CHICAGO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- A group of protesters demonstrated outside the Consulate-General of Japan here on Thursday over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
The protesters, most of whom are from local Chinese communities, gathered around the consulate building, chanting slogans and holding signs that read, "Salute to World War II heroes! Say no to worshipping war criminals!" and "Yes to peace, no to Japan's attempt to revise constitution!"
The war-linked shrine honors 14 convicted Class-A World War II criminals among Japan's war dead.
Fang Yanhui, chairman of the Soo Yuen Benevolent Association of Chicago, said that the history of China's resistance to Japan's invasion has somewhat faded from the memories of the younger Chinese generations here.
"By taking part in the protest, I want to tell them that history cannot afford to be forgotten," Fang said, urging all overseas Chinese to show their stance against the revival of Japan's militarism.
Wang Jian, vice president of Chicago association for China's peaceful reunification, said that right-wing forces have kidnapped Japan's politics, attempting to transfer domestic crisis by challenging the post-World War II order and stoking global tensions.
They are doomed to fail, he added.
"The gesture of the prime minister coming to visit the shrine indicates that they are treating war criminals as heroes...We want them to realize that we will not allow that," said Chicago resident and protester Joseph Chen.
"This provocative action of the government of Japan has angered people around the world. We stand resolutely against the worship of war criminals," said the protestors in a letter of protest they delivered to the Japanese consulate.
Abe visited the shrine on Dec. 26 despite strong opposition from neighboring countries, triggering worldwide criticism and condemnation.
China strongly condemned the visit, calling it a serious provocation to world peace and human conscience.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed disappointment over the visit, saying the action would exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors.
"I think we've made very clear that we were disappointed, that we think this will exacerbate tensions. I think those words are very clear in their meanings," U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a press briefing on Dec. 30.
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