Event mourns victims of Nanjing Massacre

By Cang Wei in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-14 09:39
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People attend a national memorial ceremony for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre on Wednesday during the 86th anniversary of the atrocity in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Solemn ceremony remembers past atrocity with hope of peaceful future

Nanjing, Jiangsu province, was the focal point of a national ceremony commemorating the 300,000 victims of the Nanjing Massacre on Wednesday, the 86th anniversary of the start of the murderous rampage by invading Japanese troops in 1937.

At 8 am, the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders conducted a flag-raising and half-mast ceremony in honor of the victims. At 10:01 am, sirens were heard above the city. Vehicles halted and people on the streets observed a moment of silence.

In the square of the memorial hall, representative citizens struck the Bell of Peace, and white doves were released into the sky. About 8,000 people from many walks of life, dressed in somber, dark attire, looked on.

Japanese troops captured Nanjing on Dec 13, 1937, and proceeded to kill more than 300,000 civilians and unarmed soldiers over a six-week period.

Li Hongzhong, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said at the memorial ceremony that people gathered to deeply mourn the innocent victims of the Nanjing Massacre, the compatriots who were brutally killed by Japanese aggressors, the revolutionary martyrs and national heroes who sacrificed their lives for the victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), and the international soldiers and friends who sacrificed their lives fighting alongside the Chinese people.

We express the Chinese people's unwavering desire for peaceful development, declare that the Chinese people will always remember history and not forget the past, cherish peace and create a better future, said Li.

Lu Hanlei, a student from Zhonghua Middle School, led more than 80 students in reading a declaration of peace during the ceremony. He said he believed that today's rites were not for remembering past hatred but for cherishing peace.

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