Date
30 May 2017
William C. Kirby (inset) says it was the nationalists' success against Japan that ensured China would remain a free country and laid the foundation for its future. Photos: United Daily News
William C. Kirby (inset) says it was the nationalists' success against Japan that ensured China would remain a free country and laid the foundation for its future. Photos: United Daily News

Harvard scholar: Communist role versus wartime Japan misleading

China should not overlook the fact that the nationalists, not the communists, fought Japanese aggression before and during World War II, according to a Harvard academic.

The nationalists, led by the Kuomintang, helped pave the way for modern China to become an economic power, William C. Kirby, a T. M. Chang professor of China Studies at Harvard University, told a forum in Taipei last week.

Kuomintang forces led the resistance against Japanese aggression between 1937 and 1945, he said.

The end of the war forced the Japanese government to sign peace treaties with the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China, Kirby was quoted as saying by United Daily News.

The Communist Party did not come to power until 1949, driving the nationalists to Taiwan.

Kirby said the Communist Party was a troublesome and disloyal ally of the nationalist government during the eight-year conflict with Japan.

Communist propaganda that the party had an important role in the anti-Japan effort is misleading, he said. 

The nationalist government lost a political and armed struggle to the communists because it had been decimated by the war.

But it was the nationalists’ success against Japan that ensured China would remain a free country and laid the foundation for its future, Kirby said.

Kirby was in Taiwan to attend a seminar organized by Taiwan Historica to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender the in Pacific war.

Translation by Chris Heung

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