26th August, 2014
HKSAR Gov Follows China’s Suit by Establishing Two Commemoration Days to Promote Anti-Japan Sentiment
Hong Kong SAR Government today announced that, from this year onwards, 3/September and 13/December are to be set as the days to commemorate the “victory of the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression” and “victims who died in the Nanking (Nanjing) Massacre” respectively. Official ceremonies will be held from this year onwards on both days. The HKSAR Government also stated that the ceremonies are to “recall the resistance against Japanese aggression and pay tribute to those who died in or made contributions to the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression” and to “commemorate victims who died in the Nanjing Massacre and those who were killed during the Japanese invasion” as well as “express the resolve of the Chinese people in safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and world peace”. Neither of the two days are public holidays.
During the Second World War, Japanese army occupied Hong Kong on the Christmas Day in 1941, which marked the beginning of the 3 years and 8 months of dark age times. On 30/August 1945, after Japan surrendered unconditionally, the Hong Kong British government resumed sovereignty of Hong Kong and officially set 30/August from 1946 onwards as Liberation Day (in 1968, the Hong Kong British Government reassigned the last Monday or the Saturday before of August to be the Liberation Day), to commemorate the regain of sovereignty in Hong Kong.
Soon after Hong Kong was handed over to China (1997), Hong Kong SAR Government cancelled the Liberation Day in 1998, a day that carries significant meaning that links to Hong Kong’s colonial history and British link. “Victory of War of Resistance against Japan Day” was set on the third Monday of August, which was also a public holiday. In 1999, this public holiday was cancelled and the HKSAR Government set Remembrance Day on the second Sunday of November when commemoration is held at Status Square in Central.
In March this year, the NPC passed the motion to name 3/September and 13/December the “victory of the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression” and “victims who died in the Nanking (Nanjing) Massacre” respectively. HKSAR Government to follow China’s Government in establishing these two commemoration days is believed to be a political mission, in order to nurture the anti-Japan sentiment in Hong Kong.
In recent years, the Sino-Japan relation intensifies because of conflicts over Senkaku Islands and Yasukuni Shrine visits. China has been manipulating Chinese’ anti-Japan sentiment and diverting its people’s anger to Japan in order to dilute people’s anger over China’s authoritarian and failures. The results were people in China protesting against Japan and vandalising Japanese companies in China. China’s Government also does its duty to stop communications and interactions between civilians in Japan and China.
However, the anti-Japan sentiment does not seem to apply to Hong Kong. Even though some Hongkongers have not forgotten the 3-years and 8-months hardship, in general, Hongkongers welcome Japanese and are friendly towards Japan, evident by the embracement of Japanese culture and keen interest in visiting Japan. On the other hand, Japan has been treating Hong Kong as an important market since 1970s, many Japanese companies have established offices in Hong Kong to expand their businesses. Many Japanese have chosen to reside in Hong Kong, and the relationship between Hong Kong and Japan has long been in harmony.
This new move by the Hong Kong SAR Government may impact the relationship between Hong Kong and Japan, and affect Japanese’s overall positive image over Hong Kong.