Sundance Film Fest 2007: Nanking Docu Stirs Controversy

Beijing, Jan. 27, 07–Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met Japan's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi in Beijing yesterday afternoon against a worrying backdrop, after a Japanese rightist group announced plans for a documentary film denying the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.

On Monday the group announced plans to make the documentary, in response to new documentary film Nanking, from AOL Vice-Chairman Ted Leonsis, which is inspired by Iris Chang's Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller The Rape of Nanking.

Leonsis' film which won a coveted competition slot at the Sundance Film Festival is based on interviews with 80 survivors and diaries and journals from eight Western missionaries who were in Nanjing during the massacre.

Bombarded with questions about the rightist group's plans for their own documentary at a regular press briefing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: “The evidence of the Nanjing Massacre is irrefutable and the international community long ago came to a consensus over the event.

“It would be conducive to better relations for Japanese to take a correct and responsible attitude toward history so as to win trust from their Asian neighbors.”

Wen to visit Japan: Despite controversy over the film, Li told Yachi Premier Wen Jiabao would be going ahead with a visit to Japan in April. Yachi is in Beijing for a new round of Sino-Japanese strategic dialogues, which started yesterday.

The talks, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Yachi, cover bilateral ties and issues of common concern.

The two countries launched their first round of strategic dialogues in Beijing in May 2005, at which they agreed to continuing consultations. The current series of meetings will end tomorrow.