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Remarks by Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at the Special Screening of the Documentary The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru
2023-08-16 16:43

On 15 August, H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang attended the special screening of the documentary The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru and delivered remarks at invitation. The full text of the remarks is as follows:

In Search of the Lisbon Maru Story to Carry Forward Friendship Between the Chinese and British People

Major Brian Finch,

Mr Fang Li,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Thank you for the kind invitation to this screening. It is a great privilege to be here. First of all, I would like to thank Mr Fang and his team for producing this marvelous documentary, The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru. My special thanks also go to Major Finch for his instrumental role in organising this and other activities commemorating the Lisbon Maru Incident.

On August 26 last year, I had the great honour to forward President Xi Jinping’s letter to Mrs Denise Wynne. In the letter, President Xi pointed out that the touching story of heroic fishermen from Zhoushan, who came to the rescue of British prisoners of war on board the Lisbon Maru in 1942, is an important testimony to China and the UK fighting shoulder to shoulder against fascist aggression during World War II.

Mr Finch was also there when I visited Mrs Wynne’s home. And from him, I learned about the making of this documentary for the first time. Today, thanks to the great efforts of all involved, this film has finally come to fruition. It is the best way to remember that remarkable story.

This film has aroused our shared memory of what happened 81 years ago. At the height of World War II, fascist aggressors were waging wars in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania, inflicting severe sufferings on more than 2 billion people in over 80 countries and regions.

On the Oriental Main Battlefield of the World Anti-Fascist War, the Chinese people fought heroically against Japanese aggression for 14 years. They endured great sacrifice and ultimately defeated those aggressors. And on this very day, 15 August 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender.

In the fight against fascist aggressors, China and the UK were allies and the Lisbon Maru Incident is one of the best examples of people from both countries supporting each other at difficult times. This documentary has brought to life the cruelty of war, the atrocities of aggressors and the righteous and heroic act of rescue of those Zhoushan fishermen. It is an important historical record epitomising the profound friendship forged between our two peoples. 

History must not be forgotten. One important inspiration we may draw from the Lisbon Maru Incident is that peace does not come by easily and lives are the most precious. Today, against a complicated world which is far from being tranquil, let us remember that historical event, commit ourselves to increasing understanding, collaboration and friendship and make joint efforts towards world peace. 

Indeed, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and countries with important global influence, China and the UK must join hands in opposing disinformation and demonisation, championing dialogue and understanding, resisting division and confrontation, and upholding exchanges and cooperation. Working together, we can bring more benefits to our peoples and make new contributions to world peace and development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today’s Zhoushan has become a modern city. The cargo throughput of the Ningbo Zhoushan Port ranked first globally for the 14th consecutive year in 2022.

Now a museum has been established in Zhoushan to remember this heroic rescue by those fishermen, and a memorial has been built in Staffordshire in memory of the Lisbon Maru story. We are also actively promoting the building of a memorial in Zhoushan. Let us carry forward this shared remembrance and turn it into a new linchpin for friendship between the Chinese and British people.

Thank you.

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