China / Society

Museum reminds people of Bombing of Chongqing

By Luo Wangshu and Ji Jin in Chongqing ( Updated: 2014-01-21 22:07

A museum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Bombing of Chongqing conducted by the Japanese air force should be established to accurately record the atrocity and boost the chances of peace, a political adviser said.

"The Bombing of Chongqing was a savage act, as vicious as other world-famous historical outrages, such as the London Blitz and the Nanjing Massacre," said Li Guo, a member of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, who proposed building the museum as soon as possible.

"However, this important piece of history is hardly known among younger generations. It is crucial to establish a museum to remind people to never forget."

The Bombing of Chongqing was part of a terror operation conducted by the Japanese air force from 1938 to 1944. The targets were civilians, mainly in residential areas, schools and hospitals. The six-year bombing campaign killed 30,000 people.

"Thousands of civilians died during the bombings. About 80 percent of the city was laid to waste. It was one of the darkest pages in human history," Li said in his proposal.

While records and first-hand accounts of the bombing exist, they are not displayed under one roof in a manner that would make the atrocity easier to understand.

"Because Chongqing was the war-time capital, the bombing was not only a regional memory, but also a collective memory of the Chinese nation and World War II," said Liu Chunming, deputy curator of the China Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing.

"It is necessary to build a memorial to commemorate those who died during the Bombing of Chongqing, a place where people can go and remember, especially as a key anniversary approaches," he said.

Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II.

Chongqing, along with Moscow, Washington, and London, was one of the four major Allied war capitals.

Chongqing's authorities have done much work to preserve memories, records and artifacts linked to the war.

The China Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing has a specialized team dedicated to the war-time history of Chongqing.

The city also established the Chongqing Research Center for the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression in the Unoccupied Area in 2011, which collates and protects historical materials relating to the period when parts of China were occupied.

"The only way to achieve permanent peace is to eradicate any blind spots in history," said Zhou Yong, director of the research center.

"One of the important reasons for China to preserve wartime sites and history is to clear up the issues of history with Japan."

However, the cost has been a key obstacle.

Li suggested raising money through public donations and private funds.

"Very few of the younger generation know much about the bombing and war-time history in Chongqing," Li said, adding that people who experienced the bombings are dying off.

"My mother always told me and my daughter how she escaped from the bombing in Chongqing during the war, hiding under the entrenchments. She was a schoolgirl then," said Luo Ren, a 60-year-old Chongqing resident. Her mother died last year at the age of 86.

"It is never possible for her to tell that story again," Luo said.

Tan Yingzi contributed to this story.

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