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Remember the Past and Work Together for Peace--Address by H.E. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the "Jewish Refugees and Shanghai" Exhibition in Canberra

(7 July 2015, Canberra Multicultural Center)


It is befitting today that we come together for the opening ceremony of Jewish Refugees and Shanghai Exhibition in Canberra. First, I wish to extend my warm congratulations and sincere thanks to Australia-China Friendship Association, Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and China Cultural Centre in Sydney. This event would not have been possible but for your hard work and close cooperation.

In a period of 8 years between 1933 and 1941, fleeing from the Nazi persecution, tens of thousands of Jewish refugees traveled to Shanghai and found a safe haven. It is an episode of history that is worth remembering, not only for all those who had personally experienced it, but also for their loved ones and the whole mankind.

This evening, we are honored to have a special guest here--Mr. Heing Peter Witting. Mr. Witting is 87 and the only Jewish survivor from Shanghai we know in Canberra. I believe he is the best representative to speak on that part of history.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War, and Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Today is also a special day. On this same day 78 years ago--July 7 1937, in face of intensifying Japanese aggression, the Chinese had no choice but engage in an all-out war of resistance at the Lugou Bridge in Beijing.

At this very moment, I can’t help but think of the fierce battle at the Lugou Bridge. DuringWWII, as the major battlefield of Asia, China endured huge sacrifices and achieved ultimate victory in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression.

At this moment, my thoughts go back to more than 70 years ago, when Doctor Feng-Shan Ho, the Chinese Consul-General in Vienna, issued life-saving visas to thousands of Jews in spite of huge risks. In 2001, He was given the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Israeli government and his name was engraved on the Wall of Honor. His righteous deed is a reflection of the sense of justice and kindness of the Chinese nation, as well as the glory of human nature.

At this moment, I am also thinking of those times during WWII when the Australian people stood with the Chinese people against Japanese aggression. In the city of Dongfang in China’s Hainan Province, there stands a memorial celebrating the bravery of the Australian Gull Force. Not long ago, the film--Dalfram Dispute, 1938: Pig Iron Bob in Sydney tells the story of a group of Australian wharf workers who refused to load pig iron on board the steamship Dalfram which was bound for Kobe in Japan, because the materials would be used to make weapons in Japan’s aggression on China.

In the measurement of history, 70 years is like a split of a second. Today, as we remember our forefathers and history, we do not want to nourish hatred, but to cherish world peace, renew friendship and push forward cooperation for a better future.

At present, China-Australia relations are standing at a fresh starting point with new and important opportunities. I believe, with the joint efforts of people in both countries, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia will embrace an even better future.

Thank you!

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