BEIJING – A lawmaker has called for a national "Humiliation Day" to remind the Chinese public of foreign attacks, with the best date Sept. 18 to mark the start of Japan's 1931 invasion, state media reported Thursday.
Chinese nationalism, especially among the young, has surged recently along with the country's economy and international influence, stoked by a communist government that regards Japan as its rival for regional superpower status.
"An outstanding nation is one that will always keep its history firmly in mind. We should never forget our compatriots who lost their lives in the war," lawmaker Jiang Jian was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying during China's annual legislative session.
"Remembering this humiliating part of history will help Chinese people feel urged to safeguard peace and work hard for the rejuvenation of the nation," said Jiang, president of a hospital in Qufu, Shandong province.
The Sept. 18, 1931, attack on the northeastern city of Shenyang, then known as Mukden, led to the Japanese occupation of China's northeast. That was followed in 1937 by the occupation of much of China that lasted until Tokyo's 1945 surrender at the end of World War II.
Many Chinese resent what they regard as Japan's failure to atone for its aggression and millions of Chinese deaths.
The communist government keeps alive memories of the "Mukden Incident" through state media and schoolbooks and uses the date to rally nationalism. It was designated "National Defense Education Day" in 2000, opening the way for formal commemorations.
Jiang said governments offices should mark Sept. 18 by flying the national flag at half mast, arranging for air-raid sirens to blast for three minutes and for the public in stand in silence for one minute.
She also said government offices should not hold celebrations on that day.