Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: China needs to apologize

By Lau Seng-hian

In some regards, it is a dangerous world. A tsunami hit southeastern Asia just several months ago, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people; in less than a month, several severe earthquakes have struck Japan.

Nature has shown a cruel face, but nothing could be bloodier and more brutal than our internecine wars.

Never forget that we can hardly find innocent people on earth. Is there any nation or ethnic group that is qualified to claim that neither they nor their forefathers had anything to do with invasions? In cases where no apology has yet been made, we do owe it to each other to say, "I'm so sorry."

That's what I felt when I saw huge anti-Japanese demonstrations erupting in China again. The protesters complained of Japan's use of cunning descriptions to disguise its war crimes in textbooks, and demanded apologies. I've been hearing the Chinese asking for an apology from Japan ever since I was very young. The Japanese have apologized, in delicate diplomatic language, but also in abundant official development assistance. However, it seems the Chinese are never satisfied. Itself a repeat offender, China is always demanding one more apology.

How can China deny that its people have been involved in repeated invasions? Everyone knows the ancient Chinese lived in a relatively small area along the Yellow River. Is China going to tell us that all its current territories have been annexed peacefully?

It is easy to find examples in history books of Chinese troops crossing the border, conquering and slaughtering. The descendants of the victims have spread over almost all of east and central Asia, even Europe, depending on your definition of "China" and which purported Chinese dynasty is part of Chinese history and which is not.

China does owe apologies to a lot of nations. The Chinese are also covering up their forefathers' war crimes in their own textbooks. China has never offered any official development assistance to anyone as a form of apology.

Why is the repeat offender, China, always demanding an apology from Japan without even mentioning its saber-rattling toward Taiwan?

Lau Seng-hian

Taipei County

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