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Nanjing memorial unites communities

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-12-12 12:18

A memorial service to remember the victims of the Nanjing Massacre committed by the Japanese military during World War II brought together hundreds of activists and members from the Chinese and Korean communities on Sunday in San Francisco.

The memorial, organized by the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition, the Chinese American Association of Commerce, and the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (GA), has been held annually the past 19 years with the aim of exposing the Japanese Army's war crimes and encouraging people to understand and remember the history.

"Nanjing Massacre is one of the worst atrocities committed during World War II, inflicting unbearable sufferings on Chinese people," said Luo Linquan, Chinese consul general in San Francisco. "The efforts of the Japanese right wing to whitewash the invasion and even deny the Nanjing massacre will never prevail."

"Until the Japanese government gives a meaningful apology, full reparations for the suffering and hardships caused by generations of people, I'll be with you in this fight," Eric Mar, a San Francisco supervisor, told the event participants.

He is pushing the approval of a memorial dedicated to "comfort women" in downtown San Francisco, which is expected to be completed next year.

Seventy-nine years ago, Japanese troops captured Nanjing, which was China's capital then, on Dec 13, 1937, commencing a slaughter that lasted more than 40 days. More than 300,000 people were murdered, and about 20,000 women were raped.

From the time that Japan invaded northeast China in September 1931, followed by a full-scale invasion that started on July 7, 1937, around 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or injured during the Japanese occupation, which continued until 1945.

In February 2014, China's top legislature designated Dec 13 as National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims.

Last year, the historical documents of the Nanjing Massacre were listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, a compendium aimed at preserving documented heritage of universal value.

This past June, the applications to register "comfort women" files to the same program were submitted by an international joint committee representing 14 civic groups from eight nations, including China, South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands.

In August, an appellate court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against the city of Glendale calling for the removal of a memorial statue dedicated to "comfort women" during World War II.

The 1,100-pound bronze statue was erected in the community's Central Park in 2013.

Lillian Sing, a retired judge and co-chair of the Comfort Women Justice Coalition said that though Glendale is a small city, the ruling is significant, as it shows that those who object to the "comfort women" memorial in San Francisco won't prevail

Canada's Ontario is considering Dec 13 as the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.

"It will provide an opportunity for all Ontarians, especially the Asian community, to gather, remember and honor the victims and families affected by the Nanjing Massacre, an atrocity where over 200,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers alike were indiscriminately killed in the Japanese capture of the city," says the bill.

Congjiang Wang in San Francisco contributed to the story.

Nanjing memorial unites communities


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