Cherished Legacies —In Commemoration of the 65th Anniversary of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (Excerpt)

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 12:53
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 The Chinese nation won a complete victory over Japanese aggressors 65 years ago after nearly six years (September 1931-June 1937) of regional anti-aggression efforts and then more than eight years (July 1937-August 1945) of nation-wide resistance, with generous support from peace-loving, justice-upholding countries and people worldwide. Commemorating that unprecedented heroic event today is very important in that it helps us to remember our experiences of the past, to carry forward the great national spirit, the fine traditions of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and to strengthen national defense and develop our armed forces under new historical conditions, thus adding even more vigor to the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 The early modern history of China, beginning with the Opium War (1840), was one of national humiliation and rebellion. Western powers came first, causing millions of Chinese to suffer – a situation further aggravated by the Japanese invasion that threatened to destroy the Chinese nation once and for all. At a critical moment like this, the bravest of our fellow countrymen, in answer to the CPC’s call for building an anti-Japanese national united front, took up their arms and fought the invaders to the death, their flesh and blood spilling all over this hallowed earth which was their shared home. They refused to surrender or be cowed into submission. The Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army and other anti-Japanese forces under the CPC’s leadership engaged in prolonged warfare behind enemy lines and contributed greatly to the ultimate victory over the Japanese aggressors. Looking back on that period of history now, we feel even more strongly that it was a hard-won victory, but one which promoted the comprehensive development of the Chinese nation and progress in the civilization of the world. The War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression was the first war of national liberation ever to have been won by the Chinese people in their struggle against foreign invasion. It safeguarded the country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and saved the Chinese people from enslavement by foreign colonialists. It led to the awakening of the Chinese people, thus laying a solid foundation for complete national independence and the Chinese people’s liberation, which could only have happened under the CPC’s leadership. In addition, it enhanced the unity and national spirit of the Chinese people. Finally, victory in the war bolstered the faith of the world’s progressive forces, created a positive, everlasting impact on the world’s anti-Fascist endeavor and ensured peace across the globe. Hence, there is certainly a need to remember that great struggle.

  Ma Shihong at his 100th birthday party on October 16, 2010.  Ma Shihong, whose clan name is Ma Qianyi, and Ma Shitu, whose clan name is Ma Qianmu, are brothers born in the Ma family courtyard in Pingshan Village of former Shibao Township, Zhongxian County, Chongqing. Ma Shihong is three years older than Ma Shitu. During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the elder brother was a member of the Kuomintang and the younger brother was a member of the Communist Party. The two fought dauntlessly to save the country and together performed “a drama of cooperation between the two great camps, the Kuomintang and the Communist Party,” in one family. / Photo supplied by Xinhua

  I. The CPC is the loyal representative of the national interests of the Chinese people, and the PLA has all along the way been operating and fighting under the CPC’s absolute leadership. 

 Ever since its founding, the CPC has viewed working for national independence, the country’s prosperity and the people’s wellbeing as its sacred duty. Right after the anti-Japanese war began, the CPC was the first to propose to resist the Japanese aggressors, resolutely shouldering the historical mission of saving the nation through countering Japanese aggression and playing a crucial role in the national struggle against the Japanese invasion. The Chinese Communists, with Mao Zedong as their major representative, developed the well-known Mao Zedong Thought on the basis of tailoring Marxism-Leninism to the realities of the Chinese revolution, which provided ideological and strategic guidance for triumph in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The CPC became a model leading the entire nation towards victory in the war. It fought the Japanese forces persistently and opposed any cowardly compromise, went out of its way to defend unity against division, and worked for progress rather than allow backstepping. It was the CPC which also advocated, facilitated and safeguarded the anti-Japanese united front, inspiring the largest possible numbers of patriotic soldiers and civilians to stand up to the Japanese aggression. In so doing, the CPC itself became an excellent organizer and mobilizer for the cause of national salvation. The CPC adhered to a principle of all-out resistance against the Japanese aggressors, formulated correct strategies and policies, worked on a principle to mobilize and rely on the people, and introduced a general theory on protracted war and a concrete set of tactics for staging the people’s war. It opened up vast battlefields behind enemy lines and was broadly seen as a core anti-Japanese force. Backed by the people, the CPC engaged in guerrilla warfare, with the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army, the South China Guerrilla Column, Anti-Japanese United Army of Northeastern China and many other armed forces of the people fighting bravely wherever they could. The battlefields behind enemy lines held back many Japanese troops and wiped out the majority of puppet soldiers. They became the main force for anti-Japanese operations. The Chinese Communists, with patriotism and death-defying courage, literally stayed at the forefront of national defense against the Japanese invasion. History has thus shown that the CPC was, and shall always be, the staunch defender of the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and its people. The CPC was always the hard core force in the struggle for national independence and the people’s liberation.

 In reminiscing about the great victory of the war, we cannot but admire the meritorious deeds of the CPC, have deeper faith in its leadership, and go to even greater lengths to foster, deep within us, a political attitude of unswerving loyalty to the CPC. The CPC’s absolute leadership over the PLA is a founding principle and the unchanging soul of our army. In fact, it is a component of the country’s basic military institution and socialist political system with Chinese characteristics, as well as represents a major political advantage of the Party and the state. On this issue of political principle, we must keep particularly sober, take a clear-cut stand and be resolute in our action. We must answer the CPC’s call in time of need. Just a simple command from the CPC and PLA soldiers are ready to go to the frontline of the battle whenever the interests of the state and the people are at stake. However difficult a situation might be and whatever the cost, we must fulfill the assigned task thoroughly and without the least hesitation.

 II. It is the people that always lie at the root of any great strength in a war. The PLA, officers and enlisted personnel alike, adhere to a principle of “all for the people,” rely on them wholeheartedly and share good times and bad with them.

 China is best known for its large population and vast territory. Once the people felt a sense of crisis and realized they had a sacred calling, they were motivated to become organized, and the Japanese aggressors were facing hundreds of millions of Chinese people who would never stoop to any foreign insult. The aggressors were fated to fail, like what happens when a bull charges headlong into a sea of fire. The people formed the broadest possible base for defending the country against the enemy. Throughout the war, civilians fought shoulder to shoulder with regular troops, non-military operations went alongside armed combat, work in rear areas supported fighting on the battlefield, and covert actions filled the gap left by struggles out in the open. Hundreds of millions of people united as one and fought the aggressors together. By the end of the war, the people’s army under the CPC’s leadership had increased to more than 1 million, the militia in its base areas grew to more than 2.3 million and the various other self-defense corps of the people increased to more than ten million. In cooperation with the main forces and local troops, the people successfully used a variety of tactics developed by themselves, such as ambush, sabotage, landmine warfare, tunnel warfare and sparrow-type warfare, thereby putting many enemy troops out of action or simply wearing them out. The people gave strong backing to the anti-Japanese forces of the CPC, ensuring a steady supply of soldiers for the PLA. They risked their lives delivering secret messages, acting as guides, carrying stretchers, transporting military supplies and covering wounded soldiers. Even in times of extreme scarcity, they still economized on food and clothing in order to do their utmost to help our army. With their support, the PLA gained a secure foothold behind enemy lines, established 19 base areas covering a wide range of terrain, including northern China, central China and southern China, all of which gradually became strategic bases and strongholds for resisting the Japanese aggressors. All this shows that the Chinese people, once awakened and mobilized, were a truly decisive force for winning our victory. Tempered by the fighting, they went all out to finally win the war.

 In commemorating the great victory of the war, we should never forget that the people are the very source of our strength and foundation of all victories. We should never deviate from our essential standpoint of loving the people and serving them with full devotion. Although the pattern of war in the world today has largely transformed from mechanized warfare towards information warfare, the basic rule of “soldiers and civilians as the foundation of victory” remains unchanged. The ability to draw maximum strength from the people in a people’s war is still a powerful asset for us to rely on even in this information-dominant age. We should realize that the people, as true heroes, are there for us to learn from, to love and to serve. We should hold the profoundest of feelings for them. We should under all circumstances ardently pursue our fundamental goal of serving the people heart and soul and putting their interests above all. Only in this way can we retain our political identity as an army of the people and go on working selflessly for them. Moreover, we should make every effort to reinforce the unity between the military and the government and between soldiers and civilians, actively participate in social and economic development, and resolutely work to carry out urgent, difficult, dangerous and heavy tasks, such as helping in recovery from disasters. We should rely on the people in improving the army and national defense, keep to a path with Chinese characteristics of military-civilian integration and work to make the nation prosperous and the army strong in the process of building a moderately prosperous society.

 III. Patriotism is the very soul of Chinese solidarity. PLA officers and enlisted personnel are the nation’s most loyal warriors, willing to defend its security and development interests with ardent valor.

 The War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression was more than a contest of military and economic strength. Even more, it was a contest of spirit and will. At a time when the Chinese nation was in dire peril, patriotism became a rallying point for all the people prepared for a life-or-death fight with the Japanese aggressors. All partisan factions, ethnic groups, classes and organizations shared a righteous hatred towards their common enemy, gathered under the great inspiring banner of patriotism and swore to expel the Japanese from their motherland. Young people of all ethnic backgrounds joined the army and went to join in the war on the various battlefronts. Educated people lay down their pens and took up the sword, with some of them using their pen as a weapon. Passionate students broke through one barrier after another as they headed towards Yan’an, a sacred place in the Chinese revolution. Compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and many overseas Chinese organized a variety of groups to save their nation or hometown and donated generous sums for the anti-Japanese cause, and many of them rushed back to the mainland to actually join the battle. Feelings of patriotism brought the nation’s finest sons and daughters together and turned them into fierce fighters for national survival. They literally became drenched in a bloodbath. Through this death-defying struggle, China’s national spirit based on patriotism was enriched and cleansed. National pride was forged in this struggle, driven by awareness of the need to put national interests first and a firm unwillingness to be made slaves. In facing an imminent national disaster, the people’s sense of national unity was greatly strengthened. Moreover, the people maintained a high morale and were determined to fight it out to the bitter end, no matter how brutal the enemy was. They acquired faith in themselves, the faith that they could overcome all obstacles and rely on the country’s own resources to defeat the aggressors. They developed a creative spirit that allowed them to take a new road to development in the midst of difficulty. Last but not least, the people upheld justice and promoted international peace. History has shown that the Chinese people have never lacked the courage to fight an enemy to the last drop of their blood or the determination to recover lost territory without outside assistance; they have had the ability to stand proud and independent in the family of nations. Patriotism is a powerful and enduring spiritual force that the nation has always relied on to overcome difficulty. 

 Commemorating the great victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression helps to carry forward the spirit of patriotism and strengthen our willpower to defend national sovereignty, national security and development interests. Patriotism strengthens national cohesion. Decades ago it helped us defeat the Japanese aggressors, and today and in the future it will promote the rejuvenation of the nation through national solidarity. Patriotism delivers different messages in different stages of social development. During the period of the Revolution for New Democracy, it provided the drive behind the concerted effort to topple the reactionary rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism, turning China’s bleak current situation into a shining future. In contemporary China patriotism is in the form of full-hearted devotion to the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the cause of peaceful reunification of the motherland. The value of patriotism has not been diminished in the least under the current historical conditions. The PLA is a bravely loyal, patriotic and politically advanced army of the people, whose officers and enlisted personnel are all selflessly dedicated to the country. We must always remember how the Chinese people have suffered humiliation and risen to their own defense during contemporary times. At the same time, we should also remain clear about matters related to national security and work to increase our awareness of opportunity, crisis and mission. We need to study what our revolutionary forefathers did to win national independence and the people’s liberation, and act in their spirit of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. It is important to nurture feelings of patriotism and revolutionary heroism and stress that the fate of each individual is tied to that of the whole country. We must faithfully carry out our historical mission and resolutely defend national sovereignty and security, territorial integrity and the political power of the people’s democratic dictatorship, maintain law and order, contribute more to the country’s modernization, work to make the country more prosperous and strive for cultural and ethical progress and overall social harmony.

 IV. Revolutionary political education is a unique tool of the PLA for preserving the army’s cohesion, strong fighting capacity and the potential to go from victory to victory. The PLA always puts particular emphasis on ideological education, deeming it as a fundamental task. 

 Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression was inseparable from highly effective education in revolutionary political ideology. The CPC’s introduction and continued support for a policy of national united front against the Japanese aggressors, as well as its efforts to mobilize and organize a large contingent of patriotic Chinese for a mortal confrontation with the Japanese aggressors were all backed by this education. Precisely because of this, the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army under the CPC’s leadership were able to keep up the struggle throughout the war and never backed off from the anti-Japanese battlefront in the face of the big disparity in strength between China and the enemy and unspeakable hardship. The CPC imbued the PLA with politically advanced ideas and feelings. The Party called for a goal of standing firm by and serving the people wholeheartedly. By educating officers and enlisted personnel about the need for national united front, patriotism, revolutionary heroism and arduous struggle in the fight against the Japanese aggressors, the CPC created a solid consensus in the army and inspired the soldiers to fight even more bravely. Much of the experience gained in political education during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression later went into the development of a mature theoretical system. Political education will always be an important factor in strengthening the PLA’s overall fighting capability and a powerful guarantee for the ability to overcome all enemies and adversities.  

 Taking a cue from the great victories of the war, we need to carry forward and continue to promote the PLA’s fine traditions of political education, and make ideological work more scientific, more relevant and more effective in order to address today’s situations and tasks. The changes taking place domestically and internationally, as well as the constantly expanding mission and tasks of the PLA, are placing new and higher demands on ideological work. We must raise the level of ideological and political education for the troops to new heights and have a correct understanding of the content and methods in line with the requirement of the times. We must always ensure that ideologically, politically and organizationally the PLA remains a people’s army under the absolute leadership of the CPC, that development of the national defense and the PLA are carried out scientifically and that the PLA is able to fulfill its historical mission in the new period of the 21st century. 

(From Qiushi, Chinese edition, No.17, 2010) 

Note: Author: Member of the CPC Central Military Commission and Director of the General Political Department of the Chinese PLA

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