Activists in China press island claim

HAND IN HAND::Ads run in major US and British newspapers accused Tokyo of killing 30 million Asians during World War II and of rising militarism

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Dec 04, 2012 - Page 4

Activists from Hong Kong and China have spent more than 1 million yuan (US$160,500) to run full-page advertisements in major newspapers in the US and the UK restating China’s claims to sovereignty over a group of disputed islands, the Beijing News reported yesterday.

The daily cited sources from members of the Chinese People’s League for the Protection of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), saying they have aligned with activists from Hong Kong to place ads in the New York Times and the Times of London on Saturday condemning the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the disputed islets from a Japanese citizen.

The move marks the first time that activists from Hong Kong and China have fought back in print since the Tokyo metropolitan government ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal in July to rally support for its attempt to purchase the three islets.

Located about 100 nautical miles (220km) northeast of Taipei, the Diaoyutai Islands — known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and Senkakus in Japan — have been under Japan’s control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

The ads by the Chinese and Hong Kong activists said that Japan had massacred 30 million Asians during World War II, including 20 million Chinese.

The Japanese government still refused to admit its wartime crimes and to apologize to the victims, the ads said.

League president Tong Zeng said the activists chose to place the ad on Saturday, which marked the 69th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration. He said the move was a call for “everyone to respect history, to follow international treaties, and to not tolerate signs of resurgent Japanese militarism in order to avoid wars.”

The ads urged the UK and US governments and citizens to respect and follow the principles laid out in the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration — both of which London and Washington had taken part in drawing up toward the end of World War II.

Both declarations support Chinese sovereignty over the island group, according to the ads.

Tong added that the funding for the two ads came from a donation by the Hong Kong-based Wai Ming Charitable Foundation Fund.