Beijing: People stood in silence and cars pulled to roadside to honk in China's Shenyang city at 9.18 am. Tuesday as wailing air defence sirens kicked off nationwide observance of the 81st anniversary of the Japanese invasion of northeast China and mourning for the war dead.
On Sep 18, 1931, Japanese troops blew up a section of the railway under its control near Shenyang, then accused Chinese troops of sabotage as a pretext to mount attack.
They bombarded the barracks of the Chinese troops near Shenyang the same evening, starting a large-scale invasion of northeast China, Xinhua reported.
Four months later, Japanese troops occupied about 1.28 million km of Chinese territory in northeast China, 3.5 times the land mass of entire Japan.
The incident was followed by Japan's full-scale aggression of China and the rest of Asia, and triggered a 14-year war of resistance against the Japanese.
"What happened here 81 years ago was painful and unforgettable for every Chinese people," said a resident surnamed Zhang in Dalian, a port city of Liaoning province.
"We have to be on alert, given the recent provocations by the Japanese government over the Diaoyu islands."
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Japanese consulate general in Shenyang to remember Japan's aggression of China in 1931.
While most residents recalled history and mourned the war dead at homes, workplaces and public facilities, hundreds of protestors near the Japanese Consulate General expressed their dissatisfaction over the Japanese government's so-called "purchase" of the Diaoyu islands.
They were raising slogans "All Chinese be united together" and "Japanese militarism must surrender". Dozens of policemen were dispatched to the site to keep order.
First Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 16:43