Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Remember history and cherish peace

Published:Wednesday | August 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dong Xiaojun

Not long ago, in Kingston, I visited a family member of Dr Robert Kho-Seng Lim, a person Chinese people are proud of, and I had the privilege of going through some precious historical documents.

Dr Lim, one of the most renowned scientists in modern China, was the founder of the Chinese Physiological Society, a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and most impressive of all, a much-respected head of the Chinese Red Cross Society during the Second World War and the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

He was the recipient of many awards from the Chinese government for his heroic services, but not many people are aware that he spent the last phase of his life in Jamaica. His extraordinary experience links China with Jamaica in both countries' great contribution towards the anti-fascist history. As far as I know, Jamaica's contribution is not limited to the provision of military base to the allies. Thousands of Jamaicans joined the battle and many lost their lives.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War, as well as the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. The Chinese nation has made a significant historic contribution towards the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. As is known to all, the anti-fascist war in China broke out the earliest and lasted the longest.

The 'September 18 Incident', which took place in China in 1931, signified the start of the World Anti-Fascist War, eight years before Poland was invaded by German fascists. Over a protracted period of time, China was the main theatre of the World Anti-Fascist War in the east, resisting and containing the major part of the Japanese militarist forces.

On the eve of Japan's surrender, 1.86 million Japanese soldiers were deployed in China, counting for more than 50 per cent of overall Japanese overseas forces. In the course of the war against Japanese aggression, Chinese forces killed, injured or captured more than 1.5 million Japanese soldiers.

Chinese people made enormous national sacrifice for the World Anti-Fascist War. According to incomplete statistics, China suffered a casualty of more than 35 million people, property loss and war expenditure of more than US$100 billion and an indirect economic loss of US$500 billion.

 

NEW INTERNATIONAL ORDER

 

Following the end of the war, China proactively participated in the building of a new international order and the creation of international organisations such as the United Nations. Over the past 70 years, the established purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter have always been the cornerstone of contemporary international law and international relations, and played an indispensable role in fostering progress in the human history.

Germany, another initiator and defeated country of the Second World War, made historical reconciliation with European countries long ago, and has been playing a great role in the development of the European Union. In contrast, in recent years, some Japanese politicians time and again questioned the 'Tokyo Trial', denied the 'Nanjing Massacre', and repeatedly made distorting changes to relevant contents of history textbooks in Japan.

Certain Japanese leaders continue to pay tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Class A war criminals are also housed, despite strong opposition from China and other Asian countries that suffered from its aggression. What is more, recently, Japan has been pushing a series of actions such as a new security act.

All these are, in nature, endeavours on the part of Japan to gravely challenge the post-war international order. These acts constitute a long-term threat to world peace and stability. Japan has so far failed to make a clean break with militarism. As a result, it has failed to gain trust from its Asian neighbours, and this historical burden will become even heavier as time goes by.

The victory of the World Anti-Fascist War was scored at a huge price paid by the world people, including that of China and Jamaica. The war has left with many profound lessons and important enlightenment that we should always remember. Mei Ju-ao, the Chinese member of the judges in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East's trials of Japanese war criminals, said that forgetting the past misery could lead to future catastrophe.

On September 3, the Chinese government will host a series of grand activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, as well as the World Anti-Fascist War, in a bid to memorise the history and safeguard peace together with the world people.

Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide to the future. Chinese people are ready to join hands with people all over the world to firmly safeguard the victorious outcomes of the Second World War, unswervingly maintain the post-war international order, and strive for better prospects for humankind.

- Dong Xiaojun is ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Jamaica. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.