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Home > Ambassador Liu > Events > 2015
Chinese Embassy Holds Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War
2015/08/16
On 14 August 2015, the Chinese Embassy in London held a Commemoration of the 70thAnniversary of the Victory of Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming delivered a keynote speech entitled "In the Name of Peace". Speaking at the event were also Gareth Ward, Deputy Director for the Asia Pacific Region and Head of China Department of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Zhu Xiaojiu, President of the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers and granddaughter of General Zhang Zhizhong, Peter Hugh Nolan CBE, Chair of the Development Studies Committee at the University of Cambridge and Rana Mitter, Director of the University of Oxford China Centre. Over 150 guests were present at the commemoration, including Air Commodore Nicholas Bray, Chief of the Department of International Policy and Planning at the UK Ministry of Defence, Lord Davidson, Member of the House of Lord, Evans MP, Chairman Harpal Brar of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), General Secretary Robert Griffiths of the Communist Party of Britain, John Hardie, Chief Executive Officer of ITN, Chief Executive Officer Garry Jones of the London Metal Exchange and other representatives of the British political, economic, academic, education and media circles. Representatives of diplomatic missions in the UK from Russia, ROK, Luxembourg, Cuba and Venezuela, and representatives of overseas Chinese in the UK including Li Zhizhang, former member of Dongjiang Column of Guangdong People's Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Force and Wen Zuqiu, former member of Dongjiang Squadron, were also present.
 
At the beginning of the event and on behalf of all the people present, Ambassador Liu expressed deep condolences and sincere solicitude on the casualties caused by the explosion in Tianjin and expressed deep gratitude to the British government and the people of the UK for their condolences.

Turning to the theme of the event, Ambassador Liu listed out a number of important anniversaries in 2015 – the 70thanniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression, the 70thanniversary of the World Anti-Fascist War, and the 70thanniversary of the founding of the United Nations. He pointed out that 2015 is a year of special significance. On the 15th of August, a special commemoration will be held in London to mark the VJ Day. China, too, will join the people of the world to remember that part of the history with a series of solemn commemorations in Beijing on 3 September, including a military parade. This will be a time to honour the dead, to cherish peace and to aspire to build a better future.
 
Ambassador Liu delivering a speech
 
The Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression was an important part of the World Anti-Fascist War. This reflects how China was the key Far-Eastern theatre during World War II. On 18th September 1931, the Japanese aggressors invaded northeast China on a pretext of their invention. The Chinese people rose up in resistance. That was the prologue to the World Anti-Fascist War. These actions by the Chinese people led to China pinning down and fighting against the main force of the Japanese militarists. This resulted in weakening their war capacity by over one and half million troops. There is no doubt China played a decisive role in the final defeat of the Japanese militarist forces. To achieve that, the Chinese military and civilians made enormous sacrifice – 35 million casualties. Strategically, the war in China was a support to allied operations in Europe and strategic moves in the Pacific theatre. It also prevented and upset the strategic coordination between the Japanese Fascists and the Fascists in Germany and Italy. China's contribution to the victory over the Fascists forces has indelible historic significance.

However, for many years, the enormous sacrifice and important contribution of the Chinese people seem to have been overlooked or forgotten by the West. In recent years, in British academic and history studies, many people have begun to revisit and look deeper into that part of the history. That is a gratifying development. Such studies demonstrate an objective and just attitude as well as due respect for the history. Chinese and British historians could strengthen cooperation in the studies of the resistance war in China. A lot can be done in this area. As President Xi Jinping said recently, the studies into the resistance war are falling far short of its place and significance in history and its impact on the Chinese nation and the wider world. Studies into that war must continue, go deeper and be systematic. They should focus on and seek to provide an in-depth interpretation of the significance of the resistance war. They should aim at shedding light on the Chinese people's resistance against Japanese aggression and its rightful place in the World Anti-Fascist War. We must allow history to speak for itself. We must raise the voice of historical facts. 

Historical facts reveal enormous sympathy and support for China's resistance war from many governments and people, including those of the UK, the USSR and the US. The UK came to China's help with economic aid and military cooperation. British soldiers fought side by side with their Chinese comrade-in-arms. In the Far East, the British military forces sustained tremendous losses including heavy casualties of 90,000 on the battlefield, of whom 36,000 died. During this time many British people paid close attention to the suffering in China. In the UK people set up various organisations in support of China's resistance war. They told the British public about China's resistance efforts. They raised funds and collected aid materials for China. Their efforts were a strong support to China's resistance war. The Chinese people will never forget this friendship from Britain when the need in China was so great.

Historical facts also tell stories of great courage and valuable partnership. In early 1942, the Chinese expeditionary army fought and defeated the Japanese troops in a series of deadly battles. This operation successfully lifted the Japanese siege on the British troops. Also in 1942, fishermen from Dongji Island of Zhoushan in China rescued hundreds of British POWs who were prisoners on the sinking Japanese vessel Lisbon Maru. The British government later awarded the General of the Chinese expeditionary army with a medal of honour. A grand event was held after the war in memory of the Sinking of the Lisbon Maru. In the European theatre, 24 Chinese naval cadets took part in the Battle of Normandy. Their courage and bravery were praised by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Ambassador Liu pointed out that the victory of the War in China and the World Anti-Fascist War as a whole is a major turning point in human history. The victory has had a profound impact on the post-war international landscape and world order as well as the development of international relations.
In the 70 years following that great victory, the international landscape underwent profound transformation, and China went through changes unprecedented in human history. The victory marked a historical turning point. China has since embarked on a road to national renewal. The Chinese Communist Party led the Chinese people in realising the greatest and most profound social evolution. Today, the people of China are striving to realise the "Chinese Dream" of the great national renewal.
 
 
The 70 years has also witnessed China playing a major role in safeguarding world peace and development. In international relations, China always advocates peace, development and win-win cooperation. What China calls for is a state-to-state relationship centered round win-win-cooperation. In multilateral cooperation, China is always an active participant in the settlement of hot-spot issues and in global assistance efforts in developing countries.
In the 70 years following that great victory, China-UK relations experienced eventful progress. Overall, the bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength. The comprehensive strategic partnership was established. The relationship is reinforced by the Annual Prime Ministers' Meeting and three major pillars – the Economic and Financial Dialogue, the Strategic Dialogue and the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue. Bilateral trade and investment cooperation has expanded at an exponential rate. And cultural and people-to-people exchanges have reached an unprecedented level. In summary, China-UK relations have embarked on a fast track of advancement. In this coming October, at the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen, President Xi Jinping will come to the UK for a state visit. This visit will become a new milestone and start a 'Golden Time' in China-UK relationship.

Ambassador Liu quoted a Chinese saying "The past, if not forgotten, serves as a guide for the future" and a British epigram "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach" to make the point that history must be remembered, that we must never let some forces attempt to deny the atrocities and crimes of the Japanese aggressors, we must never let them distort the history of the Second World War, and we must never let them whitewash militarism. History must be remembered in order to urge Japan to learn from the lesson and adhere to the road of peaceful development. Japan must face squarely its history of aggression. This is the only way for Japan to avoid taking the same disastrous road of 70 years ago. That is the only way for Japan to win back the trust of its Asian neighbours and of the international community. Ambassador Liu also stressed that we remember history not to prolong hatred; we remember history in order to take its guidance as we embrace the future, we remember history to avoid a repetition of the tragedy of war, and we remember history so that the world will enjoy lasting peace.

In conclusion, Ambassador Liu said that 70 years ago, China and the UK were allies against the common enemy. Both were victors of World War II and founding members of the United Nations.70 years on, China and the UK are comprehensive and strategic partners, having the responsibility to uphold the outcome of that victory, working together to safeguard the post-war international order and joining hands in writing a new chapter of peace for all mankind.

Ambassador Liu's powerful and passionate speech resonated strongly among the audience and won a long and warm applause.
 
Deputy Director Gareth Ward delivering a speech
 
In his speech, Deputy Director Gareth Ward once again expressed sympathy and condolences over the explosion in Tianjin on behalf of the British Government. He noted the importance of commemoration and said that on the 15 August, the British Government will hold a solemn commemoration of the VJ Day in London. During World War II, British and the American allies actively supported Chinese people's war against Japanese aggression by providing strategic military materials badly needed by China via flights over the Hump. As allies, the UK and China fought dauntlessly and supported each other in Hong Kong and Myanmar, leaving many touching and heroic stories. The UK thanks China for the enormous sacrifice and important contribution of the Chinese people. In the 70 years after World War II, China reemerged in the international arena and has actively committed to peaceful development. Reconciliation and forgiveness are important lessons learnt by Europe through World War II, and he hoped that lasting peace like that in Europe may be realised in East Asia. The UK is the most open European country to China. He wished that the UK would receive more Chinese investment and attract more Chinese tourists. The two governments have maintained exchanges at unprecedented frequencies and levels. He believed that the bilateral relations will be further strengthened and improved by President Xi Jinping's State Visit to the UK this October.
 
President Zhu Xiaojiu delivering a speech
 
In her speech, Zhu Xiaojiu gave a passionate account of the heroic deeds of General Zhang Zhizhong, her grandfather, in the fight against Japanese invaders, including the famous Victory at Miaohang and the Battle of Shanghai. By quoting Foreign Minister Wang Yi's words, "Japan lost the war 70 years ago and should not lose its conscience 70 years later", she hoped that Japan would face up to and draw lessons from history and pursue a peaceful path. Zhu also voiced the heartfelt wishes of the overseas Chinese in the UK in never forgetting the history, never forgetting the motherland, and never forgetting the Chinese culture.
 
Chairman Peter Hugh Nolan delivering a speech
 
Nolan said in his speech that from 1937 to 1945, the Communist Party of China led the Chinese people in a long and arduous battle against Japanese imperialist aggression. It is of exceptional significance to commemorate this war 70 years later. Lessons should be drawn from this unprecedented havoc. By citing the thoughts on prudence in war from Master Sun's Art of War and the debate about wars in the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, he said that war has never been an effective way to resolve differences. The objective of commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II victory is to avoid new tragedies of war and cherish the hard-won peace.
 
Director Rana Mitter delivering a speech
 
In his speech, Director Rana Mitter said China played a key role in winning World War II. Without China, the allies would have engaged in tougher struggles against fascism. Likewise, the Victory of Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression also received strong support from British and American allies. For quite a long time, the western world knew little about the great role played by China in World War II. With limited international support, the Chinese people fought alone and effectively pinned down more than 600,000 Japanese troops and curbed Japanese militarists' attempt to occupy the entire East Asia. The tremendous sacrifice and important contribution made by China rewrote the history of World War II and was a decisive factor in the outcome of the war. Today, eastern and western historians have begun to look deeper into the role played by China in the war and redefine the relationship between the battlefield in China and the entire war. The Oxford University, the University of Cambridge and other famous British universities are proudly playing an important role in these researches. 70 years ago, the UK and China fought side by side to defeat the darkest and the most evil forces in human's history. The commemoration of peace by the two countries today not only represents their due respect for the history, but also signifies their joint mission to defend the honour. Director Mitter concluded his speech with his hope, expressed in Chinese, that the two countries may conduct in-depth study into the history of the War against Japanese Aggression and continue with the dialogues on this important topic.
 
Ambassador Liu giving an interview
 
In the interviews to CCTV and Xinhua News Agency after the event, Ambassador Liu expounded on the significance of the Commemoration of the 70thAnniversary of the Victory of Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War held by the Chinese Embassy in London.

Representatives from more than 30 Chinese and foreign media including the Financial Times, ITV, Reuters, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, CRI, China News Service, China Daily, Sing Tao Daily, the UK Chinese Journal and Nouvelles d'Europe attended and covered the event.
A photo exhibition with the theme of the 70thAnniversary of the Victory of Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War was held at the Embassy. The soul-touching and eye-catching historical photos showed Chinese troops and civilians' putting up a heroic resistance against Japanese aggression and China and her British allies fighting side by side. As the viewer observed, the pictures once again reminded everyone of the importance of bearing the history in mind and cherishing peace. Books and CDs about the Nanking Massacre, Japan's forced recruitment of "comfort women" and the visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese political leaders were made available and were popular with the guests.
 
Guests viewing the photo exhibition on the War against Japanese Aggression
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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