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Remember History, Pray for World Peace
A grand and moving commemorative ceremony was held Friday in the capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province to mourn the victims of the Nanjing Massacre and pray for world peace in the new century.

During the massacre which took place 65 years ago, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were slaughtered by Japanese invaders over the space of a few days.

At 10 o'clock, a warning siren sounded across the city marked the start of the ceremony.

"That we commemorate the victims is not to vent our hatred against the Japanese people, but to respect history and express our sincere wish for peace,'' said Luo Zhijun, mayor of Nanjing, in his speech at the ceremony.

He urged people, especially the younger generation, to learn from the past and use its lessons to look forward and work hard to build a stronger nation.

"Though the Chinese people suffered enormously during the Japanese invasion in the 1930s and 40s, we cherish peace very much,'' he emphasized .

Over 3,000 people took part in the remembrance ceremony, including representatives from Japan, the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"We have done a lot to let more American people know about the Nanjing Massacre and our efforts have paid off,'' said Sherwin Liou, president of the St Louis Alliance for Preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese War, who spent years collecting evidence of the Massacre and made a documentary called "The Rape of Nanjing,'' which has been shown on TV in the United States.

Thousands of local residents joined the commemoration and visited the photographic exhibition of the Massacre newly opened to the public.

"I have come here to see with my own eyes and hear the survivors tell the truth of the Japanese atrocities,'' said Ni Jian, an engineer from a local research institute, who talked with Li Xiuying, a witness and survivor of the Massacre.

At the ceremony, a representative from Nanjing Youth League Committee read out the Nanjing Peace Declaration, which called on the younger generation to remember history and work for peace and development.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan.

"We value very much the sound development of relations between the two countries and have forged productive economic ties with Japanese entrepreneurs,'' said Luo.

Since China's opening up and reform, many Japanese enterprises and companies have invested in Nanjing, which has helped the rapid development of local economy.

Among the participants at the ceremony were some foreign tourists.

"We have heard of the Nanjing Massacre and happened to be here on our holiday, so we came to visit the memorial hall,'' said three young women from Singapore.

Also Friday in Beijing, 300 Beijingers gathered at a museum to honor the 300,000-plus victims.

Chen Qigang, curator of the Beijing-based Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Invasion, briefed those present on the massacre and introduced them to an exhibition displaying the Japanese troops' atrocities during the war and a US-made documentary on the massacre.

And Bai Jiefu, an 80-year-old Chinese veteran of the war of resistance, told the audience about his wartime experiences.

Japan's long-standing denial and failure to unequivocally apologize for the atrocities its army committed across East Asia, has remained an open wound to those affected.

"Japanese right-wing forces have said to admit the invasion of China is an abuse to the Japanese people themselves -- this is definitely absurd,'' Bai said. "They are trying to deny and distort the historical facts.''

(China Daily December 14, 2002)

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