Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, December 14, 2002
Peace Assembly to Commemorate Nanjing Massacre
More than 3,000 people Friday gathered in the capital of east China's Jiangsu province to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre in which over 300,000 Chinese civilians were slaughtered by invading Japanese troops.
Nanjing Marks 65th Anniversary of Japanese Massacre
On December 13, 1937, Nanjing, then capital of China, became a "hell on earth" as the invading Japanese army captured the city and indulged in a spree of killing, raping and looting.
In the following six weeks, more than 300,000 Nanjing civilians and disarmed Chinese soldiers were slain and over 20,000 cases of rape were recorded in the infamous Nanjing Massacre, also known as "the rape of Nanking".
Exactly 65 years later, more than 3,000 people Friday gathered in the capital of east China's Jiangsu province to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre in which over 300,000 Chinese civilians were slaughtered by invading Japanese troops.
At 10 a.m., a siren was heard across the city in tribute.
People attending the international peace assembly at the Nanjing Memorial in honor of the massacre victims laid wreaths. Among them were massacre survivors, Chinese war veterans and peace advocates from Japan, the United States and Canada.
Luo Zhijun, Mayor of Nanjing, addressed the assembly, saying the Chinese treasured their hard-earned peace.
"We look back on history and mourn those victims as a warning to the public and younger generations in particular not to forget the devastation of history," he said.
Luo said China's development needed a peaceful international environment and promised Nanjing residents would continue to promote the world peace and development.
Xu Hong, a representative of Nanjing City and president of Nanjing Youth Federation, read the Nanjing Peace Declaration specially written for the occasion.
"On this day 65 years ago, invading Japanese executed a cruel massacre in Nanjing. In less than a month, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians were killed, one third of the houses and buildings in this city were destroyed and more than 20,000 cases of rape were committed," he read.
"The Japanese brutality was rare in history of civilization and left unbearable pain in Nanjing."
Matsuoka Tamaki, a Japanese peace advocate, and her followers joined the local chorus singing both Chinese and Japanese songs promoting peace.
A book complied by Matasuoka, titled "The Battle of Nanjing -- a Search of Sealed Memories", was published Thursday. She interviewed some 250 veterans across Japan and the former soldiers, in their 80s and 90s, confessed to committing atrocities in Nanjing, including murder, rape and robbery.
Four other districts in Nanjing also held activities to mark the event.
In the evening, more than 1,000 people holding candles paraded from the memorial to a newly built Peace Plaza where 65 pianists played world famous songs advocating peace.
A bronze road of footprints and handwritten names and ages of 222 Chinese witnesses to the 1937 tragedy was added to the Nanjing Memorial on Thursday.
In Beijing, citizens gathered at the Beijing-based Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japan to mark the event. An exhibition was opened Friday to show the Japanese atrocities during the war and a US-made documentary on the massacre.