By Charles Onunaiju
On every September 3rd since 2015, the Chinese people observe a national holiday to commemorate the victory of the country in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression and the triumph in the World anti-fascist war”.
Though, the victory is significant for the Chinese, for the earth-scorching Japanese militarist aggression and the broad and intense national mobilization of the Chinese that resisted and triumphed over it, it however, contributed to worldwide triumph over fascist aggression of the second world war.
Even before the Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland on the 1st of September, 1939, Japan has in 1931 stoked aggression against the China, in the so-called Mukden incident. The incident which occurred in the current Shenyang province of northern China, which was then known as Mukden, happened when a Japanese soldier detonated a small quantity of dynamite close to a railway line by the then, Japan’s owned South Manchuria railway. The aim been to frame up and accused a Chinese military detachment nearby. Having created the incident, Japan imperial army invaded and occupied Manchuria and barely six months after, establish the puppet state of Manchukuo and installed the deposed head of the Qing dynasty, Puyi as titular ruler.
The league of Nations Commission of inquiry, the Lytton Report later exposed the intrigue of Japan, which led to the diplomatic isolation of Japan and its eventual withdrawal from the League in 1933.
In 1937, Japan imperial Army used the alibi of its missing soldier who later returned to its barracks to stage another willful aggression in the so-called Marco Polo Bridge incident to attack China. The Japan imperial army atrocities peaked with the Nanjing massacre on December 13th, 1937 and lasted for six weeks during which over 300, 000 Chinese, including children, women, and the elderly were massacred in the most gruesome way. In fact, there were stories of Japanese commanders who competed over who could kill 100 Chinese with bare hands and sword within the shortest period of time.
The fact was that, even before the European theater of the world was opened with the Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, the Asian theater of the war has started with Japan’s earth-scorched aggression against China. The Chinese people did not meekly endure the brutal aggression of Japan but rather mounted effective resistance and it is taken for granted in modern times that China was actually the first country to enter what would become known as the second world war. The sheer scale of China’s resistance destroyed Japan’s war strategy. At the time of Japan’s attack of the U.S pearl Harbour about 80% of Japanese troops were held down in China and could not be released to form pacific perimeter against the U.S due to China’s resistance. A clear vanguard in the defeat of Japan, the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression and China’s contribution to the world war against fascism was obtained at a very high cost of sacrifice and devastation.
The United States suffered 420,000 causalities, the U.K lost 450,000 while the former Soviet Union lost 27 million against Nazism.
China lost over 30 million, 90% of the total deaths in the Asian theater of the war.
Ultimately, for enduring the longest period in Japan’s aggression and making largest effort in the defeat of fascism, China in modern times make unremitting efforts to secure global peace through vigorous contributions to sustainable and inclusive development, which is the only meaningful guarantee to peace and security. The effort to secure peace and guarantee security cannot be achieved without putting history in context and drawing the relevant lessons. The most vital in this regard is to ensure that history is neither trivialized nor distorted.
Japan’s imperial army having suffered defeat in its war of aggression may have been weaned off its imperial mindset but Japan should never seek to tamper with the historical facts of its past behavior. The continuous visits of Japan’s leadership to the Yasukuni shrine that holds the remains of Japan’s class A convicted war criminals, including the notorious architect of the Nanjing massacre, General Matsu Iwane is a provocation; to which not only China objects but the rest of Asia and which also a revulsion against all human conscience
In recent times, China has contributed some important ideas to global governance through the vital initiative of the “Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” (BRI). The BRI which currently enjoys universal acceptance and ownership puts into practice the idea of a functional global village, with the concrete network of infrastructure connectivity through a global participatory framework of extensive consultations, joint contributions and shared benefits. The aim is that shared development and prosperity in which every member of the human community is a stakeholder, will give practical expression to the idea of a community of shared future for mankind. Under a shared future for mankind, a global dialogue of civilizations would replace clash of civilizations and bring humanity not to the end of history but to the threshold of a new chapter of history of joint and collective exertions and not only to preserve the world but to make it beautiful and harmonious.
Africa and China having endured in the past, the brutality and expropriation of imperialist aggression can play pivotal roles in the emerging multi-polar world order with the United Nations system at its core not only to advance the building of a community of shared future for mankind but contained such non-traditional global security threat as the current raging covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Onunaiju, is director, Center for China Studies, Abuja