For some reason in the last week or so, Chinese websites have been featuring large picture galleries of the American aerial destruction of North Korea in the early 1950s.
The most extensive gallery includes 38 images from the U.S. National Archives, and has a title which might be interpreted as sensational: “狂轰滥炸北朝鲜的美国空军高清照片,” or, roughly rendered, “Aerial Photographs of American Air Force’s Ferocious Saturation Bombing of North Korea.”
Huanqiu Shibao carries a slightly less extensive gallery of similar photos here.
Why remind us of these atrocities of war now, just after the anniversary of the Rape of Nanking？ It seems awfully unusual to be commemorating North Korean over Chinese suffering.
Of course Chinese reporting on Japan has recently taken on a type of halcyon tone that I find interesting, exemplified nicely by this photo gallery of Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama with his wife back in the happy 1970s.
Perhaps of more interest are the photos of Sino-North Korean friendship, reminders of the jubilation of 1958 when the Chinese People’s Volunteers finally left their stations in the DPRK.
Of course, a couple of vigilant Chinese netizens complain that North Korea is a shameless country that waves such photos in the face of the Chinese people while diligently effacing traces of Chinese involvement in the Korean War. China’s own latent disgust with the ascendancy of the Maoist personality cult in the 1960s is played out in critiques of North Korea’s Kim-centered mytho-state.