Embrace Peace from History
Signed Article by Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste Xiao Jianguo Published on Independente
3 September 2020
September 3rd and September 5th are worthy of commemorating by Chinese and Timorese peoples. September 3rd this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. September 5th is the day when the Japanese military rendered its weaponry to the Timor-Leste authority in 1945. The World War II is an unprecedented holocaust in the history of mankind. It raged across Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania, involving more than 2 billion people in more than 80 countries and regions, including China and Timor-Leste, and brought a huge disaster to world peace and human civilization. The war was a victory of justice over evil, light over darkness and progress over reaction. The new international order centred on peace and multilateralism with the United Nations at its core, which was established after the war, has become the fundamental guarantee for our enjoyment of 75-year’s peace and development, as well as brings significant and far-reaching influence on the progress of human civilization.
The Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, as an integral part of the World War II, began the earliest and lasted the longest. Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese people began their War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression in 1931, which lasted for 14 years and made great sacrifice. According to incomplete statistics, there were 35 million military and civilian casualties in China, and the economic losses amounted to 600 billion US dollars. For a long time, the Chinese battlefield contained and fought against the main forces of the Japanese militarism, and played a decisive role in the complete victory against the Japanese invaders. The Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression strategically supported the allied forces in their war of resistance against Japanese expansion, and delayed the Japanese aggressors’ invasion of other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including countries in Southeast Asia. The great victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression has made an indelible historic contribution to the cause of ultimately defeating the world’s fascist forces and safeguarding world peace.
China and Timor-Leste share the common experience of being invaded and enslaved by the Japanese militarists. In China, the Japanese invaders committed a series of inhuman massacres such as the Nanjing Massacre and other heinous crimes. In Timor-Leste, Japan occupied the country in the spring of 1942. In order to fight Japanese aggression, many Timorese joined in the Anti-Japanese commandos set up by Australians, even more Timorese supported the guerrilla fighters by other means, such as providing food and shelter, carrying heavy equipment or being guides. But they were brutally repressed by the Japanese army. Within three years of Japanese occupation of Timor-Leste, the Japanese army had killed more than 60,000 local civilians, which means nearly 12% of Timorese inhabitants were killed. Timor-Leste has one of the highest rates of death during the World War II.
Past experience guide for the future. It has been 75 years since the war, and our generations were born after the war. We have never experienced the cruelty of war and have no experience of the price for peace paid by our predecessors. However, the concept of “never forget history, oppose war and cherish peace” will never go out of date. Both Chinese people and Timorese people are peace-loving nations. Our two countries bear history in mind, and remember the fallen soldiers and civilians, which is not to perpetuate hatred, but to better oppose war and cherish peace.
The World War II has taught us that, peace is like air and sunshine, which is hardly noticed when people are benefiting from it. But none of us can live without it. Today, peace and development have become the themes of our times, but the world we live in is still not completely secure and prosperous. Countries such as Libya, Yemen and Syria are still in armed conflict, and universal peace is far from being achieved. The spread of unilateralism and protectionism is disrupting global supply and industrial value chains, undermining world trade, and the global economy is struggling with uncertainties. The COVID-19 is posing an imminent threat to humanity. The fight of pandemic has fully demonstrated that mankind is a community with a shared future. We should oppose to unilateralism, work together with solidarity and cooperation to win the battle.
Taking history as a mirror and cherishing peace, China is ready to work with Timor-Leste, to jointly uphold the international order and system underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and advance the noble cause of global peace and development together, with an aim to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity for future generations.