LCQ15: War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression
There are views pointing out that during the occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese army, local anti-Japanese aggression organisations (e.g. the Hong Kong Independent Battalion (the Battalion) of the Dongjiang Column anti-Japanese aggression guerrilla force of the Communist Party of China) insisted on protecting their homes and defending the country and waged a guerrilla war on the Japanese army invading China, playing an important role in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (War of Resistance). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of veterans of the Battalion in Hong Kong (including the number of the deceased);
(2) apart from general social welfare protection, whether the Government has plans to enhance the living support for the veterans of the Battalion, or award Medals of Honour to the members of the Battalion or commend them in other ways; if so, of the details;
(3) of the current number of relics in Hong Kong of the War of Resistance under the management of the Government, and whether it has plans to step up efforts to conserve and publicise the relevant relics;
(4) whether it has compiled statistics on the current number of items of oral history told by members of the Battalion which were collated in Hong Kong;
(5) to enhance the cultivation of patriotic sentiments among students, whether the Government will consider giving talks on the stories of martyrs in schools on the Victory Day of the War of Resistance, as well as organising activities such as presenting flower bouquets and bowing to the monuments for martyrs; if so, of the details;
(6) whether it will consolidate the relevant existing exhibitions at the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, and set up a memorial hall on the history of the Hong Kong War of Resistance and a museum of modern Chinese history to exhibit the stories and heroic deeds of the Hong Kong War of Resistance, so that members of the public can have a correct and comprehensive understanding of the history of the War of Resistance and the history of the Communist Party of China; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(7) whether it will establish a high-level inter-departmental steering committee, with the Chief Secretary for Administration coordinating the education on the history of the War of Resistance and issues relating to fostering patriotic sentiments; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Regarding the question raised by the Hon Chan Hak-kan, the Home Affairs Bureau's consolidated reply on behalf of the Government is as follows:
During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (the War of Resistance) and Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column dealt a severe blow to the Japanese invaders in various parts of Hong Kong to defend the motherland, making significant contribution to the ultimate overall victory of the War of Resistance which lasted for 14 years in total. Their heroic deeds are honourable and respectable. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (Government) has all along been promoting patriotic education and a correct understanding of history, including the 14-year history of Chinese people's War of Resistance against Japanese fascist and militarist invasion, and will continue to do so in order that the young generation in particular will understand and remember this piece of important history. Understanding the great contributions made by war heroes to the country and the nation can cultivate a sense of national identity and national pride among the young generation, as well as enhance their relevant knowledge so that they may prepare themselves for the cause and development of the country and the nation in the future.
Over the years, the Hong Kong Museum of History (HKMH) and the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence (HKMCD) managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) under the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) have presented in their permanent exhibitions the history of the War of Resistance on a long-term basis. Currently, the HKMH and the HKMCD are revamping their permanent exhibitions to further enhance the presentation of the Japanese invasion of China, Japanese attack on Hong Kong, the Battle of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column and so on to deepen public awareness of this chapter of Hong Kong history. In addition, the HKMH has engaged experts and academics to conduct thematic research on anti-Japanese aggression activities in Hong Kong. Some of the findings were published in "The Defence of Hong Kong: Collected Essays on the Hong Kong-Kowloon Brigade of the East River Column". These oral historical materials and research findings are extremely important in preserving, displaying and promoting the history of the War of Resistance.
The HKMCD has organised from time to time thematic exhibitions relating to the War of Resistance, such as the "Anti-Japanese War Heroes: An Exhibition on the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column" and "The East River Column and the Hong Kong-Kowloon Independent Brigade" which focused on the stories about the Dongjiang Column. Other thematic exhibitions included the "Braving the Storm: Hong Kong under Japanese Occupation" exhibition. Through a wide range of activities in the form of talks, study tours to military relics, workshops, roving exhibitions and dramas, etc., the HKMCD has enhanced public understanding of the related history. The HKMCD also provides roving exhibition panels on the theme of the history of the War of Resistance in Hong Kong for free loan to local schools, youth organisations, uniformed groups, community organisations and other charitable or non-profit-making organisations.
Moreover, the LCSD museums have attached considerable importance to the digitisation of information on museum collections. The website of the HKMH has provided relevant links to facilitate public search of selected museum collections, including the artefacts related to the War of Resistance and the Dongjiang Column. In the future, the HKMH and the HKMCD will continue to organise thematic exhibitions from time to time to arouse public interest with a view to promoting a better understanding of the War of Resistance, especially among the young generation, and educating the public to value and address this chapter of history. The two museums will also continue to devote resources to study, collate, preserve, display and promote the historical records and collections relating to the War of Resistance in Hong Kong while introducing to the public the heroic stories of the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column in the anti-Japanese war under the leadership of the Communist Party of China through exhibitions and activities. In collaboration with the Hong Kong War History Research Association, the HKMCD has organised a series of activities to recognise the heroic deeds of the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column in the War of Resistance, enabling the public to have a better understanding about the glorious history of the War of Resistance and let them take pride in being a member of the Chinese nation.
Apart from the HKMH and the HKMCD, the Hong Kong Film Archive has curated the "Cine Memories of the War of National Resistance" programme since 2015 on a regular basis to present free screenings on the theme of the anti-Japanese war during the period before and after the dates commemorating the victory of the Chinese people's War of Resistance against Japanese aggression each year. Through these screenings, it is hoped that the public will gain a better understanding of this significant historical event while enjoying the films.
Apart from the museums, the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) has been playing a complementary role on various fronts such as enriching relevant library collection, including books and multimedia information, to facilitate public search of the information on the brave history of China and its people in the resistance against Japanese invasion. The HKPL also plans to organise seminars on the anti-Japanese war with books display in libraries in the period before and after the dates commemorating the victory of the Chinese people's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression each year. Since December 2014, the HKPL has taken up the management of the "Hong Kong Memory" website and has collaborated with various LCSD museums to develop, upon studying, analysing and collating the historical archival materials, new collections on a regular basis to recount the stories of Hong Kong, including the touching stories of the Dongjiang Column, with a view to arousing public interest while preserving records on the history and culture of Hong Kong. The special collection "Imprint of the Heart: Artistic Journey of Huang Xinbo" launched in November 2019 showcased some of the woodcuts by Huang Xinbo on the lives of people during the War of Resistance, as well as his anti-Japanese caricatures. From his works and experience during wartime, readers may realise how a patriotic artist in his predicament aroused patriotic sentiment in the people and urged them to stand against the Japanese invasion together through his artistic creations. The "Hong Kong Memory" website is also planning a newly selected collection on the War of Resistance in collaboration with the HKMCD.
Besides, the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) under the HAB is committed to promoting civic education (including national education) outside schools. The Civic Education Resource Centre (CERC) established by CPCE comprises a thematic exhibition area for holding thematic exhibitions, including exhibitions on national themes and Hong Kong history, such as the "Exhibition on the Chinese History from the First Sino-Japanese War to the Victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression" and the "Exhibition Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression". A pictorial exhibition titled "Braving the Storm: Hong Kong under Japanese Occupation", running from early May to mid-July 2022, is also organised by CPCE at the CERC to shed light on the contributions that the people of Hong Kong made to the anti-Japanese efforts in the Mainland, and the city's days of darkness during the "three years and eight months" of Japanese occupation. Moreover, CPCE has, via its social media platforms, published posts on topics covering national history and culture like "the 90th anniversary of the September 18 Incident", etc.
In remembrance of the Chinese people's courageous resistance to the invasion from Japanese fascists and militarists and to pay tribute to the martyrs and tens of millions of compatriots who bravely fought and even died for the country and the people, the Government has since 2014 hosted an official commemorative activity to commemorate the victory of the Chinese people's War of Resistance on the morning of September 3 each year at the Hong Kong City Hall Memorial Garden. Invitees include veterans of the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column, senior government officials, diplomats from various countries, deputies to the National People's Congress and members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, members of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, representatives of the Judiciary, representatives of various sectors, as well as uniformed youth groups, students, local youth representatives. By inviting them to the official commemorative activities, we hope that Hong Kong people, especially young people, will have a stronger sense of belonging to the country, as well as a greater affection for the country and respect for the martyrs. In addition to the annual official ceremony to commemorate the victory of the Chinese people's War of Resistance and pay tribute to martyrs and civilians who lost their lives in the war, the HAB and the Home Affairs Department (HAD) will continue with the relevant work, including encouraging community groups, especially youth organisations and uniform groups, to organise various commemorative activities, as well as support and complement the efforts of organisations of the resistance force. The aim is to introduce to the public the history of the resistance against Japanese aggression, helping them learn the glorious history of the Motherland, compatriots and Hong Kong people joining hands to resist Japanese aggression, and fostering among them patriotic sentiments and national confidence. Meanwhile, the HAD also supports and encourages community organisations to organise various commemorative activities each year. Regarding the erection of the Cenotaph for Martyrs, the projects implemented under the Minor Works Programme of the HAD include the reprovisioning works of the Cenotaph for Martyrs in Wu Kau Tang and the construction of the monument for anti-Japanese aggression martyrs under planning at Lung Kwu Tan, Tuen Mun. Besides, the Sai Kung District Office also assisted in the maintenance and cleaning of the Memorial Monuments for Sai Kung Martyrs in Tsam Chuk Wan.
Meanwhile, the Education Bureau (EDB) has always attached great importance to education about the history of the War of Resistance. The relevant history is taught according to the curricula of Chinese History and History subjects at both the junior and senior secondary levels. The EDB also encourages and assists schools to organise activities on relevant historical issues. For example, in this school year, the Secretary for Education attended a commemorative activity of the "Victory Day of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression" organised by a school on September 3, 2021, and joined the teachers and students in paying tribute to martyrs and civilians who lost their lives. He delivered a speech, in which he mentioned that people in Hong Kong inspired by the righteous cause of the nation and the patriotic spirit persevered with resistance and ultimately succeeded in withstanding foreign invasions, thereby nurturing students' national identity and patriotic spirit. As 2021 marked the 90th anniversary of the "September 18 Incident", the EDB organised a dedicated seminar themed "The September 18 Incident and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression" cum sharing session by veterans of the War of Resistance. The EDB also organised the "Remember History, Cherish Peace: the 84th Anniversary of Nanjing Massacre" school commemorative activities and teacher seminars in a school in December the same year. Participants observed a moment of silence for all compatriots who sacrificed themselves in the Nanjing Massacre and the War of Resistance, and expressed the utmost reverence and appreciation to the patriots who resisted the enemies with resilience. The activity also encouraged students to learn their forefathers' spirit of commitment and sacrifice in safeguarding the country, as well as cherishing peace. Besides, the EDB has developed relevant learning and teaching resources to enhance teachers' strategies and effectiveness in teaching relevant topics, such as thematic presentation on the history of "The September 18 Incident and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression" and "The 70th anniversary of the Victory of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression: Selections from the Hsu Chung Mao Collection" and the Learning and Teaching Package for "History of War in China". To further enhance the teaching of the history of the War of Resistance, the EDB issued in early June this year the circular memorandum on "Teaching the History of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression: Teacher Seminars cum Field Visits Series, Teaching Support Programme and Learning and Teaching Resources", in which schools are informed in advance of the programme series and projects on the War of Resistance that will be organised by the EDB, including seminars and field study activities in connection with the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Dongjiang Column and the Hong Kong Independent Battalion, as well as the pilot scheme of a drama education programme on "September 18 Incident", so as to support the teaching of the history of the War of Resistance.
The Government attaches great importance to the history of the War of Resistance and will continue to spare no efforts in promoting patriotic education, including the history of the 14-year War of Resistance and in particular, the great achievements in resisting Japanese aggression made by the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column under the leadership of the Communist Party of China so as to enhance our patriotic sentiment, sense of pride as a Chinese and confidence in our nation.
Ends/Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:45
Issued at HKT 14:45