Thousands of people gathered in Nanjing on Saturday to mourn the 300,000 lives slaughtered by the Japanese troops 71 years ago, and pray for a peaceful world.
More than 5,000 mourners, including students, massacre survivors, local officials and people from Japan observed a moment of silence at a square in front of the memorial hall for the victims.
A peace declaration that calls on "building a peaceful and harmonious world" was read out at the gathering.
Delegates of students attend a rally to mourn the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, murdered by invading Japanese soldiers 71 years ago, and to wish for eternal peace in the world, at the square in front of the memorial hall for the Chinese victims massacred by Japanese soldiers in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, on Saturday, December 13, 2008. [Xinhua]
"I miss my mother who was killed by the Japanese 71 years ago, especially at this moment every year," said She Ziqing, a 76-year-old massacre survivor. "I wish my mother and all the victims peace and rest. The history cannot be forgotten."
Dozens of monks and Buddhist disciples from China and Japan also rallied and held a religious ceremony to lament the massacre victims.
"We commemorate the day to ponder upon the past, to disclose the atrocities of Japanese aggressors, to cherish peace, and to strengthen our will of peaceful development," said Bao Guoxin, vice chairman of Jiangsu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
The Japanese troops occupied Nanjing, then capital of China, on Dec. 13, 1937, and launched a six-week massacre. More than 300,000 Chinese people, including disarmed soldiers and civilians were slaughtered.