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77 Years Ago, a War That Killed Millions Began Between China and Japan

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Chinese President Xi Jinping lambasted Japan’s wartime aggression and reiterated China’s commitment to peaceful development, in an emotional 13-min speech aired on state television to mark the 77th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge incident — the battle that saw the start of the Japanese military evasion.

It’s the first time the top leader of China has ever attended such a high-profile orchestrated event, as relations between Beijing and Tokyo have chilled over issues ranging from island disputes to the growing nationalism in both countries.

Addressing military representatives, a group of young students, party officials and select residents of Beijing, Xi said: “There is still a small minority of people who turn a blind eye to historical facts and ignore tens of thousands of lives lost in the war, who have gone against historic trend and have denied repeatedly or even beautified the history of invasion”.

Xi’s designation of “a small minority” is an apparent reference to the right-wing politicians in Japan who have rejected what China says were Japanese wartime atrocities that include the infamous Nanjing Massacre and forced sexual slavery during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937–1945.

“The purpose of this ceremony is to remember history, reflect on our revolutionary ancestors, cherish peace and be vigilant of future [risks] and for China to resolutely walk down a path of peaceful development and safeguard world peace,” Xi said at the beginning of his speech. He added that the denial of history has damaged mutual trust and created regional tension.

Read more: Written by Owen

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