Exiled gov’t building in China listed as state site

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Exiled gov’t building in China listed as state site

The Chinese government has designated the remains of the Korean Provisional Government’s building in Hangzhou, in its eastern Zhejiang Province, as an official state site in commemoration of its resistance against Japanese aggression in the 1930 and ’40s.

China’s State Council released a list of 80 state facilities and sites, the first of its kind, to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, which falls today.

This appears to be another gesture by China to strengthen its bonds with Korea on shared history, while also sending a warning message to Japan.

The Korean provisional government building, located on 423 square meters (505 square yards) of land, was established in 1932. Yun Bong-gil and other key Korean independence activists, including Kim Gu, who served as president of the provisional government, resided there until 1935. The city of Hangzhou completed renovations on the building in 2007.

Aside from the Korean government-in-exile’s building in Hangzhou during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing, where a battle between Japanese and Chinese armies kicked off the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), was also on the list of designated sites.

As newly named state facilities, these sites will be maintained with the state budget and serve an educational purpose for students. Earlier this year, China designated Sept. 3 as its national Victory Day to mark the Japanese government’s official surrender in World War II on Sept. 2, 1945.

On Monday, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs also announced a list of 300 martyrs and heroic groups, including foreigners, who sacrificed their lives during the Japanese invasion.

The country will hold memorial activities nationwide today to mark the end of the Sino-Japanese War. Chinese President Xi Jinping is also slated to attend a commemorative event in Beijing, where observers anticipate he will direct a message toward Japan.

During his visit to Korea in July, Xi suggested to President Park Geun-hye that the two countries host joint memorial activities for the 70th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule and the end of World War II next year.

Early this year, the Chinese government unveiled the Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall in Harbin, dedicated to the Korean independence fighter who assassinated Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese resident-general of Korea, on Oct. 26, 1909.

In May, China also unveiled a stone monument in Xian in its northwestern Shaanxi Province that honors the Korean Liberation Army, which fought against Japanese colonization from 1941 to 1945.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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