China protects Japan occupation buildings: Report

BEIJING (AFP) - Buildings constructed in a puppet state set up in China by occupying Japanese forces have received official protection from Beijing, state media reported Thursday.

The move to preserve buildings from the Manchukuo era in 1931-45 followed calls by Chinese netizens to demolish structures left by foreign invaders during a period which is still highly sensitive in China, domestic media said.

But they quoted analysts saying it would help Chinese people better understand a key period in the country's history.

"A nation should face the tough years in its history," Zhou Zueyang, a history professor from Nanjing University told the Global Times newspaper.

"If it's invaded, enslaved and bullied by others, it should not hide that history but should demonstrate it to the world and let its descendants remember that forever."

Manchukuo, in northeast China, was seized by the Japanese following the Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931, when soldiers blew up a railway and blamed it on Chinese citizens as a pretext to start war.

A puppet government was created with Pu Yi, the last Qing dynasty emperor, as its figurehead.

The Global Times said 11 historical relics from Jilin province have been listed by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, most of them dating from the Manchukuo period.

"The Manchukuo buildings include those used for military or political purposes, such as the Manchukuo Imperial Palace," the report said.