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In remembering war heroes, China highlights CPC's role in WWII victory

Toting rifles, ten formations of goose-stepping troops marched past the Tian'anmen Rostrum on Thursday morning, rekindling the glorious past of forces led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in defeating Japanese invaders in World War II.

All the ten formations were named after the most famous counter-Japanese army units.

The mainstay role of the CPC and its forces is the linchpin in defeating the Japanese militarism, said Gao Yongzhong, a researcher with the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, citing a conclusion first proposed by CPC wartime leader Mao Zedong.

Chinese historians' research showed that CPC-led forces pinned down 60 percent of the invading Japanese army at the backstage battlefield, killing some 527,000 Japanese troops.

The 70 banners they were holding may offer a glimpse to the hardship and bloody fighting the troops had endured at that time — "Five heroes of Mount Langya" was in memory of the five heroes who jumped off a cliff near Yixian County in Hebei Province in September 1941 after successfully stalling an enemy offensive but were later encircled by Japanese troops.

The story of the five heroes was so inspiring that it even got included in the textbooks of Chinese primary school students. A 1958 movie was also based on the story.

Another banner was in honor of a heroic company who used bayonets to repulse an enemy attack in "Hundred-Regiment Campaign," a massive, morale-boosting offensive by more than 100 Communist-led regiments against Japanese troops in 1940. Statistics show that the campaign killed or injured 20,645 Japanese troops and 5,155 collaborationist troops, dealing a heavy blow to the military strategy of the Japanese army.

Lu Shaoze, a military official from the office organizing the parade, said the names of the ten representative formations were singled out from more than 700 CPC-led wartime army units above the regiment rank. "All of them are principal forces in the nationwide resistance."

Other heroic armies on display include counter-Japanese forces with roots in the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army, Northeast United Resistance Army and Southern China People's Counter-Japanese Guerrilla Force.

Gao also said that Kuomintang played an "important role" in the war but noted it was the CPC that first started resistance against the Japanese militarism in 1931, helped establish the united front against Japanese aggression and unleashed the power of the people, after Kuomintang-led troops suffered major losses.

According to Gao, "On Protracted War," a 1938 treatise by Mao Zedong in which he called for a protracted people's war to foil Japan's quick-win strategy, helped guide the Chinese win the war.

Some newly declassified files stored in U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and other various military archives also show CPC's contribution to the World Anti-Fascist War.

In a report wrote by Evans Carlson, who was the first U.S. military officer entering the CPC-led counter-Japanese base area, he said the Chinese people displayed a new and exceptional nationalism, and leaders of the Eighth Route Army developed very effective guerilla warfare tactics.

Evans noted that the Japanese infantry troops were usually at a loss in dealing with guerilla tactics that couldn't be found in their military textbooks.

It is irrefutable that CPC and CPC-led forces led the Chinese nation to win the war and pushed for social development, said Qin Li from the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

But still, the foot formations and the banners can only represent a fraction of China's sacrifice in the war.

Chinese archives revealed that in the eight years from 1937, allied forces killed and wounded about 1.95 million Japanese soldiers. About 70 percent of these casualties took place in the Chinese battlefield.

During the 14-year Japanese invasion of China, the Chinese suffered more than 35 million military and civilian casualties, accounting for a third of the total casualties of all the countries in World War II.

"Victory in the war was a result of the efforts of the whole nation and it can't be enjoyed alone by any single political force," said Gao.

The active units' presence in the parade is in honor of the bravery of their predecessors and show that determination to safeguard national sovereignty and security has passed to later generations, said Qu Rui, deputy chief of the Operation Department of the PLA General Staff Headquarters.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 03Sep15]

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