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For Chinese, 1937 not far away
The first thing that comes to mind when most Chinese talk about Japan is the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, a new survey shows, illustrating the dire state of relations 60 years after the end of World War II.
The second thing they think about is electrical products, the China Daily, one of the organizers of the poll, said.
Relations between the giant neighbors hit their lowest in decades in April when thousands demonstrated across China against Japan's bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat and a textbook which China says whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities.
China, parts of which were occupied by Japan from 1931 to 1945, was also angered by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the Yasukuni shine, where convicted war criminals are honored along with Japan's war dead.
"The majority of Chinese respondents said the first thing which came to mind when talking about Japan was the Nanjing Massacre," the China Daily said.
"The second thing was Japanese electric appliances."
China says 300,000 Chinese men, women and children were slaughtered by Japanese troops in the Rape of Nanjing. The 1948 Tokyo war crimes tribunal found Japanese troops killed 155,000 people, mainly women and children.
An exhibition on the Nanjing Massacre is currently being held in Beijing.
"Sixty years after the end of World War Two, more than half those surveyed in China and Japan are not optimistic about bilateral ties," the China Daily said.
"However, the majority pin hopes on economic cooperation, which they believe could bring mutual benefits for both sides."
Seventy-four percent of Japan's general public and 84.9 per cent of the country's intellectuals and experts regarded ties as either "not very good" or "not good at all", the newspaper quoted the poll as saying.
In China, 54.7 percent of the general public saw ties at a low point and 78 percent of students shared the view.
The joint poll was conducted by China Daily, Japanese think-tank Genron NPO and Peking University.