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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Nanjing Massacre denial stirs public anger

(Xinhua)

08:34, February 22, 2012

NANJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- A Japanese politician's blunt denial of a massacre that claimed the lives of 300,000 people has sparked the ire of the Chinese public.

Mayor of Nagoya Kawamura Takashi said the Nanking Massacre "probably never happened" on Monday while meeting with a delegation from Nanjing, a city that witnessed mass murder, genocide and rape following the Japanese invasion of the city in 1937.

Kawamura's allegation spawned public anger on Tuesday after his remarks were posted on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site.

Qiu Yi, a Taiwanese political commentator, described the denial as "nonsense" on his own Sina Weibo account, while Wu Yicong, a Chinese actor with Japanese nationality, also reprimanded Kawamura and called on Nanjing to immediately sever its sister-city ties with Nagoya.

"Our officials are often inadequate at diplomacy. The officials are so stuck to norms that they have forgotten their feelings," said Zhang Quanlin, an anchorwoman with China Central Television, the country's largest TV network.

The Nanjing municipal government lodged its own criticism of Kawamura earlier Thursday, announcing later in the day via its own official Sina Weibo account that it will suspend inter-government contacts with Nagoya.

"The historical facts of the Nanking Massacre have been solidly proven. The claim by Kawamura is extremely irresponsible. We hope the mayor can admit the historical facts and draw lessons from the past," said a statement issued by Nanjing's information office.

Kawamura's denial of the Nanking Massacre ruffled survivors of the war as well. "I cannot understand why some people like to distort the truth. I forgive the invasion, but it does not mean history should be denied," said Xiao Shuqin, an 84-year-old woman who witnessed Japanese invaders slaughter seven members of her family.

To mourn the victims of the Rape of Nanjing, Nanjing opened a memorial hall for the massacre victims in 1985, housing stacks of files documenting war crimes committed by Japanese troops during a six-week period starting from Dec. 13, 1937.

"It is utterly shocking to hear a descendant of the Japanese invaders deny the atrocities of the Nanking Massacre," said Zhu Chengshan, president of the memorial hall.

Zhu added that both the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal convicted a group of war criminals after recognizing the Nanking Massacre.

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 found to be war criminals for their part in the Nanking Massacre.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also vied with Kawamura's claim on Monday, saying the Nanking Massacre is a proven atrocity recognized by the international community.

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