TAKING A TOUR: Visitors learn about Japanese atrocities conducted in Nanjing during World War II at the Memorial Hall for Compatriots Killed in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Forces of Aggression on August 28, 2010 (CFP)
A nation, whether China or Japan, cannot fully understand itself or find its position in the world unless it levels a steady gaze on the glories and disgraces of its past.
China has set two memorial days to mark victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression from 1937 to 1945 and to mourn the victims of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. They will remember the horrific crimes, commemorate our heroic forefathers, speak of China's commitment to a peaceful world, and serve as a reminder that the flag of justice shall never fall under the shadow of militarism.
Seventy-seven years ago, Japanese invaders captured Nanjing, then China's capital, and launched 40-odd days of slaughter from December 13, 1937. More than 300,000 people were murdered and left in unmarked graves. Their tomb is our memory.
Sixty-nine years ago, the Chinese people embraced their victory over Japan on September 3, 1945, after suffering more than 35 million casualties. We owe our martyrs a promise that they did not die in vain and that memories of their brave fight against Japanese aggression will be carried on by their children and grandchildren.
China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression was an important part of World War II. For a long time, the Chinese contained the main forces of Japanese militarism in the Asia-Pacific region, annihilating more than 1.5 million Japanese troops.
By remembering, China keeps those foreign friends who laid down their lives on the battlefield while helping Chinese refugees during the Nanjing Massacre in mind, as well as those who opened up the Hump Route to deliver strategic supplies and who traveled thousands of miles to China to provide medical assistance.
Setting memorial days fits with the usual practice of the international community. National memorials have been held annually at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland, Russia's World War II Memorial Stele and the Pearl Harbor Memorial Museum of the United States.
Time usually heals historical wounds, but wounds can never be forgotten. With deep memories of the scourge of war, the Chinese people are keenly aware of the value of peace and the importance of peaceful development, the only road by which to achieve national prosperity.
However, peace cannot be safeguarded by words, but by actions—especially when it faces direct threats from the same kind of rising militarism that once trampled human dignity and justice underfoot.
More than six decades after the Potsdam Proclamation was issued to the fascist forces, the influence of those who deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest has not been eliminated.
As a defeated country, Japan failed in its responsibility to ensure safety in the international community when it publicly challenged the post-war order under the excuse of becoming a so-called "normal country."
With a distorted attitude toward history, the current Japanese Government refuses to admit the nature, let alone scale, of its war crimes during World War II. And that refusal has spread beyond the government to its broadcasting organization, whose board members have even gone as far as to deny the Nanjing Massacre.
The Japanese Government challenges China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, which is an open defiance to the Cairo Declaration, an important international document in handling Japan's aggression.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visits to the shrine honoring Class-A war criminals has caused a growing chill in its relations with neighboring countries.
The world also has reason to be vigilant as the current government attempts to reinterpret its pacifist Constitution and lift a ban on Japan exercising the right of collective self-defense.
A post-war order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until such militarism is driven from the world.
A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Japanese militarism will still not be erased. By remembering the past, however, China does not mean to continue the hatred but to avoid the repetition of historical tragedies.
As a peace-loving nation, China has reaffirmed its policy of observing bilateral political documents and promoting Sino-Japanese friendship.
It is still not too late for Japan to hear these two words from its imperialist history: Never again. However, if Japan continues to turn a deaf ear to the call of peace and warning bells against its militarist past, it will have no place in the world.
Philippines-based World News newspaper: China's decision to set up war memorial days has great realistic and historical significance.
Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper: The move illustrates that China is determined to condemn Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe internationally for his view of history.
Volkmar Harnisch, Chairman of the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime in Germany: China's decision to establish memorial days is a right thing and honorable. Through China's liberation fight, China and Japan found their end, therefore there should be a memorial day for that.
Peter Schoenlein, former mayor of Nuremberg in Germany: It could enable more people to remember innocent victims of war. Germans have pledged not to go to war again. However, some countries, including Japan, tended to resort to force to solve disputes. It shows a dangerous signal that militarism has revived in Japan.
Stefan Geiger, Executive Chairman of the China-Germany Economic and Cultural Association of Bavaria: It is important to set up the two memorial days, otherwise younger generations might not remember history. Abe's visit to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors Class-A war criminals from World War II, has severely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, and Germans who know about history would never support Abe's actions.
Marceli Burdelski, a professor at the University of Gdansk in Poland: China's designation of memorial days will help people remember history and educate young generations. People with a sense of justice around the world would never forget the history and the bloodshed.
Zdzislaw Goralczyk, President of the Polish-Chinese Friendship Association and also former Polish Ambassador to China: The memorial days will remind people of history and help them cherish and safeguard peace.
(source: Xinhua News Agency)