China's grand military parade on Thursday, the country's first to celebrate the victory of World War II (WWII), will serve as a vivid reminder of China's irreplaceable contributions in the war and its inspiration to protect peace. [Special coverage]
China, as the major Eastern battlefield of the WWII, had made great contributions to fighting against Japanese invaders and tremendous sacrifice to secure the victory.
China's anti-fascist war began the earliest and lasted the longest. On Sept. 18, 1931, Japanese army invaded northeastern China using a staged event as excuse, which became the starting point of the Chinese people's courageous fight against fascism, and the prelude to the world anti-fascist war.
In 1937, the famous Marco Polo Bridge Incident marked the beginning of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, making China the main Eastern battlefield for the global war against fascism.
Official figures showed that around 1.86 million Japanese soldiers were fighting in China at that time, accounting for 50 percent of its total force. Chinese troops distracted the majority of the well-armed Japanese invaders.
By the end of the war, allied forces had killed and wounded about 1.95 million Japanese soldiers, with 70 percent of these casualties taking place on the battlefields in China, which made an indelible contribution to the victory in other theaters of the WWII.
The fire of war scourged half of the Chinese territory, with around 260 million Chinese involved in the war and more than 35 million people killed or wounded. The direct economic loss reached some 100 billion U.S. dollars.
China had played a decisive role in defeating the Japanese invaders, but the country's contributions have seldom been told properly on the global stage. For decades, when people in Western countries talk about the WWII, they usually refer to the battles on the European continent and have little knowledge about China's role as the major oriental theater of the war. And Chinese efforts have also been underestimated in many history textbooks.
Moreover, Japan has not received its deserved penalty after the war and its right-wing forces still attempted to challenge the world order even today. Some Japanese politicians deliberately deny the country's invasion history and spread comments that gloss over its aggression rule.
Thus, China, as a country that bore unspeakable suffering during the war, decided to hold the grand military parade to remember history and cherish the memory of those who sacrificed their lives defending their homeland.
The Chinese people also hope that holding such a parade on that historical day can inspire China and the world to learn from the past and work together to build a better future.
With the participation of 30 heads of state and government leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the parade also shows Chinese people's will and power to safeguard regional peace, defend the outcome of the WWII and maintain the postwar world order.
The parade will by no means be used as a tool for flexing China's military muscle nor target any country. On the contrary, it will set an example of the nation's struggle for freedom, and demonstrate Beijing's aspiration for world peace and its firm will to defend it.