• APA's chain hotel is pictured in Tokyo, Japan.

APA's chain hotel is pictured in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo : Getty Images)

The Chinese people are outraged over a remark by a Japanese hotel chain. The hotel chain refused the withdrawal of a book from its guest rooms which denies the Nanjing Massacre in China during the World War II.

Hua Chunying, Foreign Ministry spokesman, reiterated that forgetting history means betraying it, and denying responsibility for a crime means recommitting it.

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She said: "The determination of a small group of people in Japan to ignore the country's historical crimes helps cultivate new ground for the far-right to flourish. These people's retroaction has already evoked strong indignation among the Chinese people."

Hua voiced out that the Japanese government should not neglect its duty under the excuse of freedom of speech by misguiding the Japanese people.

She added, "We urge the Japanese to realize the seriousness of the problem, shoulder their responsibility in earnest and properly handle related issues, to avoid new disturbances in the China-Japan relationship."

Reports on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social networking site, say that the APA Hotels, a Japanese hotel chain, was distributing the book "Theoretical Modern History II: The Real History of Japan."

The book claims that "Japan constitutionally guarantees freedom of speech, and no one-sided pressure can force any assertion that is made to be repealed."

After this event, major China travel agencies have refused to provide booking services for APA Hotels. This will be an issue, as China is the top source of Japan's inbound tourism industry.

Koro Hotels, an international hotel chain in Zhejiang Province, has begun distributing the book entitled "The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe" in its guest rooms as a protest.

The book is a compilation of the personal journals of a German businessman that lived in Nanjing Province from 1937 to 1938. This was a time when Japanese troops overran the city. The book describes an unassuming hero who saved 200,000 Chinese lives.

"The APA incident is merely company behavior, it should not affect the bigger picture of tourism exchange between China and Japan," said Xu Xiaolei, a spokesman of the China Youth Travel Service. "Tourism as an industry is very easily affected by exterior factors including terrorist attacks, exchange currency rates and the political environment."