UNESCO honors Nanjing Massacre memories

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-10-12 20:03:01

Files on atrocity accepted despite protests from Japan

People visit the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Jiangsu Province on July 5. Photo: IC

China will set up a special database and upgrade the protection of documents regarding the Nanjing Massacre after files on the atrocity were listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

A number of domestic archives will jointly establish the database, which will be open to the public at home and abroad, said a source with the Second Historical Archives of China on Sunday.

Lasting more than six weeks, from December 13, 1937 until January of 1938, the Nanjing Massacre saw the deaths of 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers after the city fell into the hands of Japanese invaders.

On Friday, 11 sets of Nanjing Massacre files, including film, photographs and text taken and written between 1937 and 1948, were listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, despite Japan's protest.

The Memory of the World Register, created in 1992, preserves precious and threatened material against neglect, ravages of time, and willful and deliberate destruction.

The documents submitted to UNESCO show Japanese troops bombing Nanjing and killing unarmed Chinese. Some pictures show raped women in extreme pain and bodies scattered on the streets.

"The documents are China's most agonizing part of history. It reminds the whole mankind of the cruelty of war and importance of peace," said Zhang Sheng, director of the history institute of Nanjing University.

Right-wing Japanese nationalists have in various ways denied the massacre, either by refusing to recognize the numbers of victims, discrediting survivors, and even claiming that the carnage never happened.

China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Friday, "Japan has taken some moves to obstruct China's application," which revealed its reluctance to face the history squarely.

Historians rank Nanjing as equal with Auschwitz, which is also listed.

Xia Shuqin, 86, a survivor of the massacre, said, "All my life, I wanted the Japanese to stop denying. Now my whole family, who died at the hands of the Japanese, can finally close their eyes and rest in peace in the other world."

Xia and other survivors have spent their lives defending the part of history they lived through seven decades ago.

Lu Qi, whose late mother Li Xiuying was another survivor, said the listing is "the best consolation."

In the winter of 1937, Li was pregnant when she was assaulted by three Japanese soldiers. She suffered more than 30 knife wounds before she was saved by an American doctor.

Li's rescue was filmed by American priest John Magee, chairman of the Nanjing committee of the international Red Cross organization. Her photos and film are part of the Memory of the World.

Li Xiuying died in 2004.

"The massacre pained my mother through her whole life, and she kept fighting to make sure history was not forgotten," said Lu, 61.


Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus