September 18 Incident in 1931 - the prologue to Japanese invasion of China
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the September 18 Incident (also known as the Mukden Incident or Shenyang Incident). On 18 September 1931, the Independent Garrison Unit of the Japanese Kwantung Army initiated an explosion to destroy a section of the South Manchuria Railway near Liutiao Lake in Mukden (now Shenyang). Accusing the Chinese troops of causing the destruction, Japan used it as a pretext for staging a raid in Mukden overnight. This started off the Japanese military aggression against our country. In February 1932, the entire Northeast China was occupied. Japan later established the puppet state of Manchukuo in the city of Changchun, Jilin Province, which brutally violated the sovereignty of our country. At that time, China was plagued by internal and external turmoil, making it hard to summon the strength to fight against Japan. As a result, nearly one million square kilometres of territory in Northeast China and 30 million compatriots fell under the control of the Japanese army in no time. To defend our motherland, tens of thousands of patriots risked and sacrificed their lives to resist the aggression and victory was finally secured. Since peace was earned through an arduous journey of resistance against foreign aggression and Japanese invasion, by recounting the past to connect the dots in thought of those to come, we can deeply understand that peace and stability in our motherland are indeed hard-won. Learning from history and commemorating the September 18 Incident enable us to reflect on the significance for the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and safeguard people’s well-being.
Strengthening education of national history and national security to nurture patriotism
It is fortunate that our motherland has continued to thrive and prosper and has taken up a pivotal role in the international arena. We must develop our country together, cherish the hard-won peaceful times and foster a sense of belonging towards our country and patriotism in our next generation. In this connection, the Education Bureau (EDB) is committed to launching various initiatives such as national education, Chinese history education and national security education, including enriching the elements of Chinese culture in the kindergarten curriculum and fostering an interest in appreciation of national history and culture among students through General Studies at the primary level. Moreover, Chinese History has been implemented as an independent compulsory subject at the junior secondary level. The proportion of modern Chinese history has been increased to enhance students’ understanding of our country. The implementation of Citizenship and Social Development at the senior secondary level also enhances students’ understanding of our country’s development and progress since its establishment, pursuit of peace, and its adherence to the diplomatic principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. National security education is an important part of national education. The EDB has published the Curriculum Framework of National Security Education and the curriculum frameworks of 15 related subjects for schools to help students cultivate a comprehensive concept of national security within and beyond the classroom.
Learning activities for the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the September 18 Incident
To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the September 18 Incident, the Curriculum Development Institute of the EDB will host a dedicated seminar themed “The September 18 Incident and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression” cum sharing session of Anti-Japanese War veterans on 17 September (Friday). The seminar will also be livestreamed. Through the lecture delivered by a historian and the sharing given by Anti-Japanese War veterans, teachers’ knowledge of the September 18 Incident and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression can be enriched. Learning and teaching resources and teaching experience will also be shared to enhance teaching strategies and effectiveness on relevant topics. The EDB has developed presentation materials related to the September 18 Incident and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression for teachers to download and use in class (Link: www.edb.gov.hk/tc/curriculum-development/kla/pshe/references-and-resources/chinese-history/learningandteachingppt/index.html). Meanwhile, schools are encouraged to introduce the relevant history and promote positive values among students on different occasions such as morning and weekly assemblies as well as in the Moral and Civic Education lessons so as to enable students to understand the patriotic spirit manifested by the Chinese military and civilians during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and develop in them a sense of identity and responsibility towards our nation and our race.
In addition, after completing relevant learning activities, teachers and students can join the online seminar on the 90th anniversary of the September 18 Incident - “Don’t Forget History, Embrace Peace” held by the September 18th History Museum in Shenyang (Link: www.52hrtt.com/mobileview/liveinfo/detail?liveId=G1630045121850) on 28 September (Tuesday) at 10am. The seminar, with the theme on the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, covers the background of the Japanese Invasion of China, the damage that the War inflicted on China and the hardship experienced by the Chinese people during the War, and the arduous journey of the Chinese people in guarding against the Japanese aggression with solidarity. The seminar will be broadcast online on a recurrent basis. Teachers may encourage students to attend online, or arrange time to join it together and exchange views to facilitate learning.
Learning from history and dedicating ourselves to national rejuvenation
Success comes through difficulties and hardships. Only by learning from history can we accumulate the strength for striving ahead. Sirens wail nationwide on 18 September every year to remind us not to forget the sufferings of our compatriots in the Incident and not to let the tragedy repeat itself. Learning the history of the September 18 Incident is a great opportunity to nurture national spirit and a sense of mission among students. As a Chinese saying goes, the rise and fall of a nation is the concern of every citizen. We hope our next generation can study history properly, cultivate a sense of belonging, responsibility and identity to the nation, develop national identity, and dedicate their youthful vigour to the revival of national glory and development of the country.
8 September 2021