Date
26 September 2017
China has elevated its war memorials to the highest levels by writing them into law, according to historians. Photo: Xinhua
China has elevated its war memorials to the highest levels by writing them into law, according to historians. Photo: Xinhua

Citizens drawn to virtual shrines as China remembers war dead

China is remembering its war dead in official ceremonies and on virtual shrines that have drawn more than 1.7 million people.

President Xi Jinping led other senior officials in commemorating the 69th anniversary of what is officially called the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.   

The official ceremony was held at the Museum of War in Beijing, but all across the country, citizens paid their respects using their mobile phones.

They offered wreaths and lit candles on virtual graves through a mobile app developed by the China National Memorial.

The app and a dedicated website are available in Chinese, English and Japanese.

In February, the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, declared Sept. 3 and Dec. 13 as Memorial Days to mark China’s victory over Japan in World War II and the Nanjing Massacre, respectively.

War historian Su Zhiliang said it is uncommon for China to hold such a grand ceremony this year, according to Thepaper.cn.

Such national commemorations are typically held during years that are in the multiple of five or 10, he said. ”It’s partly because 2014 is the first year the National Memorial Days were written into law.”

Qi Biao, an expert on Communist Party history, said China raised the two events to the highest memorial standards by enacting the relevant legislation.

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EJ Insight reporter

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