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War shrine row: China flays Japan

world Updated: Oct 19, 2012 00:00 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Stories on “comfort women”, women enslaved by Japanese soldiers during WWII, were carried on state media on Thursday to add to China’s strong criticism of Japanese law makers visiting a war shrine in Tokyo over the last two days.

Beijing termed the event as provocative and a rightwing shift in Japanese politics. Both countries are locked in a festering dispute over islands in the East China sea called Diaoyu (Senkaku in Japanese) and in recent months the tense situation has worsened.

“The provocative shrine-worshipping, which has already become a political routine among Japan's hardcore right-wingers, should be looked at seriously. It shows that the growing concerns over Japan's right-leaning trend and resurging militarism are by no means much ado about nothing…Worshipping the war criminals blatantly denies Japanese army's atrocities during the Second World War and evokes nightmares of the victimised Asian nations,” a commentary on the state-run Xinhua news agency said Thursday.

China claims that about 200000 Chinese women were forced into sexual slavery during WWII.

A recent commentary on mouthpiece People’s Daily called it the “the ugliest, filthiest, darkest sexual slave system in human history of the 20th century. Enslaved by this system, about 200,000 Chinese women suffered devastation, but only about 200 of them can be checked against historical records. Many of those old people, for various reasons, are still trembling in the twilight of history,” said the commentary.

On Wednesday, China called Japanese opposition leader Shinzo Abe's visit to Tokyo war shrine was the latest in Japan's provocative moves against China and that it would further “poison” bilateral ties.

Earlier this week, a Chinese naval flotilla including destroyers sailed through waters near the islands claimed by Japan in a move that could be interpreted as China flexing its strong military muscles.

In August, seven Chinese citizens who were detained by Japan for landing on one of the disputed island in East China sea were hailed as heroes after their return to Hong Kong. The state media said the seven were part of a group of 14 who had made the “courageous” journey to reach Diaoyu islands.