Those who keep remembering the past

I just got an e-mail asking me to subscribe to The Current Digest of the Chinese Press. Given the prices I don’t think I will, but you might want to consider it, as the free sample issue is pretty good. I would not mind it if they included the Chinese text, or at least proper names, and a version I could download to my Kindle would be better than a big ol’ PDF, but they have lots of good stuff.

They have a couple articles on the attempts of Fangzheng County 方正县 (Harbin) in Heilongjiang to attract Japanese tourists. Apparently they built some sort of a monument to Japanese settlers. According to the article the monument cost 700,000 RMB and was in an area restricted to Japanese people. After ‘vandals struck the monument’ it was taken down by the government, but according to the paper (新京日報) the matter cannot be left there as the whole affair ‘infringed upon taxpayers right to know where their money goes.’ The settlers were of course the Japanese migrants brought to Manchukuo. While “many of the settlers were ordinary Japanese civilians….once they came to China they took on the role of invaders.” A follow-up article was written by a reporter sent to the county who found that local government was forcing local businesses to put up signs in Japanese and that “most young Chinese women here aspire to marry Japanese men” with many women even divorcing their husbands and abandoning their children to go abroad.

Although the articles are not always very explicit about the ‘appropriate’ way to view Japan and China’s history with it, they give a pretty good implicit view of the state of the paper’s attitudes, though obviously not those of all Chinese.

I rather wish the paper had managed to dig up a picture of this monument, since I would like to see it and what it says. The first article points out that “many countries, including China, view the erection of  monuments as a symbolic way to praise certain aspects of a country’s culture or history.” That’s not actually true, since in lots of countries monuments are intended to memorialize things, some good, some bad, and some mixed. The line about the settlers being ordinary Japanese gave me hope that the ‘mixed’ might apply in this case, but I can’t tell without seeing the monument.



  1. If your countries don’t have the experience of being ruined from its resplendence, you will never empathize with Chinese people who had gone through so much along the way over the past 150 years. Yes, we do keep in mind who had injured us for a long time, but we also keep in mind who had given us a hand for a longer time. We honor our some more than 5000-year-history and our culture.

  2. ever consider countries that have been “injured” by the all encompassing chinese people? should they keep grudges the same way?

    This one has a picture:

    This one has a picture with out red paint:

    The big legible writing across the top says it’s a list of names of Japanese settlers who died. From other photos, looks like a preface while the names are on the other side.

  3. @paparazo

    Paparazo, Paparazo, po boy, you are smarter than that. What you were given to see blocks your sight.

    To understand the present, many assumptions we hold to in regard of the past need to be revisited. This is especially true of what concerns the role of Japan in East Asia in the run-up to the Pacific war. See how punctiliously law-abiding the Japanese are. See how they keep their word. See how their diplomacy is bogged down by a lack of imagination, not to say of machination.

    Do you really think it is the product of the US’s benign guidance on the path to democracy and the rule of law?!! Don’t you think that what we see of present day Japan is a good standard by which we can gauge pre-war and war-time Japan? I came to understand that Japan was as respectful of internationally-held standards then as it is now, be it in commerce, diplomacy, or in military affairs and warfare.

    Our image of Japan remains tarred by the need the US had to demonize it in the run-up to the Pacific war. And the K.M.T. thrived on the propaganda it churned out. They created incidents and maimed their own to embarrass and isolate Japan over its China policies in the eye of the world community.

    They (CKS’s gang) have shown us a distorted image of Japan that is a real image of China. Google Tongzhou incident 1937 and the blowing up of the Yangtze levees at Huayuanzhuang in summer of 1938.

    And don’t mention Nanking about which neither CKS nor Mao seem to have heard about. Always keep in mind that K.M.T. had to coerce the Chinese into hating the Japanese. Remember the over five thousand “hanjian” shot in Shanghai 1937 while the battle raged.

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