A lesser known and, less-acknowledged, mass killing of World War II is the Japanese slaughter of as many as 20 million Chinese, Indochinese (Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos,Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand,Vietnam), Koreans, Indonesians, Malaysians, and Filipinos. By any estimate, well over 50% of these victims were Chinese.
A memorial to this conflict, the WWII Pacific War Memorial Hall, was opened in San Francisco this month. Three days after its opening, hackers attacked the site and left threatening messages in (broken) Chinese. Among them: “We still have the chance to kill you all because you Chinese never know how to work together.”
Unlike the Nazi genocide of Jews and other groups, the Japanese mass-murder of Chinese and other Asian peoples has not been as widely acknowledged in the west. One reason for this is that overseas Chinese have not been as politically influential as the Jewish victims of Germany’s Nazis. Another is Japan’s own sometimes ambiguous feelings about the event. Unlike Germany’s efforts to fully acknowledge and take responsibility for its country’s actions, Japan’s political establishment, while issuing apologies and making some efforts to take responsibility for the crimes of its soldiers during World War II, has not been as forthright as Germany.
At the same time, the Chinese government has used this history to incite virulent anti-Japanese sentiment in the Mainland. This has made relations between the two countries tense with many Chinese and Japanese exhibiting strong mutual hostility, 59 years after the end of the conflict. That, and, from 1949 to the present, the Chinese Communist Party has killed about three to five times as many Chinese as the Imperial Japanese Army did. Forty five million of them in four years.