They also strongly condemned vandalism by radical rioters who spray-painted graffiti and insults on the monument on Tuesday, and urged the Hong Kong authority to hold the mobs accountable.
Lam Chu and Lee Hon, two representatives of the veteran’s association of East River Colum, a group of guerrilla fighters who fought against Japanese invaders during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, on Wednesday came to the memorial accompanied by district lawmakers and local residents.
The Wu Kau Tang monument is the only state-level monument to commemorate heroes who died in the fight against Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in the early 1940s.
Some held Chinese national flags, “safeguard Hong Kong” and “support Hong Kong” posters, and gathered in front of the monument. For many Hongkongers, the “September 18 Incident,” the start of Japan’s invasion of China, is an unforgettable date as it reminded Chinese people of history.
However, patriotic Hong Kong residents were outraged the day before the anniversary, as radical anti-government rioters vandalized the monument.
Such behavior shows the arrogance of young Hong Kong rioters. Some of them ignore their Chinese nationality and also lack an understanding of Chinese history, patriotic Hong Kong residents said.
“Chinese people paid a heavy price during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, with more than 30 million casualties, but it awakened and strengthened the Chinese people. We appreciate martyrs who sacrificed for our nation and people,” Leung Che-cheung, president of the New Territories Association of Societies, said during the commemoration on Wednesday.
Leung also strongly condemned the violent rioters, as their illegal act severely insulted the heroes who fought against the Japanese invasion and protected Hong Kong.
On late Tuesday night, several patriotic Hong Kong residents spontaneously organized a clean-up campaign, and came to Wu Kau Tang to remove graffiti and insults left on the monument.
“We can’t tolerate it anymore, as I was outraged by insults to our national heroes,” Chung Wah Sun, a local resident, who arrived at the memorial park around 10 pm, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Chung and five of his friends drove about an hour from Kowloon to the park, saying they could not wait until Wednesday to do the clean-up work. “It is not a matter of the political divide in Hong Kong society; such act implies new battles with external forces,” he said.
Hong Kong legislator Gary Chan Hak-kan criticized the vandalism, saying it is unacceptable for anti-government rioters to express their discontent of their nation in such a way.
It’s necessary to learn history, and “such an act reminded us of traitors like Wang Jingwei,” Chan said on Facebook.
In 2015, the State Council, China’s cabinet, listed the monument as one of the state-level memorial facilities and sites commemorating the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
Brave people in Wu Kau Tang are the models of patriotism for Hong Kong, and the establishment of the monument aims to commemorate heroes, and to promote love for the country and Hong Kong, and to strengthen patriotic education for young people, according to a statement issued by the veteran association.
Newspaper headline: Patriotic HKers observe ‘Sept. 18 Incident’