Expert: After 80 years, Japan still misrepresents Lugou Bridge Incident

China Military Online
Huang Panyue
Left: A file photo shows Japanese soldiers fighting in a ditch near the Suzhou River in Shanghai, China, in 1937. Right: A file photo shows the beautiful night scenery on the banks of the Suzhou River in Shanghai, China nowadays. [Photo:Xinhua]

By Huo Jiangang

BEIJING, July 7 (ChinaMil) -- Today is the 80th anniversary of the July 7 Incident (also known as the Lugou Bridge Incident) that occurred in 1937, which marks the beginning of China's eight-year War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

However, after 80 years, Japan still misrepresents the Lugou Bridge Incident.

Japan cannot deny some of the facts such as the Lugou Bridge Incident is indeed the beginning of Japan's expansion of aggression against China and the "September 18 Incident" that occurred in 1931 does lead to the occupation of the entire northeast of China by Japanese troops. The Japanese government also said that they "comply with the Tokyo Trial."

But deep in their heart, Japan is not willing to admit that this is the inevitable result of the expansion after the Meiji Restoration, an event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji, and they do not want to admit that this is "Japan's fault."

Japan's official attitude is different from their real ideas and therefore they often take various means to distort cause and effect to weaken or even wash off its hands.

In fact, this is also how the Japanese government plays with many historical facts including wars of aggression. Generally, Japan will agree superficially but actually, they will stir problems on some specific issues in order to blur and even subvert the nature of things.

For example, the majority of Japanese textbooks recognize the fact that the Japanese massacred the Chinese people in Nanjing, a city situated in the heartland of the lower Yangtze River region in China, but rarely stressed the nature of the massacre.

On the number of victims and other key issues, Japan would use "there are a variety of claims" and other excuses.

As for the Lugou Bridge Incident, although Japan does not deny its existence, its mainstream textbooks do not have "Japan deliberately provokes the incident" and uses "conflict between Japanese and Chinese armed forces" instead.

One of the important features of Japan's official view of history is "the fault of others".

In August 2015, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried to find excuses for their aggression, and even blamed the economic crisis.

As for the cause of the Sept. 18 Incident and the Lugou Bridge Incident, the Japanese government and its textbooks all said that Japan's interests in China were threatened and they had to provoke the incidents.

In fact, the "Tokyo Trial" had ruled that these incidents were planned and launched by Japan a long time ago.

Japan’s mindset is not only reflected in the historical view.

When we take history as a guide to examine the moment 80 years after the incident, it is not difficult to find that the Japanese government takes the same approach in dealing with China-Japan relations. Such attitude is incompatible with the “words match deeds” attitude of China.

The Japanese government is good at switching between perfunctory words and sincere words.

For example, Abe has repeatedly referred to a "stable and friendly relations between Japan and China" in his congressional speeches, and has recently hoped to "improve relationships with China".

But Japan did not stop their provocations in the South China Sea and they still render China as imaginary enemy. Of course, the Chinese people have already seen through this trick and never lost our objective view of China-Japan relations.

Why is China-Japan relations stalled? Ultimately, it is the lack of introspection of the Japanese side. Japan also tried all means to shirk its responsibility to the Chinese side.

Even in the face of pushing constitutional restrictions and lifting the ban on collective self-defense and other issues, the Japanese side also claimed that the reason is to deal with "rising external threats."

Japan claimed that it is the victim of China's military development and Japan must enhance self-defense capability and work with the U.S. to avoid such harm.

The Japanese government's correct understanding of the historical events such as the Lugou Bridge Incident is an important prerequisite for improving China-Japan relations.

Japan needs to recognize their own responsibilities and do things that are good for China-Japan relations, rather than continue to play with words.

Up: A file photo shows the official surrender of the Japanese in the Shandong fighting region in East China in 1945. Down: A photo shows the building where the official surrender of the Japanese took place now being transformed into a library in Shandong Province, East China nowadays. [Photo: Xinhua]
Up: A file photo shows the ruins after the war of Tai'erzhuang in the Zaozhuang city in Shandong Province, East China in 1938. Down: A photo taken at night of the Tai'erzhuang ancient city in the Zaozhuang city in Shandong Province, East China nowadays. [Photo:Xinhua]


Disclaimer: The article is written by Huo Jiangang, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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