Chinese Outraged by Denial of Nanjing Massacre by Japanese!

The Wall Street,  JOSH CHIN in Hong Kong and YOREE KOH in Tokyo

Chinese Internet users are in an uproar after the mayor of Nagoya told a delegation from Nanjing that he doubted Japanese soldiers had committed atrocities during their World War II occupation of the city.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

This is not the first time Takashi Kawamura has raised the thorny subject. Above, Mr. Kawamura spoke at his campaign office in Nagoya on Feb. 6, 2011.

The southern Chinese city of Nanjing suspended contact with Japanese sister city Nagoya on Tuesday night.

The historical scars left by Japan’s wartime occupation remain a flash point in relations between the two East Asian powers. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visits to the Yasukuni shrine—where Class-A war criminals are enshrined along with the war dead—and revisionist textbooks in Japan that gloss over the country’s military adventurism in Asia have led to large, and sometimes violent, protests outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

During a meeting with the delegation on Monday, Takashi Kawamura said he thought the murder of vast numbers of civilians by Japanese troops in Nanjing, commonly known as the Nanjing Massacre, “probably never happened.”

Mr. Kawamura appeared unbowed by the criticism on Wednesday, reiterating his position at a press event in Tokyo.

“Even since I was a national Diet representative, I have said [repeatedly] there was no [Nanjing] massacre that resulted in murders of several hundred thousands of people,” he said, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency. “We need to talk about this publicly without hesitation instead of behind the scenes.”

The comments drew heavy fire from Chinese Internet users, who also attacked the Nanjing delegation for being slow to respond to what many described as an unconscionable insult.

“Nanjing should invite Kawamura Takashi to tour the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall,” one user wrote on popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo, where Mr. Kawamura was among the most-discussed topics on Wednesday.

Others, however, directed their ire at Liu Zhiwei, the head of the Nanjing delegation, after Kyodo reported that Mr. Liu shook hands with Mr. Kawamura and didn’t directly challenge his denial of an event often described as Asia’s equivalent to the Holocaust.

“All the ghosts of the Nanjing Massacre are going to come knocking on Liu Zhiwei’s door,” wrote one Weibo user.

The Nanjing city government defended Mr. Liu, telling the state-run Global Times newspaper that the delegation leader “responded to Kawamura’s claims” without offering further details.

The Japanese army captured Nanjing on Dec. 13, 1937. Over the next six weeks, Japanese soldiers murdered between 200,000 and 300,000, according to various historical accounts.

Tokyo’s own estimate for the number of civilian deaths in Nanjing is far less precise, ranging from as little as 20,000 to 200,000.

Nagoya and Nanjing established a sister city relationship in 1978, six years after Japan and China normalized ties.

The Chinese consulate in Nagoya called the Japanese city office on Tuesday to protest the remarks, saying it “cannot understand the mayor’s position.” The consulate also said it is unfortunate such comments were made as the two countries mark the 40th anniversary since the neighbors normalized diplomatic relations.

But the consulate said it hopes the matter can be resolved. “Mayor Kawamura’s remarks are his own, we wonder whether the Nagoya Municipal Office has its own position,” said a consulate spokeswoman on Wednesday.

Tokyo is attempting to stay above the fray for now, with Japan’s Foreign Ministry saying that the dispute is an issue that should be settled between the cities.

Mr. Kawamura said his opinion stemmed from his father’s trip to Nanjing in 1938. Mr. Kawamura said his father was well-received and reasoned that if such murderous acts occurred the people of Nanjing wouldn’t have been so hospitable.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Kawamura has raised the thorny subject. In September 2009, he told the Nagoya City Council the number of people China claimed were killed in Nanking was dubious. The Nagoya city’s department of international exchange said that more recently, in this past December, the mayor made a passing remark to another visiting group from Nanjing suggesting the mass murder never occurred.

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Malaysian Sarong Politics: Two-Party-System becoming a Two-Race-System is a question of one or two sarongs!

A question of one or two sarongs

The following is a commentary in Sin Chew Daily written by its columnist Lim Fang.

THE debate between Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng deviated from the topic “Chinese at a Crossroads: Is the Two Party System Becoming a Two-Race System?” and turned out to be just a summary of their previous press statements but with a difference — the two leaders were face-to-face.

Considering that this was the first debate in this path of democracy, there were some unavoidable shortcomings. The next debate, either in Malay or English and expected to be held next month, should be able overcome some of these weaknesses.

The last time leaders from these two parties squared off was in 1982 when Lim Kit Siang challenged the then MCA president Tan Sri Lee San Choon to contest in a Chinese majority area to prove which party had the support of the community.

Lee took up the challenge and contested in Seremban in the general election that year. Lim did not contest in the seat but instead the then DAP chairman Dr Chen Man Hin did and lost to Lee.

Thirty years on, this debate has given the new generation of voters a chance to observe the performance of two political foes facing off again. For years, the DAP has had the advantage in the Internet with the MCA being seen there as its whipping boy.

The debate thus gave Dr Chua a chance to prove his “iron man” prowess, as well as use live television to state the stand of the MCA clearly and rebut the DAP.

Some master debaters may question the quality of the debate but this is not a university-type competition as the two were delivering their speech, arguing their political stand and giving a political ceremah. This is different from the political debates in Taiwan.

Lim is good at giving ceramahs but in the debate he avoided the audience’s questions and was embarrassingly tongue-tied when tough questions were thrown at him.

He spent some time reading from his prepared notes and this showed he lacked confidence to expound a convincing argument and concentrated only on voicing out his own political views.

Dr Chua was the first to speak and may not have warmed up at the start, that is until after Lim started attacking him. He then showed his “fighting cock” style and replied sharply.

Without having to read from his notes — a no-no when debating — Dr Chua showed he was confident as well as calm and collected. One could see who was sharp and who was blunt in the debate.

As usual, Dr Chua attacked DAP for not being able to do anything about PAS wanting to implement the Islamic state policy. He said the Rocket badmouthed its opponents just to create an image for itself. He said the DAP was only capable of talking about issues relating to the country, community and people but did not do anything. He accused Lim’s party of misleading the people with lies.

On Lim’s side, he harped on corruption by Barisan Nasional and the MCA’s inability to do anything when Umno shouted out Malay supremacy. Lim also claimed credit for the achievements in Penang under his administration.

When Lim was stressing on Penang’s achievements, he was merely debating as the Penang Chief Minister. Lim forgot that he was also the DAP’s secretary-general. This showed that Lim did not step into the main political arena but confined himself to a regional political stage.

In fact, the debate topic did not apply to the country’s real situation, as the Malays comprise 65% of the population while Chinese make up 24%. Such vast difference in numbers makes it impossible for the two races to go head-on with each other in terms of strength.

The Umno-led Barisan had been practising the two-race system for quite some time to strengthen their position by complementing each other’s strength. It will be no different if Pakatan Rakyat were to come to power, the DAP, which mainly depends on the support of the Chinese community, has to abide by the policies drawn up by PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Before this, the DAP used to ridicule the MCA by saying it was hiding inside Umno’s sarong. Today, they dare not repeat such statements because if the Pakatan comes to power, DAP would have one more sarong than the MCA. The conclusion of the debate between the MCA and the DAP is whether there will be one or two sarongs, and which the Chinese community felt more comfortable with.

Video: How to Tie a Sarong Knot?

Related posts:

Is the Two-Party-Sytem becoming a Two-Race-System? Online spars started before Chua-Lim debate!

Malaysian Chinese at a Political Crossroads forum; Chua-Lim Debate, all hype but no climax

Malaysian Politics: Chua-Lim Debate Sets New Standard

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