Thursday, 25 December 2014

Blaming the Past

Chen Zuo'er blames a former Hong Kong Governor for the colony's fall
On Christmas Day, 1941, Hong Kong fell to the Japanese.

Technically the attack violated international law because the Japanese did not declare war on the British empire.

And then the Hong Kong garrison was made up of local troops, as well as those from Britain, Canada and India.

The Canadian soldiers were ill-equipped and unfamiliar with the lay of the land, but did the best they could in resisting the Japanese.

HK Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young
In the end the allied forces were outnumbered (52,000 Japanese versus 14,000 allied) and then Hong Kong Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young surrendered in person to the Japanese headquarters which was at the Peninsula Hotel at the time.

He was initially held in the hotel, and later became a prisoner of war in Stanley. He was subsequently transferred to POW camps in Shanghai, Taiwan, Japan and one near the Chinese-Mongolian border.

But now over 70 years later, Chen Zuo'er, a former deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office says Aitchison was responsible for the fall of Hong Kong to the Japanese.

"The British army lost Kowloon and the New Territories in only 16 days. Governor Mark Aitchison Young hid on Hong Kong Island because he was afraid to die," Chen said.

How does Chen know what Aitchison Young was thinking at the time?

It's his petty way of getting back at the UK for trying to hold China accountable for its part of the bargain in the Sino-British Joint Declaration during the Umbrella Movement protests.

China says Britain has no rights over Hong Kong after 1997
Last month a group of British lawmakers were barred from entering Hong Kong on a fact-finding mission related to the joint declaration.

And so Chen twisted wartime history to hit back at the UK by saying, "How then could the British claim they have the right to monitor Hong Kong?"

He said that after Britain handed back Hong Kong to China, it has completed its historic mission, though the agreement retains its "important meaning and vitality".

However the allied forces were outnumbered four to one -- how could it even beat the Japanese? And in fact, the Japanese aggression enabled the Communists led by Mao Zedong to attack the Kuomintang.

So should Chen really be blaming Aitchison Young for this moment of history?

Perhaps he should read up on his history first before blaming others... Needlessly complaining about the past doesn't necessarily repair things in the future...


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