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Massacre Victims Protest Japanese PM's Shrine Visit
A group of survivors of the Nanjing Massacre, relatives of victims of the massacre and experts gathered Monday to protest against the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.

The gathering was held at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing City, capital of Jiangsu Province in east China.

The Japanese prime minister's second visit to the shrine has been strongly criticized by the Asian people including the Japanese people, said Wang Weixing, deputy director of the Historical Institute of the provincial academy of social sciences.

Whenever top Japanese politicians make a visit to the shrine and for whatever reason it is seen as commemorating war criminals and as support for Japan's war of aggression, Wang said. It is a betrayal of the cause of peace and justice as well as of the international morals and ethic code, he stressed.

Li Xiuying, an 84-year old victim of the massacre, pointing to the scars on her face, said, "These are the scars from 37 slashes made by Japanese soldiers and we will never forget the bloody history of the war."

Li is critical of the Japanese prime minister who has twice visited the shrine where some Japanese war criminals are honored, and of the right wing Japanese who have used every means to deny the facts of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre during which Japanese troops killed 300,000 Chinese people.

In his speech, Zhu Chengshan, director of the memorial hall, also lodged his strong protest against the shrine visit by the Japanese leader.

According to Zhu, many Japanese friends including leaders of some non-government groups have sent messages to the memorial hall to show their surprise and regret after Junichiro Koizumi's shrine visit.

At the protest gathering, the members of the Nanjing Massacre Historical Society and the memorial hall staff issued a joint written protest against the Japanese prime minister's shrine visit.

Japanese PM Visits Yasukuni Shrine

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a surprise visit to Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo on Sunday (April 21) morning, causing strong protests from neighboring countries.

Koizumi entered the Shinto Shrine at around 9:39 a.m. (local time), which honors 14 Class-A war criminals along with the 2.47 million Japanese war dead since the mid-19th century.

Koizumi later told reporters that he will not visit the shrine again this August. He also didn't attend Yasukuni Shrine's three-day spring peace festival, which began Sunday afternoon.

The Japanese prime minister last visit the shrine on August 13 last year, two days before the 56th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, drawing strong protests and condemnation from neighboring countries.

(People's Daily April 23, 2002)

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