No two nations sacrificed more to defeat the scourge of Nazi and imperial Japanese fascism than Russia and China.
No one knows for sure how many from both countries perished. Estimates of Russian deaths ranged from 26 – 40 million.
From Japan’s invasion and occupation of Manchuria in 1931 to WW II’s end in 1945, 30 million or more Chinese died. Many more in both countries suffered serious injuries. Large parts of their land mass were devastated.
Without Sino/Russian contributions to the war effort, Hitler and imperial Japan might have prevailed. War didn’t touch US soil. Americans old enough to remember recall minor inconveniences only – including rationing goods needed for the war effort.
Except for loved ones away at war, life was mostly normal. Conflict raged out of sight and mind. The only awareness most people had came from print and radio reports – no television at the time.
Victory of the Chinese people against Japanese aggression was commemorated in Beijing on the 70th anniversary of WW II’s end – an impressive ceremony featuring thousands of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, invited ones from 16 other countries including Russia, parading across Tiananmen Square, a dazzling air show, a display of new Chinese weapons seen publicly for the first time, accompanied by a PLA band and 2,400-strong choir – in front of around 30 foreign leaders, lower-level delegations from numerous countries, and a world audience able to access the event online or television where available.
President Xi Jinping affirmed Beijing’s commitment for world peace and stability. “Prejudice and discrimination, hated and war can only cause disaster and pain,” he said.
He announced plans to reduce China’s military from its current 2.3 million strength to around two million – part of what he calls longterm reform.
During a meeting with Xi, Putin affirmed Sino/Russian ‘unit(y) by a strategic relationship and, as we say, a comprehensive partnership.
Both countries won’t ever forget “the cruel actions of invaders on the temporarily occupied territories, which resulted in innumerable victims.”
But we must remember this to make sure that nothing like this happens again in the future. I listened carefully to your speech at the parade.
“I believe that was (your) main message addressed to the people of China and the peoples of the entire world, namely: everything must be done to prevent large-scale military conflicts in the future and to minimize military conflicts in general,” Putin stressed.
Obama and Western leaders were noticeably absent. So was Japan – an unforgivable snub for an event demanding their presence, refusing to honor China’s enormous sacrifice, beginning years before Hitler invaded Poland and America’s involvement in WW II.
Czech President Milos Zeman was the only European head of state attending besides Putin. Some Western states sent low-level delegations. America sent no one.
Beijing strongly condemned Japan for refusing to acknowledge its horrendous atrocities committed against the Chinese people. After 70 years, it still won’t officially admit guilt.
Renmin University Professor Wang Yiwei called Western leaders’ refusal to attend China’s commemorative event “unacceptable.”
Beijing’s enormous contribution to defeating imperial Japan “has been (greatly) underestimated at home and abroad.” Its resistance began in September 1931 – “last(ing) almost 14 years, the first and the longest fight against fascist forces.”
Yiwei estimates “35 million (Chinese) casualties.” Its forces were responsible for “nearly 70% of Japanese troops…injured or killed,” he said.
More than 45 million Chinese people participated in the enduring resistance, which involved a total of about 1.7 billion people from 61 countries.
Thanks to the Chinese people, the Japanese troops were not able to proceed further to attack the eastern part of the Soviet Union, or make inroads into India, Australia and perhaps the Middle East, as the then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt feared in a worst scenario.
“On the other hand, Japan’s failure to colonize China boosted the morale of anti-fascist fighters across the globe, and united them into a massive force” for victory over a deadly scourge wanting everyone enslaved.
Failure of Obama, other Western leaders and Japan’s Shinzo Abe to honor China’s enormous contribution to world peace is an unforgivable affront – typical of how these nations operate, politicizing an important event at a time global war again remains a major threat.
A Final Comment
Ahead of China’s Victory Day commemoration and President Xi’s upcoming state visit to Washington, reports indicate the Obama administration intends imposing sanctions on Beijing for alleged cyber theft – despite no verifiable evidence proving anything.
If Xi responds in kind, maybe another sanctions war will erupt before he arrives.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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