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Koizumi's shrine visit provokes indignation in China
( 2004-01-02 02:02) (Xinhua)

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on New Year's Day has provoked strong indignation from China.

On New Year's Day, Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine in his capacity as Japan's prime minister, his fourth in three years to a place that honors Class-A war criminals, whose hands were stained with the blood of the people of China and other Asian countries.

Most of the Chinese media Friday carried reports on Koizumi's shrine visit and Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi's solemn representations to the Japanese government, saying that it was a perfidious act by Koizumi in defiance of opposition in Japan and from other Asian countries, and has undermined the political basis for Sino-Japanese ties.

Many internet surfers also lodged strong criticisms and condemnations. In a forum run by Xinhuanet, over 300 comments were posted within a day.

Koizumi's repeated visits to the shrine ran counter to the commitment made by the Japanese government and Koizumi himself to reflect on Japan's war past and it is only natural that they have provoked strong opposition and indignation of the people of China and other Asian countries, according to the comments.

"Koizumi's shrine visit in defiance of world opinion has seriously hurt the people of China and other Asian countries who were victimized by the Japanese war of aggression," said Zhang Qiang, manager of Beijing Hantang Wenqiang Culture Company.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi Thursday lodged solemn representations over Koizumi's shrine visit and condemned the act when he summoned the charge d'affaires ad interim of Japan to China to an interview.

The government's solemn representations have spoken for all Chinese people, said Zhang Qiang.

Ms. Duan, former deputy curator of a museum commemorating those killed in Nanjing Massacre in east China's Jiangsu Province, said Nanjing people had not recovered yet from the massacre, in which the Japanese aggressors killed over 300,000 Chinese.

Koizumi's shrine visit meant defiance and threat to the Chinese people and has severely hurt Chinese people's feelings, Duan said.

Wang Yanfei, a graduate student from Nanjing Normal University, said her classmates were shocked by Koizumi's visit to the shrine.

"Koizumi cast a shadow over Sino-Japanese relations at the beginning of the new year," said Wang.

The Japanese Prime Minister's repeated shrine visits showed the right wing was gaining ground in Japan, which would threaten peace in Asia, said Wang.

Zhang Heng, a company clerk in the Beijing Economic Development Zone, said Koizumi's defense for his act was unreasonable, adding that Koizumi's repeated wrongdoing would only arouse disgust among the Chinese people.

"We can not tolerate the Japanese leader's shrine visit at any time, because his act hurt Chinese people's feelings and impaired the basis of Sino-Japanese ties," said Zhao Ping, from Fuzhou in east China's Fujian Province.

Feng Zhaokui, a researcher at the Japanese Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Koizumi's shrine visit was "irrational". "The shrine visit and Japan's plan to send troops overseas give a dangerous hint to Asian counties," said Feng.

The Chinese people strongly urged the Japanese leaders to heed the just calls of the people of China and other Asian countries and eliminate the pernicious influence of the shrine visit.

Mr. Qian, from Beijing, said the mutual trust between China and many other countries was strengthened last year while Sino- Japanese ties were still deadlocked. The reason was that the Japanese side had not sincerely reflected on their past and this shrine visit has further undermined mutual trust, said Qian.

"If Japanese leaders persist in their wrongdoing, they are sure to lose their credibility among the people of China, other Asian countries and the world as a whole and will eventually harm Japan' s own interests," said Qian.

Wang Shaopu, a professor with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said, "We should not only urge Koizumi to stop his shrine visits, but also need to consider how to prevent further development of new nationalism in Japan," said Wang.

This is an important issue concerning the future of Japan, East Asia and the whole world, said the professor.

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