File photo shows Lugou Bridge occupied by Japanese invaders in Beijing. China was the first nation to fight against fascist forces. The struggle started on September 18, 1931, when Japanese troops began their invasion of northeast China. It was intensified when Japan's full-scale invasion began after a crucial access point to Beijing, Lugou Bridge, also known as Marco Polo Bridge, was attacked by Japanese troops on July 7, 1937.
BEIJING, July 6 -- No nation may take its rightful place in the history until it levels a measured gaze on both past glories and historical disgraces.
Eighty years is more than enough for a country to learn to tell wrong from right, truth from lies, if that country has the will.
The Holocaust, the Spanish Inquisition, Slavery, Apartheid - all have sent nations to their knees in supplication of the world's forgiveness, and, in general, redemption has been granted.
The anniversary of the Lugou Bridge Incident invariably brings painful memories to the Chinese people. It was 80 years ago, on July 7, 1937, that Japanese soldiers attacked Chinese forces at the bridge, beginning eight years of war between the armies of the two nations and eight years of atrocities perpetrated by Japanese invaders on Chinese civilians, young and old, male and female.
Around 35 million Chinese had been killed or wounded by Japanese troops by 1945, with at least 300,000 raped and slaughtered in the Nanjing Massacre alone.
Eighty years have passed and there is still no shortage of misguided people in Japan who deny that tens of millions of innocent Chinese people lost their lives in the war.
Earlier this year, Japanese hotel chain APA Group, for reasons which remain somewhat opaque, took it upon themselves to put books in their rooms which deny the Nanjing Massacre ever took place and seem to claim that "comfort women" were merry volunteers, pleased to pleasure the invading aggressors.
It must be quite strange to be in a Tokyo hotel room looking for a guidebook to local nightlife, the room service menu or a Gideon's Bible, and find a book of lies, with no relevance whatsoever to one's stay in the hotel.
It turns out that the hotel's CEO, Toshio Motoya, is a prominent sponsor of Japan's right wing forces and cheerleader for a variety of right wing activities.
In April, Japan's government endorsed a controversial Imperial Rescript on Education, an ideological weapon that promotes militarism. We are probably not going very far down the road to redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation while one of the countries involved continues to pretend that nothing much went on.
There are, all over East and Southeast Asia, a number of victim countries and victim humans who would dearly love to restore good, normal, honest relations with Japan. However, as long as Japan continues lies about its history of aggression, what are the victims supposed to do?
Chinese people raised several thousand Japanese orphans as their parents slunk back to their archipelagic home after the war. The perpetrator of all this evil seems to have conveniently forgotten that the murder, rape, torture and maiming ever took place. Should the victims also simply forget?
There is no ambiguity, no doubt nor controversy, when it comes to the particular historical issues in question. Japanese invaders slaughtered millions of innocent Chinese people. Any German person today who denies or defends Germany's treatment of the Jews or Gypsies during WWII soon ends up in prison, and meets the widespread condemnation of the nation and the world at large.
Japanese apologists, who similarly deny their treatment of innocent people throughout the region, find themselves as CEOs of successful businesses.
China remembers the past. Honest, heartfelt reflection does not perpetuate hatred but gives us the chance to avoid repetition of such tragedies.
China observes all bilateral political documents and strongly advocates Sino-Japanese friendship. China wants peaceful development for all and an open attitude toward other countries, including Japan. Germany has taken full, unmitigated responsibility for its role in the war and won the respect of the world.
The Japanese government fully understands the benefits of friendly relations with China. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last month he is willing to explore opportunities in the Belt and Road Initiative "under certain conditions."
China and Japan have common interests in globalization and trade liberalization. Both benefit from regional stability and development.
If only Japan would reflect honestly on its past! Are the understanding, respect and trust one's neighbors not the hallmarks of a nation of which its people can be rightly proud?
While Japan continues to hum and haw, to prevaricate and procrastinate, in the vague hope that the world will eventually forget its militarist past, China stands ready to forgive, but will never forget.