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Thursday, May 12, 2005
Envoy defends Chinese texts
Accounts of Japan's atrocities not excessive: ambassador
The Chinese ambassador to Japan said Wednesday that the recent increase in anti-Japanese sentiment in China is not a result of what critics have called an excessive description of Japan's wartime aggression in China's history textbooks.
Wang Yi, speaking to an audience at a Tokyo hotel, said China's history textbooks have long sections about Japan's past since much of China's modern history is tied to its relationship with Japan.
"At the time, it was Japan that damaged China the most," Wang said.
Chinese history textbooks outline Japanese aggression against China in detail from the 1930s until the end of World War II, and critics say it is full of references to atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army.
Chinese textbooks also state that Japan became a pacifist nation after the war and grew to become an economic power, said Wang.
"I do not think education is closely related to the move," Wang said. "The problems (created by Japan) today are angering the younger generation."
Last month, tens of thousands of Chinese took to the streets of major cities over several weekends in massive rallies against Japan.
The demonstrators criticized Tokyo's decision to approve a junior high school textbook that its critics say glosses over or omits Japan's wartime atrocities. They also opposed Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Beijing has said repeatedly that although Tokyo has apologized for its wartime aggression, it has not "deeply reflected" on its past.
Wang said the Chinese public also suspects Japan will once again become a militaristic country.