Two Announcements for China!
ON FEBRUARY 3, 2021, TWO CITIES IN THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA WILL ESTABLISH THEIR COMMUNITIES AS THE 307TH AND 308TH INTERNATIONAL CITIES OF PEACE.
Zhijiang in Hunan Province and Weifang in Shandong Province will join Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, which was established as the 169th International City of Peace in 2017.
Zhijiang and Weifang join a global network of over 300 Cities of Peace in 65 countries. The organization defines peace as the global consensus values of safety, prosperity, and quality of life for all citizens in a community. In Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and has member Cities in all six continents.
“Like many Cities and towns around the world,” commented J. Frederick Arment, Executive Director of International Cities of Peace, “Zhijiang and Wiefang have experienced historical hardship and trauma, yet the leaders and citizens of their communities are committed to a culture of healing and progress.”
The City of Peace ideal is thousands of years old and the legacy of peace in Zhijiang and Weifang is also thousands of years old.
”The three cities of Nanjing, Zhijiang and Wiefang have experienced destruction and suffering of war. The history cannot be forgotten”, said Dr. Liu Cheng, Professor for History and UNESCO Chair on Peace Studies at Nanjing University, ”but the pursuit of peace is the best memory and healing of their trauma,then linking history education with peace and reconciliation.”
Zhijiang in Hunan Province and Weifang in Shandong Province are the 307th and 308th International Cities of Peace. Professor Liu Cheng of the History Department at Nanjing University and the only UNESCO Chair on Peace Studies in China has been instrumental in this development. All three Cities suffered greatly during the Japanese invasion in the 1930s and all are moving their Museums from primarily a war memorial to a place where healing and peace are the focus of exhibits and education.
Zhijiang, Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China: International City of Peace
Zhijiang Dong Autonomous County, one of China’s five Dong autonomous counties, is a historical city receiving the surrender by the Japanese invaders to China. In 2020, Zhijiang County is home to a population of about 388,000, 102,000 of whom are permanent residents in the urban area.
“As the new year begins,” says Mr. Tian Junquan, “let us also start anew. Today, on the Spring Begins, I’m delighted that Zhijiang joins the International Cities of Peace”, said Tian Junquan, director of Zhijiang Institute for Peace Culture Studies, “Zhijiang, with this whole new identity, will go out to the world and our peace course will also start a new journey. Now, let’s go forward hand in hand, to make more dedication to the development of world peace.”
The city, boasting a history of more than 2000 years, has played a crucial role in the Eastern Theater of World War II. On 21 August 1945, representatives of the Japanese troops in China signed a document surrendering to the Chinese people unconditionally in the town, an occasion historically known as “acceptance of Japan’s surrender in Zhijiang”. In this connection, Zhijiang has emerged as a witness to the shift from war to peace. People in Zhijiang therefore have a better understanding of peace: the untold suffering inflicted by warfare and the well-being bestowed by peace. At the turn of the new century, Zhijiang people have acted in line with the contemporary trend characterized by peace, development and cooperation, staying committed to UNESCO’s call by enabling wartime history to serve peace purpose. Hence, Zhijiang has embarked on building itself as an international city for peace.
For more information on Zhijiang as an International City of Peace:
Weifang, Shangdong Province, People’s Republic of China: International City of Peace
Weifang has a profound culture and a long history, and it is rich in cultural relics resources. In recent century, the city’s cultural heritage such as the former site of the Weihsien Courtyard of the Happy Way and Concentration Camp, Fangtze German and Japanese Building Group, the old site of British Tobacco Company, Ershilipu Railway Station, and Jiaozhou-Ji’nan Railway, have been witness to a series of cultural exchanges between China and the West as well as the development of the city’s inclusive culture.
“As the dawn of 2021 appears on the horizon,” Ji Schuchun of the Weifang Museum writes in a City of Peace Declaration, “Weifang is honored to join the International Cities of Peace. Peace means respect, understanding, security, and prosperity. A peaceful community means its people can enjoy the high quality of life. As the place where more than two thousand European and American residents were interned during WWII, the people of Weifang know and recognize the value of peace more than many other people. Now, with the deepest hope for peace, let us join hands to make contributions to a lasting world of peace.”
As a state protected cultural heritage site, the former site of the Weihsien Courtyard of the Happy Way and Concentration Camp is one of the historical and cultural heritages of Weifang with significant influence. After having been heavily renovated, the Weihsien Courtyard of the Happy Way and Concentration Camp Museum was reopened to the public on September 3, 2020, the 75th anniversary of the End of World War II. CCTV News Broadcast, Xinhua News Agency, and other national and provincial media ran special reports on the museum, which captured people’s attention. The call of “remembering history, cherishing peace” aroused strong social response once again.
For more information on Weifang as an International City of Peace:
On September 12, 2017, Nanjing became the 169th International City of Peace. Mr. Liu Cheng and Mr. Zhang Jianjun, in coordination with the Nanjing City government established Nanjing, China as an International City of Peace in the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Liu Cheng is Professor for History, Director of Institute for Peace Studies, in School of History, Nanjing University. He is also the UNESCO Chair of Peace for Peace Studies and a Board Member of Cities of Peace, Inc.
Mr. Zhang Jianjun is curator of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, the executive director of Institute of Nanjing Massacre History & International Peace and the chief editor of the academic journal Japanese Invasion of China History Research, and popular journal on history Purple Grass.
For more information on Nanjing as an International City of Peace:
International Cities of Peace is a global association of self-established Cities of Peace with over 300 member cities in 65 countries. In 2017, International Cities of Peace achieved Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. With City of Peace initiatives on all six continents, the ICP association offers flexibility for membership in terms of diverse cultures, languages, political systems, spiritual beliefs, and other deeply held aspects of global humanity.
Each City of Peace is a separate organization, self-defined by community members with an ICP designated Liaison who provides two-way communication between the Association and the community. Most Cities of Peace have accomplished a collaborative working relationship between grassroots organizations and the local government, many of which include an official proclamation.
For more information, contact the Executive Director of International Cities of Peace:
Mr. J. Frederick Arment
Interviews and photos by the Liaisons for the three Cities of Peace in China are available upon request.
Person to Contact in Zhijiang:
Mr. Tian Junquan
Address: No.228, Kaixuan Road, Zhijiang County, Hunan Province, 419100, P.R.China
WeChat of Zhijiang Memorial Hall of the Acceptance of Japanese Surrender: zgzj1945
Persons to contact in Weifang:
Address: Weifang Museum, Weifang 261041, Shandong, China
Ms. Sun Li
Address: Weifang Museum, Weifang 261041, Shandong, China
Person to contact in Nanjing:
Mr. Liu Cheng
Address: No.163 Xianlin Avenue, Xixia District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, 210023, P.R.China