By Wang Han in Nanjing and Yang Sheng in Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday attended the state memorial ceremony in Nanjing to mark the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre as Chinese youth said they will turn the sorrow on this humiliating memory into energy to build a stronger China.
Other senior officials were also present at the memorial ceremony, which was held at the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in the capital of East China’s Jiangsu Province.
The memorial ceremony started at 10am Wednesday. Xi and other senior officials joined representatives from all walks of life at the ceremony and held a minute of silence in tribute to the victims of the massacre as sirens howled over the city.
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, delivered a speech at the ceremony.
Yu said Chinese and Japanese people should cherish the hard-won peace, and the international community needs to honestly face up to history.
“War is a mirror, which makes people better understand peace,” Yu said. “To avoid any repeat of this historical tragedy, we must make unremitting efforts for the lasting and even eternal peace of mankind.”
Following the memorial ceremony, senior officials met representatives of the massacre saviors and the descendants of the foreigners who witnessed and recorded Japanese invaders’ war crimes and protected Chinese civilians from the massacre, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on December 13, 1937 and embarked on more than 40 days of slaughter. About 300,000 civilians and unarmed Chinese soldiers were brutally murdered, and more than 20,000 women raped.
In 2014, China designated December 13 as the “National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims.”
Attitude to the history
Yu also urged China and Japan to take into consideration the fundamental interests of their people and make contributions to human peace.
Despite the irrefutable evidence on display at the Nanjing memorial hall, some Japanese politicians and right-wingers remain in denial of the facts. The war crimes committed by the Japanese Empire in China, South Korea and other countries during the World War II are often glossed over in Japanese textbooks.
Many people, many of them young, went to the memorial hall on Wednesday to commemorate the tragedy on its 80th anniversary to express their feelings of how the long-ago event is still impacting today’s generation.
“The peace and prosperity that China enjoys today is based on the sacrifices that were made in the past, so we will never forget our past no matter how terrible it was. We cannot change Japanese politicians’ minds, but we can make our country better and stronger. When we overwhelmingly surpass Japan, they will learn to respect history,” said Wang Yan, 21, a university student who came to the memorial hall on Wednesday.
Yang Ping, 21, another university student who came to the memorial hall, told the Global Times that “condemning those unrepentant Japanese right-wingers is to some extent useless. As long as we remember the history and turn our sorrow into energy to build a greater China, this memory will be meaningful and valuable.”
The fight against Japanese historical revisionism is necessary, because the Japanese government is challenging the result of the anti-Fascist war, which they lost, said Lü Yaodong, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“The UN is an achievement resulting from the anti-Fascist war, but Japan dares to challenge UNESCO to deny the war crimes committed against ‘comfort women,'” said Lü. “So we must treat Japan’s revisionism seriously.”
More than 440 overseas Chinese groups had reportedly planned to hold memorial ceremonies for Nanjing Massacre victims Wednesday. More than 10,000 overseas Chinese in the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Argentina were expected to attend these ceremonies, Xinhua reported.
In Japan, some 200 people attended a testimonial in Shizuoka city on Tuesday, where Lu Ling, whose mother survived being enslaved by Japanese troop even after being stabbed 37 times, shared her mother’s story.
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