China | China adds six years to Sino-Japanese war in history books
The September 18 History Museum in Shenyang province. Photo by Chen Juda
The September 18 History Museum in Shenyang province. Photo by Chen Juda

China adds six years to Sino-Japanese war in history books

All primary, middle and university materials will be republished to reflect a national revision of the War of Resistance – which now starts from 1931

January 10, 2017 6:17 PM (UTC+8)

The Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression has been extended by six years after the Ministry of Education ordered changes in all school and history books in China.

The national revision of the history has been ordered for all primary and middle schools as well as university teaching materials across the country.

The Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, which is referred to as the Second Sino-Japanese War in Western history textbooks, will now begin in 1931 instead of 1937.

Beijing News reporters confirmed with Eduction Bureau authorities on Tuesday morning the authenticity of the document circulating online titled, To Fully Implement the Concept of the “Fourteen-year Fight” Against Japanese In the Textbooks of Primary and Secondary Educations.

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A copy of the Ministry of Education document circulating online. Photo via Weibo

The document requires national, provincial and municipal level education departments to conduct a comprehensive investigation to remove the old phrase and use the new term in textbooks for the spring semester. Related content will also be changed under the order.

The move is to realize the central government’s will, said an Education Ministry official. The State Council already ordered the ministry to start making the changes two months ago in October 2016. “The new textbooks nationwide are ready now,” said the official.

The Lugou Bridge Incident in July 1937 – widely known as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in the West – is often used as the moment when the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression began.

On July 7, the Empire of Japan held military exercises near Beiping city (Beijing today) and demanded entry to Wanping county (on the other side of the Luguo Bridge) on the pretext of searching for a missing soldier. But when the Chinese authorities denied their request, Japanese troops attacked the bridge and bombarded the county.

However, the Education Ministry has now changed the starting point of the War of Resistance to the Mukden Incident on September 18, 1931. The incident in Mukden (the Manchurian term for Shenyang today) is when the Imperial Japanese Army accused Chinese dissidents of detonating a small quantity of dynamite close to a railway line owned by Japan. The Japanese responded with a full invasion and occupation of northeastern China.

Some comments on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, cited a well-known saying, “History is like a maiden waiting for a makeover.”

Fan Jianchuan, the deputy secretary general of the Academy of Chinese Anti-Japanese War History in Beijing, supported the change because it respected the truth of historical events. Fan said on his Weibo post that an exhibition on the War of Resistance in the Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Chengdu, which had been on show for 14 years, had always referred to the 1931 Mukden Incident as the starting point of the conflict.

According to Britannica.com, the Second Sino-Japanese War started on July 7, 1937, and ended in 1945 when Japan surrendered on August 15.

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