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Peace Bell Rings for Massacre Victims

A huge bell was formally installed at the Memorial Hall for Compatriots Killed in the Nanjing Massacre, on Friday afternoon, the day before the 66th anniversary of the massacre. Nanjing is the capital of East China's Jiangsu Province.

Named the "Peace bell," it was made possible by a donation of 500,000 yuan (US$60,000) from 14 overseas Chinese from Japan.

"We are Chinese living in Japan, and we have family members, relatives and many intimate friends both in China and Japan," said Lin Boyao, one of the donors. "The peoples of both countries should unite to prevent any kind of war, and that is one of the most important things that we want to tell the world through the bell."

More than 300 people came to the inauguration ceremony of the bell, including survivors of the massacre and family members of the victims who died in the massacre.

"I struck the bell three times," said Wang Jin, a middle school student. "The first was in mourning for the people who died in the massacre, the second, to remember past lessons and the third, to urge for the preservation of peace today."

Designed by the Nanjing Jinling Ancient Art Bronze Research Institute, the bell is three metres high, and is a symbol representing the 300,000 compatriots who were kill in the Nanjing Massacre. It weighs 6.6 tons, representing the 66th anniversary of the massacre.

People have been using different ways to remember the compatriots killed by Japanese invaders in the massacre.

Some university students are asking people to sign their names on a several-metre-long banner in the downtown area of the city.

Many citizens have carefully written down their names in remembrance of the painful past. A lot of people spontaneously gathered at the memorial hall, including both local citizens and visitors from places far away.

(China Daily December 13, 2003)

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