The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) omitted the United States from its celebration of the 75th anniversary of Imperial Japan surrendering in World War II on Thursday, a holiday observed in America as “VJ Day” that marks Japanese leaders formally surrendering aboard the USS Missouri.
On September 2, 1945 — after continuing to fight past the surrender of Germany and Italy and enduring the nuclear bombings of two of its major cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki — Japan signed instruments of surrender before American forces. The day is known in America as Victory in Japan Day, or VJ Day.
The CCP’s People’s Daily branded September 3, the first day of freedom from Japan the Chinese had experienced in a decade, the day of “victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War” on Thursday, not mentioning America’s role in fighting Japan.
Dictator Xi Jinping reportedly attended a ceremony on Thursday to observe the date in which high-ranking CCP officials offered ceremonial wreaths to the fallen. He also made some remarks urging China to continue “carrying forward the great spirit of resisting aggression in the new era and striving to achieve national rejuvenation.” Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, did not elaborate on what he specifically was referring to, though China is currently in an ongoing border conflict with India.
The “Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression” is the official name for what is known in the West as the Second Sino-Japanese War, which occurred between 1937 and 1945, in tandem with World War II. While the war represented exclusively a struggle between Japan and China, somewhat separate from the global war on Adolf Hitler’s Germany, it ended only when Japan lost to the Allied Powers shortly after Hitler’s surrender. The Second Sino-Japanese War officially ended on September 9, when U.S. General Douglas MacArthur forced the Japanese to surrender to China.
September 3, a day in which no significant developments occurred in 1945, became an official holiday in China under Xi Jinping in 2015, one in which the CCP would not have to address the surrender on the USS Missouri. Russia followed suit in February.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying took the opportunity of the anniversary to applaud China and Russia for allegedly building the “postwar international order.”
“China and Russia shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding world peace and security, and carrying on the mission to help push forward the development of humankind,” the Chinese state-run Global Times propaganda outlet proclaimed, paraphrasing Hua. “The great victory 75 years ago was of special significance to China and Russia, as well as to human history, which laid the foundation for the reconstruction of the postwar international order.”
“As major battlefields in the World Anti-Fascist War and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding world peace and security, while pushing forward the development of humankind,” Hua said.
Russia similarly issued a congratulatory note on the non-events of September 3.
“World War II was a major tragedy in the mankind’s history, which claimed dozens of millions of lives. The Soviet Union and China took a major brunt of fascism and militarism and defeated invaders at the cost of the biggest human losses,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram to Xi, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Russia has repeatedly attempted to diminish the role America played in the defeat of the Axis powers. In a note on Twitter last year, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the storming of the beaches of Normandy — known in America as “D-Day,” as “not a game-changer,” a remark most mainstream World War II historians would dispute.
“The Normandy landings were not a game-changer for the outcome of WWII and the Great Patriotic War. The outcome was determined by the Red Army’s victories — mainly, in Stalingrad and Kursk. For three years, the UK and then the US dragged out opening the second front,” Zakharova said.
The D-Day operation resulted in the surrounding of the German Nazi army with the creation of a western front in the war, without which the defeat of the Axis powers was unlikely.
The White House issued a statement on Wednesday to commemorate the actual end of the war with Japan.
On this day, we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and honor the millions of brave Americans whose service and sacrifice vanquished tyranny and defended the American way of life,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “The American victory on September 2, 1945, marked the end of the most devastating war in history, securing peace and freedom across the globe.”