China plans to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Asia, and its fight against Japan, with a stream of movies, concerts, performances and exhibitions, officials said on Monday, in an effort to strengthen "nationalism and culture".
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The centerpiece of the events is a military parade through central Beijing in September, although few top Western officials are likely to attend, for fear of sending the wrong signal in a region fraught with territorial disputes and bitter war memories.
China-Japan relations have long been affected by what China sees as Japan's failure to atone for its occupation of parts of the country before and during the war. Beijing rarely misses a chance to remind the world of its suffering at the hands of Japan.
The celebrations come at the same time China's stock markets face a make-or-break week after officials rolled out an unprecedented series of steps at the weekend to prevent a full-blown stock market crash that would threaten the world's second-largest economy.
The government is anxiously awaiting the market opening on Monday to see if the new measures will halt a 30 percent plunge in the last three weeks, or if panicky investors who borrowed heavily to speculate on stocks will continue to sell.
To promote the anniversary over the next three months, the Chinese government will promote 20 documentaries, 12 television dramas and three animated programs. Items already presented include more than 180 children's shows, dramas and musicals.
"By highlighting the spirit of patriotism, uprightness and heroism in their creations, artists can help the public to strengthen their values on history, nationalism and culture, (and) therefore increase their self-confidence and dignity as Chinese," Vice Minister of Culture Dong Wei said in written remarks before a news briefing.
At least five new films have finished shooting and will be screened at major cinemas beginning in early September, Tian Jin, vice minister at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, told reporters.
Dong, Tian, and several other officials, including those from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the State Archives Administration, declined to answer a Reuters question on concerns whether the works would stoke regional tension.
Many of the works will highlight the efforts of China's ruling Communist Party in the war against Japan.
An exhibition organized by the PLA will focus on the Party's "critical role" in the war and a concert titled "The Great Wall Built by Flesh and Blood", will show the spirit of China's armed forces "under the leadership of the Communist Party", Li Zhensheng, deputy publicity chief of the PLA's General Political Department, said in a statement.
President Ma Ying-jeou of self-ruled Taiwan said on Saturday it was Nationalist Chinese forces which won the war against Japan, challenging Beijing's official line, which focuses on the heroics of the Communist army.
After the war, Chinese Communists and Nationalists resumed a civil war that resulted in Nationalist forces withdrawing to Taiwan in 1949, though China still claims the island as its own