New data shows China’s role in WWII

By Jiang Jie and Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-15 0:13:01

Record points to sacrifices of Chinese people, contribution to peace

Japanese war orphans visit graves of adoptive Chinese families at Fangzheng county on Monday in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. A delegation consisting of more than 50 Japanese war orphans arrived at Fangzheng county to pay tribute to their Chinese adoptive parents who took them in at the end of WWII. Photo: CFP

China on Tuesday released the official record of its loss of life and property in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), a move analysts said stresses the country's important effort and great sacrifice in preserving peace.

The release comes just weeks before a major event in Beijing on September 3 that will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

Analysts also believe the data will help clarify war-time history, which lies at the heart of strained Sino-Japanese relations.

China suffered more than 35 million military and civilian casualties, with military casualties reaching more than 3.8 million.

This is one-third of total casualties from all nations in WWII, Wang Jianliang, director of the Institute of Modern History at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told a press conference on Tuesday.

"Chinese forces killed, wounded and captured over 1.5 million Japanese troops in the war," Wang said.

The official property loss suffered by the Chinese people was valued at more than $100 billion, using 1937 exchange rates, he said, adding the indirect economic losses reached as high as $500 billion.

The release of the official record comes amid the nation's stepped-up efforts to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, while Sino-Japanese relations remain somewhat tense.

"China wants to commemorate the victory to boost people's confidence after achievements made by the reform and opening-up policy, but more importantly China is appealing to the international community to cherish and protect world peace," Zhou Yongsheng, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

The celebrations are not directed against any country, but will act as a deterrent to some Japanese right-wingers, he emphasized.

"The results [of the war record] are based on sound facts, including historical documents and testimony, which helped expose crimes committed by the Japanese invaders. It is also a response to denials by Japanese right-wing forces of the [war] aggression and a reflection of the sacrifices made by Chinese people," Li Zhongjie, former deputy director of the Party history research office under the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told the conference.

Zhou added that statistics given by the authorities are more concrete and authoritative, which could help ordinary Japanese people learn about history and may in turn urge the Japanese government to make sincere apologies.

According to scholars at the conference, China was the only battlefield against Japanese fascism before 1941 and it helped stall and resist some 80 percent of the total Japanese army forces.

Analysts said the release of the official record will help improve Sino-Japanese relations in the long run. It could unravel historic issues between the two countries, which are at the center of the long-held mutual mistrust and could neutralize potential factors that could destabilize peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Japan is uneasy with China's rapid development. Meanwhile, US policy toward China and Japan, including its acquiescence to Japan's expansion of its self-defense, has also affected Sino-Japanese relations," Yang Bojiang, director of Japanese studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to express "deep remorse" over WWII in a statement before August 15, the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender, but he is unlikely to offer an apology for the war, Kyodo News reported.

China has extended an official invitation to Abe to attend the parade marking victory in China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. However, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that Japan "has not yet received an invitation letter" and that "nothing has been decided at this point."

Xinhua contributed to the story

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