NEW YORK – About 300 people, mostly Chinese but with some Koreans, held a rally Friday at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations to protest Japan’s attitude toward its wartime past.
The spirited but peaceful rally lasted about an hour. It was organized by the Global Chinese Alliance for the Unification of China.
Participants waved Chinese and South Korean flags in a show of unity against Japan’s approach to its wartime history.
“I came here to express myself,” said Li Huang, 30, who came to the United States from China about three years ago. “I think Japan is not a reasonable country. I want Japan to face the history and apologize for its deeds in the past.
“The Japanese people are friendly,” she said. “It’s just the government’s problem. I have some Japanese friends and we get along with each other very well.”
Another participant, Gao Peng, 27, said he felt a sense of responsibility to attend.
“I want the Japanese government to face the truth and have the courage to face the future,” Gao said. “I think the Japanese and Chinese should be friends. We cannot ignore the history.
“Both of us are trying our best, but I think the Japanese government has to do more than the Chinese,” Gao said.
Joseph Lung, a 60-year-old participant from Hong Kong, said: “Because of the history, I don’t think Japan should be a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. But I’d like to tell the Japanese people that I love them.”
Chen Qingquan, 50, chairman of the Chinese Federation of East America, said: “We want the Chinese and Japanese friendship. We want peace. We don’t want war.”
Relations between Japan and China have taken a sharp turn for the worse in recent weeks after the government approved a controversial history textbook, sparking demonstrations.