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China President Xi Jinping unveils Marco Polo Bridge incident memorial in further warning over Japan remilitarisation

Leader laments 'minority of people' who ignore lessons of the 1930s and '40s

Chinese President Xi Jinping continued Beijing’s offensive yesterday against what it sees a new wave of Japanese nationalism and militarism.

Mr Xi unveiled a commemorative sculpture to the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident based on a military medal at the Museum of the War of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

The military incident was provoked by Japanese troops attempting to enter the city of Wanping near Beijing via the Marco Polo Bridge, since renamed Lugou Bridge.

“Unfortunately, nearly 70 years after the victory of the Chinese war of resistance against Japanese aggression and the anti-fascist war, there is still a minority group of people who ignore historical facts, who ignore the tens of thousands of lives lost in the war, who go against the tide of history and deny and even beautify the history of aggression and harm international mutual trust and create regional tension,” said Mr Xi.

Beijing was opposed to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent reinterpretation of his country’s imposed postwar pacifist constitution to ease restrictions on military activity.

The two governments are locked in a dispute over ownership of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

After Mr Xi spoke, a group of schoolchildren at the event chanted a promise to “remember history, cherish peace, not forget the shame of the nation and realise the Chinese dream.”

Japanese chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said that Beijing’s attempt to make an international issue of wartime history was unnecessary and “not helpful at all in building peace and co-operation in the region.”

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