On August 23 the Jingan Branch of the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau took into custody three and reprimanded two other Chinese citizens on charges of posting pictures of themselves dressed in World War II Japanese uniforms in front of a war memorial.
According to Chinese media reports, on August 1 five young men travelled together to Shanghai. Two days later at around 10 pm four of them posed in front of the Continental Bank Warehouse, which was the site of a fierce battle between the Japanese army and Chinese resistance forces in 1937, and took pictures of themselves wearing uniforms of the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Continental Bank Warehouse is part of a larger complex known as Sihang Warehouse (四行倉庫, literally ‘Four Banks Warehouse’). Built in 1931, the warehouse was jointly used by four banks (Kincheng Bank, China & South Sea Bank, Continental Bank and Yien Yieh Bank), hence the name by which it is commonly known. Due to its symbolic role in the Sino-Japanese War, the Sihang Warehouse has been converted into a museum.
The suspects later posted images on QQ, one of China’s most popular social media. The pictures were widely circulated and sparked outrage among Chinese netizens.
At first the suspects could not be identified. The police dispatched teams to Sichuan, Zhejiang, Beijing and other areas to investigate the matter and collect evidence. Chinese media reports that the suspects eventually surrendered to the police and “confessed” their crimes.
The Chinese police stated that the motivation behind the youngsters’ action was to attract attention and gain popularity.
“Knowing full well that Sihang Warehouse is a famous landmark of the War of Resistance and a site of basic patriotic education, [the men] nevertheless put on World War II Japanese army uniforms to take photos and shared them online, thus severely hurting the patriotic feelings of the vast majority of the people, violating the core value system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and causing harm to society,” Chinese media quoted the police as saying.
In accordance with Chinese public security legislation, three of the suspects were held in detention. The other two, on account of their being minors, were reprimanded.
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