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Int'l rally to mark 70th Nanjing Massacre anniversary
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More than 600 foreign friends will attend the rally for the memorial of the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre on Thursday, a government source said.

Each year, sirens wail in the capital of the eastern Jiangsu Province to mark the anniversary of the slaughter of more than 300,000 Chinese in a six-week massacre that took place in December 1937 when Japanese troops occupied the then capital of China.

"The foreign friends will come from seven countries, mainly from Japan, America and Canada, to participate in a series of commemoration activities," said Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.

During the proceedings, a new 25,000-square-meter extension of the memorial hall will be inaugurated. It houses original remains, sculptures and historical records of the massacre.

"Over 7,000 exhibits in the memorial were contributed by overseas friends," Zhu said. "The extension has been realized with 4.5 million yuan (608,000 U.S. dollars) in overseas donations."

After work on the extension broke ground in 2005, 19 bodies were found at the construction site the following year in April. Archaeologists and medical experts confirmed the bodies to be massacre victims.

The discovery was the third time that remains had been found at the memorial. Construction workers found the first bodies in 1984 when building the original memorial. Fifteen years later, another 208 bodies were unearthed after workers tending the lawns found human remains.

The remains are being exhibited in the Nanjing Massacre Memorial that is scheduled to reopen on Thursday.

On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops began six weeks of destruction, pillage, rape and slaughter in Nanjing. Historical records show that more than 300,000 Chinese, including unarmed soldiers and innocent civilians, were murdered.

The scene is expected to be recreated in the movie "Purple Mountain", jointly produced by China, the United States and Britain. With a 50 million U.S. dollars production budget, the movie helmed by "Con Air" director Simon West, is reported to be the most expensive movie shot in Asia and the first Chinese movie to use a Hollywood production.

Construction of a 25-hectare outdoor movie set will be completed in Nanjing by the end of this year, according to Li Xiangmin, the film's Chinese producer.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2007)

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