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Angelina Jolie‘s war drama Unbroken will open in China on Jan. 30, and the movie, about Olympian Louis Zamperini and his experiences as a POW in WWII, looks sure to be a hit in China, which has tense relations with its Asian neighbor over what it sees as Japan’s failure to atone for wartime atrocities.
The response on the Sina Weibo microblogging website to the news the movie would be screened was overwhelmingly positive.
“Welcome to the screening of Unbroken in China. This film is boycotted by Japanese right-wing activists. It is rare to show the Japanese inhumane treatments of prisoners of the war. All Chinese should support this film,” wrote one commentator, Mujiang 56.
Ouran Caomu Xiang wrote: “Japan should admit its inhumane behavior during the war,” Kongzi Zhishu said: “All films which are boycotted by our enemy should be supported by the Chinese. Let the little Japanese go to hell.”
Sino-Japanese ties have long suffered from what Beijing sees as Japan’s failure to atone for brutal occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and 1940s. Up to 20 million Chinese died in WWII.
Chinese are also angered by regular visits by Japanese leaders to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including war criminals.
And relations have worsened in the past few years, due to a long-running dispute over a string of East China Sea islets that both countries claim, known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japanese.
The positive buzz on Chinese social networks contrasts sharply with the reaction in Japan, where there have been calls for a boycott.
The movie has yet to receive a release date in Japan, but Japanese conservatives have called for a boycott of the film, which is based on a book by author Laura Hillenbrand, called Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
The movie portrays in grim detail the gruesome experiences of American POWs in prison camps at the hands of Japanese captors.
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