It was a time of Chinese sacrifice and bravery in the face of U.S. aggression. It was a just war in which the hardscrabble, newly established People’s Republic reluctantly stood up to American imperialists — and the Americans, richer but hardly tougher, were beaten.
That may not be the complete story of the Korean War, a major 20th century conflict that touched off when North Korea invaded the South in June 1950, drawing in the United States, the United Nations and eventually China.
But this week, that tidy narrative has overwhelmed China’ state newspapers, dominated the airwaves and even filled box offices as the Communist Party rolled out an unprecedented week of commemorative events and coverage to mark 70 years since Chairman Mao Zedong sent Chinese forces across the Yalu River and ground the Americans to a stalemate.
With U.S.-China tensions at the highest point in years, Chinese leader Xi Jinping hammered home the message in a blistering televised address about the “magnificent” War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, as the Korean War is commonly referred to in China.