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Li affirms post-WWII world order

By Li Xiaokun and Wu Jiao | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-09 07:48

Premier Li Keqiang's pledge to resolutely safeguard the postwar international order and stop any country from reversing the course of history has drawn widespread support in the past few days.

"We will safeguard the victory of World War II and the postwar international order, and will not allow anyone to reverse the course of history," Li told China's lawmakers at the opening of the country's top legislature annual session on March 5.

Applause lasted for 12 seconds after the premier made the remarks, in the most impressive response from the audience that day.

It is also the first time the Chinese government has mentioned "safeguarding the victory of World War II and the postwar international order" in the report of the work of the government.

Many international media, such as the Financial Times, interpreted the remarks as referring to Japan.

Li's unusual words also caught the attention of Japanese media. During Saturday's press conference hosted by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, a Japanese journalist asked him to comment on Li's remarks.

Shi Yinhong, a scholar of US studies at Renmin University of China, said the remarks were apparently targeted at Japan's right-wing forces.

"It is very rare to see China putting such a strong emphasis on relations with a certain country when outlining its diplomatic work. Beijing also stressed that it is not only linked to China's security but also about world justice," Shi said.

It reflects the premier's determination to safeguard the dignity of our nation, thereby winning the hearts of the Chinese people, Shi added.

"China is among the main founders of the victory of World War II and the post-war international order. It has the right, responsibility and necessity to unite with the international society to protect achievements of the war."

As one of the main battlefields of the war, China suffered 35 million casualties and a huge economic loss in its eight-year confrontation with Japan. The sacrifice greatly contained Japan's attacks on other countries.

Ties between the two nations, which have been overshadowed by territorial disputes in recent years, further deteriorated when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Dec 26. It was the first visit by a sitting Japanese prime minister since 2006.

The shrine honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals from World War II.

"The visit is one of the moves the Abe administration has taken seeking to distort history and revise the constitution so that Japan can regain the right to get involved in a war," said Cheng Yonghua, Chinese ambassador to Japan.

Chen Shaoze, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Nanjing Municipal People's Congress and a deputy of the National People's Congress, said the moves of Japan's right-wing forces have triggered "strong aversion" among people in Nanjing. Japanese troops killed more than 300,000 citizens in Nanjing in more than 40 days beginning on Dec 13, 1937, when the Japanese captured the ancient city.

China's top legislature decided on Feb 27 to designate Sept 3 - the day after Japan officially surrendered in 1945 - as victory day and Dec 13 as a national memorial day for victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

"The decision shows China's firm stance on safeguarding peace and human dignity. It is a strong response to the efforts of Japan's right-wing forces to rewrite history," Chen said.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, led by Abe, dominates both the lower and upper houses and there are no major elections due in Japan until 2016.

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Zhao Shengnan contributed to this story.


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