Ever vigilant against historical revisionism

An anonymous letter that appeared in this week’s Shanghai Review of Books (a supplement to the Sunday Oriental Morning Post) starts off with a standard “long-time reader” intro before accusing the publication of treason:




“Enter” or “Invade”?

For the two-and-a-half years since its launch, the Shanghai Review of Books has been consistently remarkable. Each issue is a must-read for me, and I’ve kept practically every one. However, the language in an interview that appeared in issue #131 on March 20 left me flabbergasted. The first section of the article “Xiao Bai Talks About Concessions” contains the following line: “Still six months away from the total entry of the Japanese into Northern China.” Here, the author commits a grave error of basic history: the author does not write “invasion” but uses “entry” to gloss over it. And instead of writing about the “total entry” of the “Japanese army” into Northern China,  the author writes of “the Japanese.” Does the author mean to imply that ordinary Japanese at that time were coming to Northern China to engage in full-scale trade or tourism? This is no simple factual mistake. Everyone knows that right-wing politicians in Japan revised textbooks for the express purpose of turning the word “invade” into “enter.”

— An ordinary person

Concession 《租界》 by Xiao Bai (小白) is set in Shanghai in 1931 and  first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2010 novel supplement to Harvest magazine and has just been published in standalone form by People’s Literature Publishing House.

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