Anti-Japan dramas on television about the war have been an important part of Chinese nationalistic propaganda over the last few decades, but things sometimes go wrong.
A video clip lasting 1 minute and 47 seconds from the TV drama Flames of War – The Army Soul, which first ran in 2012, has recently gone viral in mainland China.
The reason? It contains dialogue that can be considered politically incorrect in today’s China.
“If the Communist Party is not eliminated, how can our nation be revived? How can we have peaceful days?” a Kuomingtang (KMT) official says during a meeting of top military officials that features on the clip.
“The Communist Party told our generalissimo [KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek] that they will join us to resist Japan … did they keep their promise? No!” another KMT official says.
“They secretly occupy military sites, not fighting against the foreigners but our armies.
“When they need your help, they say friendly words to you. After they have used you, they’ll kick you away and try to make you die tragically.”
He says the Communist Party is just pretending to be trustworthy, and the officials conclude that they won’t trust the party at all.
The TV drama’s theme was about the Second Sino-Japanese War between 1937 and 1945. China’s then-ruling party Kuomingtang, which subsequently retreated to Taiwan in 1949, had accepted the Communist Party’s suggestion to form an alliance to fight against the Japanese invaders.
Some mainland netizens were surprised that the censors allowed such remarks in TV dramas that appeared on official stations.
They praised the producers of the dramas for telling the truth but feared they might face punishment.
Many Taiwanese have also been circulating the video clip on social media.
Yeh Ching-yuan, former chairman of the Taipei city government’s Law and Regulation Commission, posted it on his Facebook account on Sunday.
The sudden popularity of the clip is no coincidence.
China’s Ministry of Culture announced Monday that the Communist Party will take the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II to globally promote its achievements as the “core team” during the war, the official China News Service reported.
It said it will launch a series of TV dramas, cartoons, movies and books and hold photo exhibitions to promote the theme in August and September.
All the publications will be translated into Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
On July 1, Hau Pei-tsun, a former Taiwanese premier and chief of the general staff of the Republic of China Armed Forces, launched his new book reiterating that the Kuomingtang was the core army that resisted the Japanese invaders during the eight-year war between China and Japan.
Hau, 95, visited the key war zones in mainland China last year to refresh his memory while writing the book.
He said the Communist Party has twisted the truth of history by claiming to be the core team and playing down the KMT’s contribution.
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