BEIJING – China will publish historical records of Japan’s past militarism as part of its commemoration this year of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a senior official has said.
Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-highest ranking member of the Communist Party, told more than 2,000 members of China’s top political advisory body on Tuesday as it convened its annual meeting in Beijing that the publication is intended to “keep in mind our history as a warning for the future.”
Yu, who serves as chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, did not say what kinds of cultural and historical data China has been collecting to mark the war anniversary.
The top advisory body met before the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, begins its annual session on Thursday.
The announcement by Yu was made a day after China officially said it would stage a rare military parade and other major events this year in the country’s capital to commemorate the war.
These moves are seen by observers as a pressure tactic by Beijing aimed at Tokyo, although tensions have eased somewhat following the long-awaited first meeting last November between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping.
China regards Abe as lacking remorse over Japan’s past aggression, especially after his visit in late 2013 to Yasukuni Shrine, where convicted war criminals are enshrined among the country’s war dead.
Chinese leaders are anxious over what Abe will say this summer for the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the war, including if he will uphold past apologies.
China will invite leaders from the “major belligerent states,” Asian nations and international organizations, including the United Nations, to participate in the events, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.
No dates were given for the events, nor did the statement mention any invitees by name.
Asked if China has already asked Japanese and German leaders, among others, to attend the events, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said arrangements are still underway.
She also said the purpose of the parade is “to show the resolve and capability of China and the world to safeguard world peace, and it is not to flex our muscles toward anyone.”
The parade is unusual for Beijing, which has tended to reserve ceremonial displays of military might for marking major anniversaries of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1 in 1949.
The last major military parade took place in 2009 on the 60th anniversary of the founding.
The events seem to be in line with recent moves by Beijing to draw attention to Japanese war crimes and push Tokyo into accepting fuller responsibility for its role in the conflict.
In December, China held its first ever national commemoration of the Nanking Massacre, an event that is the subject of debate in Japan over how many people were killed, with some right-wingers going so far as to question whether the tragedy even occurred.
The military parade was originally reported in January in a Hong Kong newspaper, which speculated that its purpose was to “frighten Japan.”
That report was subsequently republished by the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, a move that suggested the country’s leadership approved of the assessment.
Speculation is rife that the parade will be held around Sept. 3, the date regarded by China as “victory day.”
Japanese officials formally signed surrender documents on Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.