Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Workers build a scaffolding around the Monument to the People's Heroes on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Aug. 31. / AP

BEIJING - China has established a national day to commemorate the country's martyrs, state media said Monday, the latest of several recent steps by Beijing to intensify commemoration of its war-time fight against Japan, including orders that TV stations air anti-Japanese dramas.

Seven decades on, relations between Beijing and Tokyo remain tense as China challenges Japan over disputed maritime territory and the bloody history of Japan's 1937-1945 occupation of China. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stoked the fire last week by calling several soldiers that China considers to be Japanese war criminals from World War II "martyrs."

China's top legislature declared Sept. 30 Martyrs' Day and said it would be "marked with events across the country," Xinhua reported. The decision is aimed at "publicizing martyrs' achievements and spirits, and cultivating patriotism, collectivism and socialist moralities so as to consolidate the Chinese nation's cohesiveness," said the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament, which always approves measures passed its way by the nation's Communist Party-led government.

The move is likely to deepen anti-Japanese feeling in China, where authorities habitually use nationalism and a sense of victim-hood to build support for the ruling Communist Party. Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam are among several of China's neighbors to voice worries about China's increasingly assertive stance toward maritime disputes in regional waters.

Martyrs are defined by China's government as "people who sacrificed their lives for national independence and prosperity, as well as the welfare of the people in modern times, or after the First Opium War (1840-1842)," said Xinhua. Chinese martyrs died fighting several nations, including Western powers, during that time frame, but popular anger focuses squarely on Japan.

China now boasts three national memorial days, after the same committee in February ratified Sept. 3 as Victory Day of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and Dec. 13 as National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims, to remember the many Nanjing residents slaughtered by Japanese troops in 1937.

Ahead of Wednesday's Victory Day, China released a list of 80 state facilities and sites commemorating the war in which millions of Chinese died, and a list of 300 martyrs and heroic groups who sacrificed their lives during Japan's invasion, Xinhua reported.

This month, China's most popular TV stations are obliged to run anti-Japanese dramas, after authorities ordered them to air shows with patriotic or anti-fascist themes, the Beijing News tabloid said last week. The order from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television requires all the major satellite broadcasters to run such shows - typically anti-Japanese dramas featuring wartime battles and Communist heroes - throughout September.

Over the past two months, Chinese authorities have been releasing documents and videos that highlight Japanese aggression and abuse of Chinese civilians during the 1930s and 1940s.

On China's censored, but still lively, social media platforms, most posters welcomed Martyrs' Day, although Fan Jianchuan, a museum owner and government adviser in southwest Sichuan province, argued that martyrs should be mourned on Tomb Sweeping Day, an existing Chinese holiday. That millennia-old tradition is well accepted by the masses, Fan, whose museums include one dedicated to the Sino-Japanese War, wrote Sunday on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter.

Many Internet users groused that their favorite TV programs may be squeezed out, but political analyst Zhang Ming voiced deeper reasons to oppose the government's enforced scheduling. "We can't say anti-Japanese TV series should be banned, but they're uniformly arranged by the authorities, and shown together," wrote Zhang, a professor at People's University in Beijing, on Sina Weibo. "They won't scare the Japanese, but will trigger anti-Japanese emotions, and ruin Chinese people's reason, which is not good for reform and opening up."



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: With eye on Japan, China plans Martyrs' Day

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

MON
24
TUE
25
WED
26
THU
27
FRI
28
SAT
29
SUN
30

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX