The wars of aggression launched by Japanese imperialists are a source of shared, deeply painful memory in China and the Korean Peninsula.
Chinese and Korean people joined forces to fight against the imperial Japanese army during the years of hardship. There are sites of the Korean Provisional Government in several Chinese cities including Shanghai, which witnessed patriotic Koreans set up overseas Korean Provisional Governments to continue their independence movements against atrocities committed by the Japanese army.
Baek Seo-Hui, a South Korean student studying for a master's degree at Fudan University in Shanghai, visited the site of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in the city's downtown Huangpu district earlier this year.
"That day was March 1, the [104th] anniversary of Korea's March First Movement," Baek told the Global Times. The movement was a series of demonstrations for Korean national independence from Japan imperialism starting on March 1, 1919.
Baek met many Korean visitors at the site that day. "The site is a place of historical significance," she said. "There, I felt the spirit of dedication and sacrifice in Korean independence efforts. Occasionally I might think that, there wouldn't be 'me' and 'a peaceful world' today without their [efforts] at that time."
The August 15 anniversary is a memorable day for people in both China and the Korean Peninsula. The day is also called the National Liberation Day of Korea, a day that the peninsula ended 35 years of Japanese colonial rule, Baek said.
"Similar to China, we hold many commemorative activities on August 15, each to mark this special day, such as Liberation Day memorial ceremonies, lectures, and competitions organized for the teens," she added.
In September 2022, the "China-Korea Joint Resistance against Japan" special exhibition opened at the Museum of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. The exhibition serves as a collective remembrance and retrospective of the historical struggle of the Chinese and Korean peoples against the imperialist aggression of Japan. The exhibition showcased events spanning from 1910 to 1945, during which China and Korea fought side by side against Japanese imperialist colonization and aggression, ultimately achieving victory.
Luo remarked that in modern history, China and Korea share a similar destiny, forming a historical narrative of mutual support and united resistance against Japanese imperialism. This chapter of history requires further exploration, organization, and research by both China and South Korea, to be widely disseminated within the societies of both nations.
"We must draw enlightenment from history and ensure that the tragedies of the past do not repeat themselves," Luo said. "Our engagement in providing education on these historical events is not to perpetuate hatred, but the undeniable truth must not be denied, and justice must prevail. Both China and South Korea bear the obligation and responsibility to uphold this."