Thursday’s ceremony in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II was one of flamboyant pomp and circumstance — a triumphant celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s ultimate defeat over the Japanese imperialists who ravaged China between 1937 and 1945.
A thousand miles south, however, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou decried the parade as an exercise in historical revisionism. Speaking at a ceremony honoring military personnel in Taipei, Ma urged Beijing to acknowledge the vital role of Nationalist forces — the progenitors of Taiwan’s government — in defeating Japan.
“All major battles on the frontline throughout those eight years were fought by the Nationalist forces under the leadership of late President Chiang Kai-shek,” he said.
He said that communist forces fought in only one of the 22 battles between Chinese and Japanese troops during the eight-year conflict, and that 267 of the 268 Chinese generals killed in the war belonged to the Nationalist camp.