Chinese General Warns of War Danger, Calls for Mental Preparedness
October 30, 2014 • 1:01PM

In a speech given on September 15 at the Symposium in Memory of the 120th Anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), sponsored by the Beijing Chinese Culture Exchange and Promotion Association, Major General Peng Guangqian lashed out at the danger of Japanese "revanchism", and urged China to remain "mentally alert" to the danger posed by the revival of militarism in Japan. The anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War has given occasion over the last year to Chinese military forces to ponder the mistakes made by the Qing Army during that period, mistakes which led to the bitter defeat in that war, and which segued into a half-century of war and occupation by Japan.

"In Japan, the ideological and social foundation for militarism has never been touched, and the militaristic DNA of the Japanese has basically remained intact," General Peng said. "The defeated Japan after WWII was like a cancer patient ready for a surgical resection, but when the Americans opened its chest and took a look at the cancer cells and focus, they hurriedly sutured it up without touching anything. Therefore, the relapse and spread of Japan's militaristic cancer cells today is by no means accidental."

And while the cultural shift in Japanese society under Prime Minister Abe has again given sustenance to the "militaristic spirit," the "genie" was really let out of the bottle by the United States. "As it shifts its global strategy eastward and because of its need to contain China, the U.S. once again disregards international morality, purposefully releases Japan's strategic capability and lets it out of the cage," Peng said. "This offers the opportunity for the militarism, which has been dormant for more than half a century, to come back to life."

General Peng showed particular concern for the Japanese military "reforms." "Japan is striding on the path of remilitarization now. What should cause our serious concern is that while completely denying its history of aggression and eagerly reviving the militaristic ideology, the Japanese administration has flagrantly broken the restriction of the Constitution and law and successively lifted the ban on its right of weapon export and collective self-defense. Lifting the ban on these two rights is a major warning about how far Japan has gone in reviving its militarism. It means that Japan has opened the gate to expand military production, carry out large-scale military build-up and war preparation, and start the vehicle of war again to rebuild a powerful Japan," Peng said.

While noting that Japan is much smaller in size than China, Gen. Peng says Japan has always shown a willingness to challenge bigger countries, such as Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, and the United States during World War II. While General Peng feels that China's military modernization will be capable of meeting any Japanese threat, he is more concerned with making sure the military is mentally prepared. "The root cause for China losing the First Sino-Japanese War was not material but mental weakness," Peng said. "At that time, the Beiyang Fleet was No. 1 in Asia and but No.6 in the world with large tonnage and cannon caliber. Nevertheless, the military in general was corrupt, poorly disciplined and cowardly, with most people only eager to keep their own lives. Even though there were heroic patriots in the Beiyang Fleet, the Huai Army, and in other troops, the military was too corrupt as a whole to turn the tide. This is a lesson we should bear firmly in mind today."