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Xi attends National Memorial day for Nanjing Massacre
December 13, 2014, 5:42 am

The state ceremony for China's first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims is held at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, Dec. 13, 2014 [Xinhua]

The state ceremony for China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims is held at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in Nanjing, capital city of east China’s Jiangsu Province, Dec. 13, 2014 [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Satuday attended the first national memorial day for the Nanjing Massacre

“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, 1.3 billion Chinese people and all people loving peace and justice in the world,” Xi said in a reference to conservative Japanese politicians and nationalists who deny the massacre ever took place.

“We should not hate a people just because a small minority of militarists set off an invasion and war… but nobody at any time should forget the severe crimes of the invaders,” Xi added.

The Chinese President also urged that the Chinese and Japanese people “should pass on friendship from generation to generation”.

Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in the 1937 Nanjing massacre. Japan has also recently announced a reinterpretation of its pacifist constitution, by ending a ban that has kept the Japanese military from fighting abroad.

Saturday’s ceremony, presided over by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), was held at the memorial hall for the massacre victims in the east China city of Nanjing.

People in the city and those attending the ceremony stood in a moment of silence after a long air siren and the playing of the national anthem.

Sixteen honor guards laid eight wreathes in memory of the victims while the national flag was flying at half-staff to mourn the victims.

Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec. 13 of 1937 and slaughtered tens of thousands of Chinese civilians and soldiers for 40-odd days. Chinese officials maintain more than 300,000 Chinese soldiers, who had laid down their arms, and civilians were murdered and about 20,000 women were raped.

An Allied tribunal put the death toll at 142,000.

China’s State Council in September released a list of 80 state facilities and sites commemorating the war with Japan.

The conflict, commonly known in China as the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, led to the death of some 20 million Chinese, according to Beijing’s estimates. It ended with Tokyo’s World War II defeat in 1945.

In the run up to the memorial day, Chinese authorities published archival accounts of the violence in state-run media.

A row over islands in the East China Sea, known in China as Diaoyu and in Japan as Senkaku has left ties between the two nation severely strained. China has blamed Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe’s “hard-line behaviour” on territorial disputes for the chill. Abe’s visit last December to the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo that memorialises Japan’s war dead, along with convicted World War II criminals angered both China and South Korea.

Trade ties have seen a downward spiral, affected by the strain in political relations.

Japan’s direct investment in China fell nearly a fifth in 2013, and dropped another 40 per cent to 300.8 billion yen (1.69 billion pounds) during the first half of 2014 from a year earlier, says a Reuters report.

In what was a first in two and a half years, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Beijing on the sidelines of the APEC Summit last month.

Beijing and Tokyo have seen brief periods of deterioration in bilateral ties before and usually found a way to settle if not resolve differences.


 TBP and Agencies

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