Shrine visits to be depicted in Massacre memorial

Updated: 2006-12-13 08:58

NANJING -- The memorial hall for the Chinese victims massacred by Japanese invaders in Nanjing in 1937 is set to include exhibits depicting visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, where convicted Japanese war criminals are honored.

The exhibits will be displayed after the major expansion of the memorial hall is completed in December 2007, according to curator Zhu Chengshan on Tuesday, the eve of 69th anniversary of the massacre.

Japanese rightists' denial of the massacre and Japanese textbooks that distort history will also be shown in the hall, Zhu said.

"We hope the new exhibits will help visitors stay alert and ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again," he said.

Japanese aggressors occupied Nanjing, then capital of China, on December 13, 1937, and launched a six-week massacre. Historical records show that more than 300,000 Chinese people, including both disarmed soldiers and innocent civilians, were massacred.

With an investment of 478 million yuan (61 million U.S. dollars), a major expansion on the massacre hall began a year ago to include more exhibits.

It will be inaugurated on December 12, 2007 to mark the 70th anniversary of the tragedy.

The curator said that the project is proceeding smoothly and will be finished in January next year to leave time to install the exhibitions.

The total area of the revamped memorial will reach 7.32 hectares, an increase of 5.12 hectares, according to Zhu.

The memorial will also include latest documents related to the postwar court-martial trial of the Japanese war criminals, and testimony by survivors and overseas witnesses, Zhu said.

Special galleries will be set up to commemorate international figures such as John D. Rabe, a Siemens business representative in Nanjing from 1932 to 1938 who saved thousands of Chinese, and John Magee, a British missionary in Nanjing from 1912 to 1940 who recorded the massacre and rescued a huge number of Chinese people.

With more evidence, the memorial will increase its impact in the international society, said Zhu.

"The expanded hall will be a heart-rending reminder to every visitor to remember the 300,000 victims and cherish peace," said He Jingtang, chief designer of the expansion with Guangzhou-based South China University of Technology.

The expansion will give more space to display the tragedy and let more people learn about the cruelty of war, said Sun Zhaiwei, deputy director of the Nanjing Massacre Research Institute.

"We expand the hall not to show revenge, but to promote the love of peace in China and around the world," said Zhang Lianhong, a professor in Nanjing Normal University.

Sun Xuelan, a 70-year-old Nanjing resident, said she was comforted by the news that the memorial is expanding.

"This means people are not forgetting the victims or leaving history behind," said Sun, who was blinded in one eye when a Japanese soldier stuck a pair of tongs in her eye when she was only three years old.

Apart from the exhibition hall, the new memorial will have a square which can hold 30,000 people and a 30,000-square-meter park, curator Zhu said.

Prior to the expansion, the memorial had already received over eight million visitors since it was opened in 1985. An average of 50,000 Japanese people also visited the memorial every year.

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