Chinese worldwide share Nanjing’s painful memory

By Wang Han in Nanjing and Yang Sheng in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/12 23:08:40

Students from Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province take part in a memorial event that commemorates the Nanjing Massacre on Tuesday. Photo: VCG

China will hold an annual memorial for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre on Wednesday as the tragedy is becoming a shared memory for Chinese around the world.

On Wednesday, leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the central government will attend the ceremony in Nanjing at a square in front of the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

On December 13, 1937, Nanjing fell to Japanese invaders who went on a more than month-long slaughter of civilians. About 300,000 Chinese were killed, and 20,000 women raped. In February 2014, China's top legislature designated December 13 as a national memorial day for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

Due to preparations for the annual memorial, the memorial hall has been closed to the public from November 20 to December 13, but many locals and tourists still came to the memorial hall, most of them young people.

Li Gaozhuo, 17, a university student in Nanjing who came to the memorial hall on Tuesday, said that "the memorial day provided a chance for the youth like me to learn the history of that dark period. Now, China is a great power, and not too many teenagers know about the details when our country was invaded."

Liu Wei, 56, a photographer from Henan Province, told the Global Times that "I came here every day, and 80-90 percent people who came here are teenagers. The people my age have experienced the time when China was a weak country, and it is time for the youth to learn about the past they have never experienced," Liu said.

Louis Lee, 42, a Singaporean who works in Shanghai, brought his wife and son to the memorial hall on Tuesday. He told the Global Times that "this is my first time to come to this place, and the main purpose is to help my son learn this history."

"I also came here because Singapore is also a victim of the Japanese invasion in World War II, and as a Singaporean Chinese, we have a shared memory," Lee said.

ALPHA Education [Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War II in Asia] is also holding a series of events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre in Toronto, Canada.

ALPHA is an educational non-profit NGO and registered charity in Canada that promotes the critical-historical investigation of the events of World War II in Asia.

Dr. Joseph Wong, 69, chair and founder of the NGO who was born in Hong Kong, told the Global Times that the Holocaust encouraged him to establish the NGO, because the Holocaust is a shared memory for many people in the West, but outside Asia, not too many people know about Japanese war crimes.

Preserving the memory

"When we talk about Japan during World War II, many Westerners only know about the attack on Pearl Harbor and two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but what the Japanese Empire had done to Asian people has been forgotten," and the Nanjing Massacre is a forgotten massacre compared to the Holocaust, Wong said.

I also established the NGO because many Japanese politicians and right-wingers are trying to deny the pains that the Japanese Empire inflicted on Asian people, Wong stressed. 

"Those Japanese politicians and right-wingers are lying and increasing the pain on the victims," said Guo Yiwei, a 25-year-old soldier who served in the People's Liberation Army, who came to the memorial hall on Tuesday.

"For us Chinese, this humiliated history should never be forgotten. This memory encourages us to make our country stronger to prevent the tragedy from happening again," Guo said.

Wu Yun contributed to this story

Newspaper headline: Massacre commemorated

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