New book recounts heroic struggle against JP aggression

New book recounts heroic struggle against JP aggression
A new English-language book helps readers better understand China's role in the war and how foreigners like Norman Bethune supported the cause. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A new book has recently been launched as part of China's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Published by the Central Compilation and Translation Press, The Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression: A Concise History is the country's first official account of the war in English.

The 488-page book provides readers with an opportunity to better understand that period in the country's history and the important role it played in World War II.

The war started in China on Sept 18, 1931 and ended on Aug 15, 1945.

The book contains 60 historical photos, covering battlefield events, the Japanese fascist atrocities such as the Nanking Massacre, biological and chemical warfare, the abduction and enslavement of Chinese laborers and the brutal abuse of Chinese women, China's cooperation with other allied forces like the Chinese army in India and the Chinese Expeditionary Force, and the contributions of overseas Chinese.

"After reading this book, the world will better understand China's important role as the main Asian battlefield in the war," says Wei Haisheng, deputy head of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, at the book launch.

"Readers around the world will learn about the vital role the Communist Party of China played in the war. Besides, it (the book) also provides academics with details about the war, and allows China to counter any distortion of historical facts," he says.

The bureau, founded in 1953, has been compiling, translating and researching classical Marxist works, and translating important documents of the Communist Party of China and the government, such as the government work reports released during the annual sessions of National People's Congress, and also works or remarks by Chinese leaders such as the Selected Works of Mao Zedong and Excerpts of Remarks of Xi Jinping on the Chinese Dream to Realize the Chinese Nation's Great Rejuvenation.

The languages in which the works are produced are English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

The original Chinese edition of the book was published in May by People's Publishing House.

In March, a translation team consisting of six Chinese and two native English speakers at the bureau started to work on an English version. The translation was finished in July and the book was published in mid-August.

"I want to pay tribute to the translation team for their fine and rigorous work that also helped improve the Chinese version," says Zhi Shaozeng, chief editor of the book.

For example, Zhi says, that when the team translated the section on the Chinese Expeditionary Force to Burma, they put in the bit that the force went there to support not only the British army, as the Chinese version said, but also the Burmese army to fight against Japanese aggression.

"That's the fact," he says.

Speaking of the care that went into the translation of the book, Tong Xiaohua of the translation team says: "We tried to be objective about the war, so we deleted many adjectives that were unnecessary."

The translation of the war's name was also carefully considered.

Holly Snape, one of the two native English speakers on the translation team, says: "Some people use 'anti-Japanese', but it cannot represent the righteousness of the war and readers would not know it was righteous to resist the Japanese aggression."

Echoing a similar view, Tong says: "With the word 'aggression', we wanted to express that the root of the war didn't lie in China. China didn't resist common Japanese people but their aggression. The invasion of a country can sometimes be righteous, so we used 'aggression' instead of 'invasion' to represent the bravery and righteousness of the Chinese people's resistance to the overall Japanese aggression, political, military and cultural."