[The Japanese graveyard - two groups of Japanese settlers were buried here.]
In the winter of 1945, while escaping from the settlements in northern-most Chinese territory 黑龍江, 15,000 Japanese 開拓團 refugees arrived in 方正縣, 180 km east of Harbin [see map in http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2010/05/manchuria-1946.html]. Roughly 5,000 of them perished from exposure, starvation, disease, and suicide, and 4,500 young women and children were adopted by the locals [see also: http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post.html].
In 1946, on humanitarian grounds, the remains were collected and cremated, and buried in a mass grave. In 1963, the CCP central gov't approved the construction of a grave site and named it "方正地区日本人公墓" and the ashes were re-interred in this site. In 1973, the grave was relocated to the present site. And in 1984, 530 sets of remains from 麻山 District [those massacred by the Soviets] were buried next to the original one with an identical monument, marked the "麻山地区日本人公墓" (see photo above).
[Above: The memorial wall inscribed with the names of the deceased was built immediately behind the two tombs (below).]
In the 1970s, most of these Japanese orphans were repatriated back to Japan and, in gratitude, they have built a memorial, near the graveyard, to honor their Chinese foster parents. The historical twist was quite complicated and now at least 48% of the 方正 residents have some ties with Japan as a result. Since the 1990s, building a memorial wall listing the names of the deceased has gained enthusiastic local support. With private and public funding, the wall was eventually built and the graveyard opened to visitors from Japan. On 7/30/2011, a micro-blog post reporting the Japanese Consul General in Shenyang visiting a memorial dedicated to the "Japanese invaders/war criminals" went viral. And the always overly patriotic Chinese netizens quickly organized themselves, threatening to totally demolish the wall.
On 8/3, 5 netizens/vandals [from Hunan, Hebei, and Henan, members of a certain “中国保钓联盟”] came to the grave site and splashed red paint on the memorial wall after failing to take it down with hammers [above].
On 8/6, in the middle of the night, the memorial was hastily removed by the local gov't leaving only a slight depression behind. More outside netizens arrived at the graveyard seeking to do more damage. After seeing no memorial wall on site, they lit firecrackers to celebrate the "victory of justice".
It appears extremists-nationalists now not only rule the virtual world in China, they have also gone beyond spewing words of irrational hatred into physical violence.
[Above: The five courageous netizens who won a self-proclaimed victory over
the defense-less dead (below).]
In the meantime, the citizens of 方正縣 are now labeled as 漢奸 - a term heard quite often in the immediate post-1945 days in Taiwan.
Following the display of this patriotism, Chinese-style, one netizen in Taiwan questioned Ma Ying-jeou's honoring 八田與一 (Hata Yu-ichi, 1886-1942), the Japanese engineer who designed and built 嘉南大圳 during the Japanese Colonial era [Mr Hata's ship was torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine while enroute to the Philippines and Mrs Hata committed suicide one day after Japan surrendered]. Fortunately, "就事論事,恩怨分明", not twisted logic to justify the blind hatred of all Japanese, still prevails in Taiwan.