Today marks the 83rd Anniversary of Japan’s invasion into China. The day will be marked with all the traditional Nationalistic political ceremonies. And, it is marked by towns and cities blaring air raid sirens, chimes, bells and gongs. It happened today. But, as you looked around at the people walking on the streets, they seemed totally unfazed by the remembrance of such a day. Without even a flinch, they just kept doing whatever they were doing. It seems that this day is only remembered by party loyalists to the Communist government. No one seemed to stop and remember. Conversations did not suddenly shift. I was in a busy police station getting my resident permit finalized. No one stopped what they were doing. Conversations continued as usual. It just seemed odd to me. Perhaps 83 years is too long of a time for it to make it matter any more.
In America, we have days that we would like to think that would live on forever. Remember the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, Lincoln and JFK, Challenger explosion, and most recently, 9-11 (Patriot’s Day). And, as tragic as these events are, we Americans carry on. We soon forget these tragedies against our nation. Generations forget over time. Today, Pearl Harbor and WWII are distance memories. Something for just the history books and the few who still remain with us from that era. The youth of today see no significance of the JFK killing ot the Challenger explosion. Most Americans still have some feelings regarding 9-11 since it is still fresh in our memories. But, it too will one day fade to just a blurb in our history books.
It seems that our governmental representatives are the only ones that truly try to keep these events alive and well in memory. But, as much as I hate to say this, it is not for the honorable reasons for memory. It seems they draw upon these events for their own political gains and for spurring propaganda patriotism within their constituents. Place a politician in front of a podium, he is just another person looking for your vote. Put a politician at Ground Zero for 9-11 and he must be a true patriot of the country. This seems to be true here in China too. Yes, most Chinese hate Japan. But, you ask them why and for details, they can barely answer you. It seems that they just want to answer, “Because they are Japanese and they attacked us”. Well, that is not a good enough answer for me.
I have taken an interest in this propaganda story and the nationalistic approach to keep the fear and hatred alive by the Communist government. I could have shared some vintage pictures of some of the things the Japanese did to civilians all across China. But, the pictures are too horrible and graphic for me to post on a simple blogs like this. A search on your favorite search engine on the internet for pictures of the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 will reveal these pictures for you. And, I refuse to document the atrocities that were committed here in China as well. They rank right up there with what the Nazis did to Jews and other groups. Suffice it to say, if the Chinese people would read their history books from time to time, they could easily justify their argument about their hatred for Japanese. And, the Communist government know this all too well. The government has issued a policy to the TV stations that they should increase the number of war movies and films relating to the occupation. It is part of their propaganda efforts to keep their people loyal to the government and remind them that the threat is always there. The education system has ramped up it’s propaganda machine to teach the kids about the past history of Japan against China. No fewer than three classes a week are used to promote this hatred toward a long forgotten enemy. And, let’s not forget all the attention being paid to the islands that both Japan and China claim to be theirs. Or, the WhooHah that the Chinese make about Japanese visits to a war memorial in Japan where various war criminals are buried.
But, as I said, most Chinese really do not dwell about these things. It is not in their nature to reflect on the past. Once you are dead and buried, it is time to move on with life. Dead ancestors are forgotten often. Chinese love Japanese electronics, movies, and other merchandise from Japan. They love Japanese goods. They only hate the Japanese because they are told by their government and through propaganda that they should hate the Japanese.
Ah, but before you pass judgment on the Chinese government for using propaganda for their own initiatives, you need to point fingers at every other powerful government too. They all do it. You seriously do not think that Obama and our government didn’t plan to roll out their plan for their attack against ISIL in the Middle East near the 9-11 date by accident. Do you? It was not mere coincidence. I am sure they had this planned out all along.
Regardless of all this soapbox talk, today was a day for remembrance of a terrible time in China’s history. It went pretty much unnoticed. The air raid sirens blared for a long time. But, it was just another day for the working folks. It is important to remember such times in China. It is a reminder of what can happen when you get complacent. Events such as this should never be used to control a group of people for political gain. But, these events should be used to make sure they never happen again. We would never want another 9-11 or Pearl Harbor to happen. We need to remember the lesson we learned from those terrible events.
I recommend that you read about the Sino-Japanese war. It is very revealing and interesting. And, sometimes disgusting and crude. I have learned much from my brief exploration into Chinese history.