Museum to honor local war volunteers

Local | Stella Wong 8 Feb 2018

The first museum in Hong Kong to commemorate local volunteers' efforts in the second Sino-Japanese war is expected to open this year.

The exhibition will consist of three parts, introducing the history of the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column, the Sino-Japanese war at sea, and the Law family, which details how nine family members fought during the war.

The battalion was a branch of the Dongjiang Column, which was a guerrilla force led by the Communist Party. As the only force in Hong Kong to fight against Japanese aggression for the whole time, it attracted thousands of local volunteers.

The museum will be located at the Law's family house in Sha Tau Kok, the force's base. While the museum is still being prepared, family members are optimistic it will open this year.

Lau Chi-pang, the coordinator of the Hong Kong and South China Historical Research Program at Lingnan University, said the Hong Kong battalion contributed a lot during the war.

"The battalion transferred hundreds of important figures to safer places in the mainland, including Andrew Chan Chak, an admiral of the Republic China Navy. It also collected important military information for allies."

Moreover, the force maintained security in Hong Kong during the period after Japan surrendered and before the British returned to rule Hong Kong, the professor said.

"This part of history was an important turning point for Hong Kong. We should remember it and exhibit the history in a historical venue," he said.

Wong Siu-kong, son of a late veteran in the Law family and vice president of the Society of Veterans of the Original Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column, added: "We should not let others think that Hong Kong did not have any opposing voices under Japanese invasion during the three years and eight months.

"Apart from recording history, our main purpose is to attract people to love our ethnicity and our country."

Wong Chok-choy, a 91-year-old veteran who served as the head of the battalion's radio department, said it was "great news" to have a museum showcasing how locals fought in the war.

Wong started serving in the battalion at the age of 15. He was responsible for transmitting messages between the battalion and the heads of Chinese government, including Mao Zedong. However, he criticized the Hong Kong government for not being active enough in building the museum.

Lawmaker Elizabeth Quat said she brought Undersecretary for Home Affairs Jack Chan Jick-chi to the site last month.

Chan told Quat that the government will consider how to support the project.

"Many Hongkongers fought and sacrificed their lives in the war. It is a pity that many young people and a majority of citizens do not know about this part of history," Quat said, adding that she hopes Hong Kong will have more museums about the war in the future.

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