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Memorial Hall Bears Witness to Japanese Aggression

Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Nanjing Memorial Hall of Compatriots Murdered in the Nanjing Massacre, denounced Tuesday Japanese actions to modify history textbooks in an attempt to launder the country's militaristic past.

"The modified history textbooks advocate and justify aggression and deny the Nanjing Massacre. It is dreadful that Japan defiles their descendants with the distorted view that it was a victim in World War II," Zhu said.

Zhu made the remarks on China's Pure Brightness Festival, an occasion to honor dead family members, which falls on Tuesday this year.

A queue of 10,000 mourners snaked around the Nanjing Memorial Hall in east China's Jiangsu Province to commemorate victims killed by Japanese invaders in the Nanjing Massacre.

The mourners comprised of local residents, people from other parts of China and foreigners, including some from Japan, the Republic of Korea and some other Asian countries. In silent reverence, mourners prayed for the dead, reminisced about history and appealed for peace.

More than 300,000 Chinese civilians and captivated Chinese soldiers were slain in the Nanjing Massacre, which occurred after the intruding Japanese troops occupied Nanjing, then the capital of China, on Dec. 13, 1937. About 20,000 women were raped and one third of the houses in the city were burned down in the six-week atrocity, which is considered one of the three bloodiest massacres of World War II.

The Nanjing municipal government built a memorial hall at the Jiangdong Gate, where 300,000 civilians and army troops were killed during the infamous massacre, in 1985 in memory of the victims.

She Ziqing, a descendant of one victim, came to the Nanjing Memorial Hall early this morning to pay respect to his mother who died in the massacre.

Tears flowed freely when the 76-year-old man stood in front of the wall, nicknamed "Cry Wall", engraved with the names of victims.

He said, "When Japanese soldiers invaded Nanjing from the Zhonghua (China) Gate on Dec. 13, 1937, they killed anyone they saw. Seeing a crowd of scared people fleeing to the riverside of Yangtze, Japanese soldiers strafed them with machine guns. The blood of the victims turned the clear river red."

"My father was fortunately away from home during the massacre, and the children in our family ran to the US Embassy. But my poor mother was killed by Japanese troops. In those days, many streets were piled high with corpses. It was too horrifying to look at," he added.

Xia Shuqin, another mourner, said, "Japanese soldiers killed seven members in my family within 20 minutes. Only my younger sister and I narrowly escaped. But, my back and an arm were stabbed by a bayonet and the scars are still left on my skin."

Many other mourners can also clearly remember the tragedy. Wang Xiuying said Japanese invaders filled a river course with corpses and rolled over the corpses with trucks. Jiang Genfu said his elder sister was cut into two pieces from head to toe with a bayonet after she refused to be raped.

Li Xiuying, a female victim who made her name known throughout China for having the courage to sue a right-wing Japanese writer for defamation, was pregnant at the time of Nanjing Massacre and suffered 37 stabs from Japanese soldiers. Thanks to timely medical treatment by an American doctor named Robert Wilson, Li survived, but lost her baby.

Some mourners came from Japan. Matsuoka Tamaki, a primary school teacher in Osaka, comes to the Nanjing Memorial Hall of Compatriots Murdered in the Nanjing Massacre every year and invites Chinese victims and historians to symposiums held in Japanonce a year.

In her current visit to China, she presented the memorial hall with evidence of Japanese aggression, including diaries of invading soldiers, military maps and letters, collected from Japanese soldiers involved in the killing. She also interviewed some victims in Nanjing together with a Japanese photographer.

She said that Japan brought untold disasters to the people of many Asian countries. However, the Japanese government concealed its aggression in wartime in domestic textbooks.

Another Japanese mourner, named Shiranishi Shinichiro, expresses respect for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre by planting trees in Nanjing every year.

(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2005)

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