Experts slam Japan's incendiary school book
Chinese historians met in Beijing yesterday to express their anger over a newly authorized Japanese history textbook.
"The book places emphasis on pride in the nation, service to the nation and the obligation of national defence by glorifying the war and distorting historic facts," said Bu Ping, a researcher of Modern History Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
He said that the basic reactionary and absurd nature of the new textbook is the same as one once used for military purposes before the war.
The textbook, he said, deified the Japanese monarchy and claimed that the Japanese are superior to other Asians.
"The book is dangerous and it will mobilize Japanese people and children to future war," he said.
The junior high school history textbook compiled by Japanese right-wing scholars received official approval from the Ministry of Education on Tuesday and will be offered for adoption in schools.
The textbook is an updated version of one published in 2001 which attracted strong protests from Beijing and Seoul.
Bu said the 2001 edition was adopted by only about 0.03 per cent of schools, which compilers considered a failure.
As the Japanese educational authority screens textbooks every four years, the compilers revised the book, however, the revisions do not eradicate the potential dangers of the textbook.
Bu said the goal of publishers was to gain a foothold in the market.
"They are planning a series of promotional activities and their aim is to increase the adoption rate to 10 per cent," Bu said.
Bu Ping and his fellow scholars from Japan and the Republic of Korea are now compiling a new history book aiming to put right mistakes made in the Japanese textbook.
Li Liangzhi, professor with Renmin University of China said it was not a coincidence that the Japanese Government chose to approve the textbook on Tuesday, which is Qingming Festival or "Tomb Sweeping Day" for Chinese.
Li said Qingming is the time when Chinese mourn their dead and many will commemorate the 35 million Chinese killed in the anti-Japanese war.
"Japan's approval of the book is simply an insult to the feelings of the Chinese people," he said.
Wang Xinhua, head of the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Aggression War Memorial Hall said that, as the world in general is preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism, Japan should consider its history and pursue the road of peace and development.
Wang said China has never conducted any anti-Japanese education. He said the exhibitions in the memorial hall commemorate the victims of war, arouse the conscience of humanity and look to a peaceful future.
"The Nanjing Massacre, which wiped out 300,000 Chinese lives, is a tragedy for the Chinese, which we want very much to forget about, however, the words and deeds of some Japanese politicians always remind us not to forget the past,"he said.
(China Daily 04/07/2005 page2)