China Observes Date of Japan's Surrender
China commemorated the 60th anniversary of Japan's World War II defeat on Saturday, saying "the just had prevailed against the evil" back then but denying any military ambitions today. President Hu Jintao used the occasion to emphasize that China's economic and military power is not directed against Japan or the United States, despite a budding rivalry with both countries.
"China did not seek hegemony in the past, and it will never seek hegemony in the future," Mr. Hu said at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. "By solemnly commemorating that victory, we will keep history in mind, never forget the past, cherish peace and create a better future."
Mr. Hu had planned his first visit as president to the United States next week, but the White House canceled a Wednesday summit meeting because of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The White House said Mr. Hu and President Bush would meet during the annual opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, which begins Sept. 13.
Mr. Hu made a dry, measured speech. He said he did not intend to"give rise to hatred" for Japan. But he also criticized"some elements" of Japanese society for failing to recognize Japan's wartime aggression and the atrocities it inflicted on China during its 1931-1945 occupation.
In a gesture directed at another Chinese rival, Taiwan, Mr. Hu and other senior officials used the 60th anniversary ceremony to modify a major element of Communist dogma: Beijing's contention that Communists fought valiantly against the Japanese while the ruling Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek attacked the rebel Communist army instead.
Mr. Hu recognized the contributions of Nationalist military leaders in fighting the Japanese during his address, while several other officials offered more detailed tributes, though they still attributed the overall victory to the leadership of the Communist Party.
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