Xi praises China’s spirit of resistance in marking end of Pacific War

Xi Jinping   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

President Xi Jinping on Thursday praised China’s spirit of resistance in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of Second World War in the Pacific, saying any attempt to alter the nation’s course under Communist Party rule would be resisted by all of its 1.4 billion citizens.

Mr. Xi led government officials in a minute of silence and presentation of floral wreaths at a memorial hall dedicated to soldiers and civilians, who participated in the war, in which China endured a brutal invasion and occupation of much of its territory by Japan.

“The Chinese people demonstrated to the world their patriotism, national character, heroism and a strong will to win during the war,” Mr. Xi, who is also Communist Party leader, said in a speech following the ceremony.

“The Chinese people will refuse any person or any force that attempts to distort the history of the Communist Party, its character or its mission,” he said.

Mr. Xi’s remarks come as China faces increasing political and economic pressure from the U.S., friction along its border with India and push-back from European countries and Southeast Asian nations over its economic and territorial ambitions.

Japanese invasion

Japan launched a full-on invasion of China in 1937, marked by urban warfare and atrocities such as the notorious Rape of Nanking. While armies under Nationalist Party leader Chiang Kai-shek fought most of the major battles, Communist Party guerrillas under Mao Zedong forced Japan to divert soldiers and resources from battlefields elsewhere with low-level engagements.

Although Japan formally surrendered aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, China marks the end of the war on September 3 when it first held nationwide celebrations.

The Communists swept to power in 1949 following renewed civil war against the Nationalists and continue to uphold the struggle against Japan as a source of their legitimacy to rule. Chiang relocated his Republic of China government to Taiwan, where it continues to enjoy strong, though unofficial, U.S. support after making a transition to full democracy more than two decades ago.

On the mainland, the Communist Party has retained one-party authoritarian rule and crushed all efforts to mount a political opposition or even question its legitimacy. In the process, Mr. Xi has taken control of all major levers of power and eliminated term limits, effectively setting him up to be China’s leader for the rest of his life.

Thursday’s relatively low-key commemoration reflected social distancing rules in place during the pandemic and contrasted sharply with how China has marked other significant anniversaries.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 3:54:40 PM |

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