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Xinhua Insight: China defends UNESCO "comfort women" listing

English.news.cn   2014-06-13 19:20:37

BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese historians have defended the country's application to list records of the Nanjing Massacre and Japan's enslaving of wartime prostitutes on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

China said on Thursday UNESCO that has accepted its application although Japan accused it of "politicizing the agency" and "unnecessarily playing up a negative legacy from a certain period of time."

The Japanese government lodged a protest and demanded China scrap the plan, with China in turn denouncing this as an "unreasonable" move.

Created in 1997, the register protects global documentary heritage.


Academics and victims of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-1945) have shrugged off opposition from the Japanese government.

"We only discuss academic issues, and won't waste time on Japan's fallacy with a political motivation behind it," said Guo Biqiang, a researcher with the Second Historical Archives of China, which is based in Nanjing, capital city of Jiangsu Province.

According to Guo, China launched the application to avoid similar tragedies between the two countries in the future and to contribute to world peace.

Zhang Sheng, a history professor with Nanjing University, said Japan's protest reflects the fact that it lacks understanding of its responsibilities even seven decades after the war.

"Under such circumstances, the international community should help change its mind and prompt it to be a responsible country," Zhang said, stressing that the application should not be interpreted as a demonstration of hostility toward Japan.

She Ziqing, an 82-year-old survivor of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, which Chinese historians estimate led to about 300,000 deaths, described the application as "huge, good news."

"It will let the world know more about how Japanese troops rampaged through the city," said She, who volunteers as a guide at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.

Revealing the truth is important to console the victims, said Zhao Cailing, a worker with a museum on the history of Japanese soldier's sex slaves, or "comfort women," in Longling County, Yunnan Province.

Zhao recalled that a group of middle school teachers from Japan visited the museum in 2011. "They had little knowledge about comfort women, and were surprised by the pictures and physical evidence they saw."

Feng Weiguang is a nephew of Li Lianchun, a late comfort woman in Longling. "If she [Li] had known this, she would be happy," said Feng.

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