Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Contemporary Sino-Japanese Relations, A History of Great Endurance

The Communist government of China exhausted the last ounce of its courage after a high profile show of words over disputed Diaoyu Islands, and backed down quietly with its tail between legs. This is not the first time when a Chinese government was ashamed by Japan. History has seen the same humiliation imposed by Japan on the Qing Empirical Court, Peiyang Government, KMT Government and the Communist Government of China again and again.

  • 1894, Jiawu in Chinese calendar, China lost a war over control of Korea; thus came the treaty of Shimonoseki, when China lost Taiwan and its surrounding islands, including today's disputed Diaoyu Islands.

  • 1900, Japan joined seven western powers to invade China, and seized Beijing.

  • 1904, Japan launch a war with Russia over interest in China. Two countries fought on Chinese land, while the Chinese government declared neutral. With a win over Russia, Japan claims exclusive rights in China's Northeast region.

  • 1915, with a threat of full scale war, Japan forced China to sign a treaty known as 21 articles, in which Japan received exclusive status in China.

  • 1919, Japan claimed China's Shangdong Province in the post-war Treaty of Versailles, although China was also a member of the Allies.

  • 1928, trying to intervene China's civil war, Japanese army and air force attacked Jinan of Shangdong Province. Sixty-one hundred residents were killed, along hundreds of Chinese troops. Japanese army rounded up China's diplomats delegation. Chinese diplomat Cai Gongshi was tortured to death. Japanese cut his ears, and tongue and eyes. Cai and his 17 staff were then beaten and killed.

  • 1931, Japanese army attacked Chinese military in Shenyang on September 18. Chinese government ordered its troops 'do not resist'. Soon the entire northeast three provinces fell to Japan.

  • 1937, Japanese army attacked Chinese military in Wanping near Beijing on July 7. The incident marked the beginning of full-scale Sino-Japanese war, also known as Eight Years of Resistance'. China lost 30 million people, including 400 thousand residents of Nanjing, then capital city, slaughter by Japanese army in days following the fell of the city.

  • 1972, Communist government of China and Japan established formal relationship with a joint announcement in Beijing. In a speech in Beijing, Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka expressed regret for having caused 'inconvenience' to China in previous invasions, and personally felt 'puzzled' for the history.

  • 1998, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Japan. While Japan had apologized to South Korea and some other southeastern Asia countries for its war crimes, Japan never apologized to China. As the first head of state from China to visit Japan, Jiang sought an official apology from Japan over its invasion and war crimes. However, Jiang was humiliated and ashamed by Japanese government and press.

Perhaps, rather than repeatedly begging Japanese government to 'reflect' on history and the suffering Japan had caused to China, Chinese government needs to reflect on what had allowed the history of China's great endurance to continue in the past 100 years.

On the eve of September 18, 1937, Chinese government learned of Japanese military's plan to attack Shenyang. At the time, Shenyang was the top city in the northeastern China, known as East-Three-Provinces. Shenyang was also the base for China's northeastern army, the best equipped military force in China. Soldiers were ordered to lock weapons and open the barrack gates. They should quote, 'lay on the bed for the country', end of quote. Thousands were killed on bed by Japanese bayonets. To show a good gesture, the city opened its gate at three o'clock in the morning before Japanese army arrived.

The height of the war resisting Japan's invasion took place in Shanghai on August 13, 1937. China mobilized 50 divisions, about 60% of its entire military power. Three months later, 187,200 soldiers were lost, sometimes at a rate of one division per hour. Still, the government directed its finance department to keep paying settlement of 1901 to Japan on time every month. As a matter of fact, Chinese government did not declare war to Japan until the break out of Pacific War when US declared war against Japan.

Chinese governments often cite inferior military power as the excuse to bowing to Japanese aggression. That's is an excuse over-abused.

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