’s behavior is becoming more revolting by the day.

    And to think this language is coming at the same time as China actively erases the memory of the Tienanmen massacre and is preying on smaller neighbors like Vietnam and the Philippines.

    China might do well to learn from Germany’s neighbors, including Russia, in accepting Japan’s war apologies and acknowledge the constructive role Japan has played in the world, including the billions in aid and technological support to China.

  • Stephen Kent

    “We urge the Japanese leaders once again to face up to and reflect upon its history of aggression, to correct its mistakes with concrete actions and win back the trust from its Asian neighbors and the international community,” Hong said – in his winning speech at the 2014 International Pot Kettle Black Competition.

  • echykr

    While those Nanjing deniers in Japan are admittedly living in dreamland, this is still a bit rich coming from the PRC, coming only just days after the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, which they treated as though nothing happened, as usual.

    After all, wasn’t it Mao that personally “thanked” the Japanese (to be more exact, to PM Tanaka Kakuei in a state visit in 1974) for invading China, so that Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists could be worn down while the Communists bided their time?

  • robertwgordonesq

    Doesn’t Tibet want to be free?