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Memorial hall adds to Nanjing victims list

By Cang Wei in Wuxi, Jiangsu (China Daily)


The Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders has collected 87 new names of victims, which have been engraved on its wailing wall that already held 10,418 names.

In 1995, when the hall was established, 3,000 names of victims were engraved on the wall to represent the 300,000 people who were killed in the massacre. More names were confirmed and engraved in 2007, 2011 and 2013.

Zhu Chengshan, curator of the memorial hall, said most of the names were collected by Nanjing research committees that were established soon after the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45). Some names also came from the testimony of survivors of the massacre, published historical materials and relatives of victims, he said.

"Every name on the wall represents a family that was destroyed by the Japanese army," Zhu said "They used to live peaceful lives. We engraved those names on the wall to tell people that 300,000 is not merely a cold number, but consists of families and lives.

"Collecting the names of the victims is an important task for researchers of the Nanjing massacre. But due to wars and the many years that have passed, it won't be easy for us."

In December 1937, Japanese invaders captured Nanjing and, over the next six weeks, massacred more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers.

From Monday to Dec 20, relatives of the victims can pay tribute to the deceased at the hall by chanting, presenting flowers and burning incense - traditional ceremonies of mourning that are normally prohibited in the hall.

Since the memorial hall started to record relatives of massacre victims in July, about 3,100 members of 270 families have registered from around the world.

According to the Nanjing city government, 21 activities will be held around Dec 13, National Memorial Day, including seminars, the release of survivors' oral testimonies and the publication of books about the massacre.

On Monday, a textbook about the massacre was distributed to students in Nanjing senior high schools. Versions designed for primary and junior high school students were distributed in August and November.

Wu Xiaomao, director of the Nanjing Educational Bureau, said the textbooks will help students value human life and pursue peace.

"Besides introducing historical material, various discussions are required by the textbooks," Wu said. "We hope that by participating in these discussions, the students will think more deeply about the history and the future of the Chinese people and all the people in the world."


(China Daily 12/04/2014 page4)