Students attend a ceremony held at an exhibition on the Nanjing Massacreat the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing, on Dec 13, 2017.
It has been said that history is little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind. But there is a reason for that, since looking back it can usually be seen that, however complex or obscure their causes, the events are usually the result of similar fervors.[Special coverage]
By choosing to remember what we do, we express the hope that the past can serve to guide us to a better future by reminding us of where our frenzies may lead.
Thus, instead of being intended to ferment enmity between China and Japan, the National Memorial Service held to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre on Wednesday was meant as a historical reminder that both Chinese and Japanese peoples should treasure friendly bilateral relations.
It is not, as some suggest, because Chinese people are obsessed with that part of history, but rather because there are some in its neighbor who are. Since there are those in Japan who would betray their country's future by obscuring that part of its past to generations to come, rather than allow them to comprehend the cultural legacies that resulted in the shameful acts they seek to erase.
The protests by Chinese and Korean people as well as people from other countries at the denials by some Japanese politicians of the crimes Japanese troops committed during their imperialist war of aggression sends a clear message that they will not be able to rewrite the past and their selective amnesia only exacerbates the wrongs they seek to hide.
Chinese people do not draw attention to the past because they hate an entire nation, but because of the irresponsibility of those who try to wipe the slate clean when teaching the lessons of history. It is they who allow no forgiving and moving on, since they seek to deny that any wrong has been done.
The memorial service to remember what happened in Nanjing was thus in the interests of Japan as well as China, as it was a cue for the shared memory of both peoples, and only by fully comprehending those pages of history can future chapters be written in the true spirit of friendship.