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2014-07-07 77th Anniversary of "July Seventh Incident"
   2014-07-07 09:24:46    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Ding Heng

South Beijing's Marco Polo Bridge, known as Lugou Bridge in China, witnessed how the wholesale Japanese aggression agaist China kicked off in 1937. 


 

Today, July 7, marks the 77th anniversary of the start of the war that would come to define an era, the War of Resistance by the Chinese people against Japanese aggression in 1937.

Japan had occupied China's Northeast since 1931, but war only began in full after a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese troops broke out on Beijing's Lugou or Marco Polo Bridge in July 1937.

The full-scale war that followed would last for the next 8 years, and result in the deaths of millions of Chinese and the destruction of cities on a massive scale.

Japanese soldiers, brainwashed by the militaristic culture which dominated Japan at the time, committed appalling war crimes which have not been forgotten. Most notorious of these is the Nanjing Massacre, in which 300,000 people were killed.

Some Japanese leaders have apologized for past wrongdoings, as have individual soldiers: China's National Archives are now releasing confession letters written by Japanese soldiers.

However, denialism from some elements of Japanese society, including Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, have constantly created great anger and damaged ties with China along with South Korea, another victim to the Japanese invasion.

Japan's eventual defeat, and occupation by US forces led to the creation of Japan's current political system and constitution.

In a move criticized by China and South Korea, the Abe government has reinterpreted the pacifist article in the Japanese constitution. The change would enable Japan to fight for "countries with close ties" with Japan even though Japan itself is not under attack.

So, looking back in history, how do experts analyze China's wartime experience against Japan? And how does it all relate to the current situation in Asia?

Ni Hao, you're listening to People In the Know, bringing you insights into the headlines in China and around the World, I'm Zheng Chenguang in Beijing.

To discuss the history of these events, we spoke to Rana Mitter, professor of Chinese History at Oxford University. 

For a look at modern times, we spoke to
Yang Bojiang, head of the institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

 
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