Second World War Veterans,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for joining us today, as we mark the 65th anniversary of the Chinese people's victory against Japanese aggression. Not long ago, Britain also celebrated the 65th anniversary of its Victory over Japan Day.
Both the Chinese and the world anti-Fascist wars of the 1930's and 1940's were life and death struggles against ruthless states that were enemies of humanity. The Sino-Japanese war was the first to break out and lasted the longest.
China played a key role in defeating the Japanese aggressors by fighting two-thirds of their army forces, resulting in 70% of their casualties during World War II, and by providing strategic support to our allies and assisted their operations in the European and Pacific theatres.
China's victory over Japanese aggression not only laid an important foundation for the achievement of national independence and liberation by the Chinese people and the founding of the People's Republic, it also contributed to the world's just struggle against Fascism. It also exerted a far-reaching impact on promoting world peace.
China's victory would not have been possible without the sympathy and support of the peace and justice loving nations and peoples of the world. Britain was a staunch ally of China, offering us economic assistance and military cooperation during our resistance against Japan. The historic Cairo Declaration was issued in 1943 by China, the United States and Britain.
Whilst the Chinese Ambassador to Egypt, I visited the Hotel Mena House Oberoi, not far away from the Pyramid where the Cairo Conference was held, to remember this part of history and my responsibilities as a diplomat.
I have heard a lot of touching stories about men and women from both China and Britain, who jointly fought the Japanese fascist forces and forged a profound friendship. In December 1941 after the fall of Hong Kong, some British and Chinese officers stationed in Hong Kong formed a joint contingent to break the Japanese siege. With the help of the anti-Japanese Dongjiang Guerrillas in Guangdong Province, they finally arrived safely in the Chinese mainland.
In the spring of 1942, China sent 100,000 troops to Burma to support the British operations. Many of them lost their lives while rescuing 7,000 besieged British soldiers. In October 1942 when the Japanese freighter Lisbon Maru used as a prisoner-of-war transporter was sunk by a US warship in the waters off Dongji Island, in Zhejiang Province. The local fishermen saved 384 British prisoners of war at the risk of death from the Japanese.
Another heart warming story was that of George Hogg, a 23 year old British journalist who went to China to expose the crimes of the Japanese. Whilst there, he founded the Bailie School in Shandan County and did everything he could to support the local children and the Chinese people's efforts to fight the Japanese invasion. He died in Shandan at the age of 30 and was buried there. Today we are glad to have here with us Second World War veterans, descendents of the Hong Kong Escape Party, and representatives from the former school of George Hogg.
As Confucius said, "Consider the past, and you shall know the future". We look back at our past to learn, to grasp our present and to shape our future. We live in a world that is far from being peaceful in many places. It still has a lot of challenging issues to deal with, from terrorism, climate change to communicable diseases. But our world is moving forward. We live at a time when people all around the world are united by an aspiration towards peace and development. Cooperation for mutual benefit has become the favoured choice of the international community. In this new era, China and the UK should further strengthen our partnership and work with other peace-loving countries in the pursuit of a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious world.