China / Society

Reissue of landmark 1930s textbook marks war victory

By Zhao Xinying ( Updated: 2015-09-01 15:43

A geography textbook used by students in the 1930s was republished recently to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China's victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

The Geography of Northeast China, compiled by Zhang Boling, a Chinese educator and former president of Tianjin's Nankai University, was initially released in 1931 after Zhang led teachers and students on field research trips in Northeast China from 1927 to 1929.

The textbook was among the earliest to show Northeast China in an all-round way, which included aspects of politics, economics, the military and culture.

Used by all students at Nankai University, its middle and primary schools and Nankai Girls' School at that time, the textbook was also one of the earliest to reveal Japan's ambition of invading China.

The textbook was also one of the reasons why Japan was set to bomb Nankai schools in 1937, said Li Pu, deputy secretary of Research Institute on Zhang Boling's Educational Thoughts.

"Students at Nankai schools started organizing and participating in a series of anti-aggression activities after they read the textbook and realized Japan's ambition. This ignited Japan's hatred," Li said.

Liu Songbin, a researcher on the history of the Communist Party of China, said the textbook reflected Chinese intellectuals' patriotism in that special era.

"One of the biggest concerns of Japan, after the war broke out, was Chinese people's patriotism and their strong willingness to fight the aggression," Liu said.

"So Japan tried its best to destroy anything that could arouse patriotism and the willingness to fight, including the textbook," he added.

Fortunately, the textbook was preserved during the war and was unearthed in the Nankai University library in late July.

"We know that it's time to republish the textbook and make it known to more people now," Li said.

He Dongping, editor-in-chief of Guangming Daily, said the textbook proved China's status and role in the world anti-fascist war.

"It will also enrich research materials on China's War of Resistance against Japan," he said.

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