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China unveils V-Day parade plans, stressing anti-Fascist role
China on Tuesday announced plans to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, including inviting foreign militaries to participate in a parade on Sept. 3 in Beijing.
President Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, will speak at the event, Wang Shiming, deputy head of the CPC Central Committee publicity department, told a press conference.
Representatives of veterans, civilians who supported the army during the war and relatives of the fallen will take part in the parade, which will "show our respect for veterans, civilians and martyrs alike".
Xi will also present medals to representatives of war veterans and relatives of deceased military officers, Wang said.
"The day has finally come," said Sun Chunlong, head of the Shenzhen Longyue Charity Foundation, a charitable organization for veterans.
As soldiers who had risked their lives fighting for national integrity, they have long hoped for such an honor, Sun said.
He presented a list of 7,000 veterans, most of whom are over 90, to military authorities.
"Almost 10 veterans pass away every day. For many of them, this year may be the last anniversary they see," he said.
The parade will be the first time China has marked the anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, and the victory of WWII, Maj. Gen. Qu Rui of the parade steering group, told a press conference.
It will also feature some of China's latest weaponry.
Active Chinese units, including the Eighth Route Army, New Fourth Army, Northeast China Anti-Japanese United Forces and South China Guerrillas, will participate in the parade, said Qu, who is also deputy chief of operations with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) general staff headquarters.
Troops will be selected from seven military area commands. Navy, Air Force, Second Artillery Force, Armed Police and units under the direct command of the PLA general headquarters and departments will also take part.
"We have issued invitations, and foreign troops who wish to participate are welcome," said Qu.
"We hope history and the future will be connected through this military parade. China and the world can unite under the message of peace and development," Qu said.
"The invitation extended to foreign militaries shows China wishes to safeguard world peace," he added.
Some Kuomintang (KMT) veterans will also take part in the parade, Qu said, adding that KMT troops played an important role in the war.
Japan signed its formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, and China celebrated its victory the following day. After the war, KMT forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, were defeated in a civil war by the CPC and fled to Taiwan in 1949.
"The inclusion of KMT veterans in the parade demonstrates the CPC's respect and safeguarding of history. It fully recognizes the contribution by the KMT to ensure victory." said Yu Pei, a historian from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Equipment and armaments slated to be included in the parade will be mainly domestic and in active service, many of which will be having their first public outing, Qu said, adding preparations for the parade adhere to the principles of pragmatism, frugality and efficiency.
All parade troops will assemble at a Beijing training base for three months of training.
"The aim of the parade is to show China's determination to follow the path of peaceful development, defend world peace and national sovereignty, security and development, demonstrating the great sacrifices and contribution by Chinese people, and to display our army's latest achievements in building a modern defence force," Qu said.
Apart from the military parade, an array of other activities will commemorate the anniversary, including seminars and a memorial ceremony for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.
Last month, China announced a national holiday to celebrate the victory on Sept. 3, hoping to encourage more people to take part in commemoration activities.
During Tuesday's briefing, Wang thanked other nations for their "precious support" in China's war against Japanese aggression while defending China's role in WWII.
The Soviet Union, United States, United Kingdom and France all supported China during the war, Wang said.
The Soviet Union was the first to come to China's aid, and the actions of Soviet troops in northeast China accelerated the defeat of the invaders, Wang said.
The United States also provided great support, with the UK and France offering economic aid and military cooperation, he said. Dozens of other countries also contributed to the war effort.
Wang thanked a number of individuals including American journalist Agnes Smedley and Canadian doctor Henry Norman Bethune. "Chinese people will forever remember the precious contribution of people from many countries," he said.
He also pointed out that some westerners downplayed China's role in WWII, saying they "lack objectivity and appreciation of China's position and role."
"The historical facts are that the Chinese people's war against Japanese aggression was an important part of the world anti-fascist war and [China] played a significant role as the major oriental battlefield," he said.
China defeated Japanese invaders, killing more than 1.5 million their troops, which coordinated with the allies' campaigns. China also paid a great price, with more than 35 million soldiers and civilians sacrificed.
China's position in the Asian theater and the Asian theater's position in WWII should be understood, recognized and remembered by the international community, said Yin Zhuo, director of an expert consultation committee of the PLA Navy. "That is [shows] respect for history."
He said some countries had intentionally belittled the CPC's role in fighting Japanese Fascists through guerrilla wars.
It is hoped that Western countries shelve their differences and promote a diversified international society that features exchange and integration, just like in World War II; abandoning prejudice and fighting side by side against Fascism.
Without China's resistance, the situation would have been much harder for Western allies on the Asian front, according to Rana Mitter, director of Oxford University's China Center.
According to Rana, who is also the author of the book Forgotten Ally: China's World War II 1937-1945, the tragic, titanic struggle that China waged in the 1930s and 1940s was not just for its own national dignity and survival, but for the victory of all the Allies.
[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 23Jun15]
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