Nanjing delays 'Japanese Culture Week'

Updated: 2012-03-02 16:04


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NANJING - China's eastern city of Nanjing on Friday said it will delay its "Japanese Culture Week" scheduled for March as a form of protest over a Japanese mayor's denial of the World War II-era Nanking Massacre.

The People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries of Nanjing said in a statement that it has notified the Japanese side about the delay.

Japanese Culture Week is an annual event coorganized by the association and the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai, featuring cultural exchange activities conducted by the young people of both nations.

Nagoya's mayor Kawamura Takashi said on February 20 that the Nanking Massacre "probably never happened" while meeting with a delegation from Nanjing.

Nanjing witnessed mass murder, genocide and rape following the Japanese invasion of the city in 1937.

The denial prompted a fierce backlash from the Chinese public, with many calling for an immediate apology from Nagoya's mayor and a travel boycott directed at the city .

Nanjing has suspended official exchanges with Nagoya in protest against the denial. The two established sister-city ties in 1978.

The Nanking Massacre, along with other knotty historical issues, has often strained relations between China and Japan. Japanese prime ministers' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have often spilled over into diplomatic squabbles, as the shrine commemorates several Japanese who were later found to be war criminals for their part in the Nanking Massacre.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last month that the Nanking Massacre is a "proven atrocity recognized by the international community."

The Nanking Massacre occurred in December 1937, when Japanese troops occupied the then-capital of China. More than 300,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese soldiers during the occupation.