China Power

VJ Day in China

Plus, more Snowden revelations, a Central Asia-focused military drill, and Pope Francis’ message to China. Friday links

VJ Day in China
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Ed Westcott

Time for this week’s China news round-up…

Today is the 69th anniversary of the Japanese surrender that marked the end of World War II. Predictably, coverage of the anniversary (and accompanying reflections on Japan’s wartime aggression) dominated Chinese newspapers. Xinhua has an English-language round-up of the major stories featured in People’s Daily, China Youth Daily, and PLA Daily. “Justice will always prevail in the fight against evil, and those who perversely pursue a retrograde path will be doomed to failure,” a typical commentary proclaimed.

Also in commemoration of end of World War II, Xinhua reports that China’s State Archives Administration will be releasing a 24-part video series called “The Great Victory.” One episode will be released each day, starting today.  The videos are designed to show “Japan’s aggression and defeat to China during the 1930s and 1940s” and follow the release of 44 written confessions of Japanese war criminals by SAA. “The Great Victory” materials (so far, only a timeline and collection of photographs) can be viewed on the SAA website (Chinese).

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying reminded reporters that China has chosen September 3 the official “victory day of the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression.” While Japan surrendered on August 15, the formal surrender documents were signed on September 2. China’s formal events commemorating the end of World War II will be timed to coincide with the September anniversary.

In other news, China Digital Times highlights the China-related elements of Edward Snowden’s recent interview with Wired magazine. The interview reveals that Snowden’s work for Booz Allen largely focused on “analyzing potential cyberattacks from China.” Snowden says that this assignment, which included targeting Chinese “universities and hospitals and wholly civilian infrastructure,” first made him feel that the U.S. intelligence community was crossing the line.

Elsewhere, troops from Russia, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, and Tajikistan are in China for an upcoming multilateral drill, China Daily reports. The drill, to be held in China’s Inner Mongolia from August 24-29, will focus on counter-terrorism. It’s the fifth military drill to be organized under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Finally, amidst the backdrop of increasing restrictions on Chinese Christianity (see The Diplomat’s coverage here), Pope Francis reached out to China through a telegram. The Washington Post looks at Pope Francis’ message and what it might mean for China and the Vatican, which currently have no diplomatic relationship. It’s traditional for the pope to send a message to the leader of each country he passes over. However, the last time a pope visited Asia, in 1989, China refused permission for the Vatican leader to use Chinese airspace. Some see the recent interaction as a positive sign for China-Vatican relations.

The Associated Press reports on Chinese Catholics’ hope for a better relationship between their country and the Vatican. Some expressed hope that the two countries might establish diplomatic ties in the future, allowing Pope Francis to visit China. However, there are still signs of tension. AP notes very little media coverage in China of the pope’s visit, and there have also been reports that Beijing prevented some Chinese from traveling to South Korea this week.