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By Song Wenwei (China Daily)|
Updated: 2007-12-14 08:06
NANJING: Sirens wailed and a giant bell tolled Thursday as residents of the capital of Jiangsu Province, along with people in other parts of the nation, marked the 70th anniversary of one of the darkest days in China's history: The Nanjing Massacre.
On December 13, 1937, Japanese troops marched into the then national capital and started a six-week orgy of killing, raping, burning and pillaging, during which at least 300,000 Chinese were slaughtered and 20,000 raped.
"History must be remembered, not for hatred but for peace," said 79-year-old Chang Zhiqiang, a survivor who lost his parents and three younger brothers in the massacre.
He joined some 8,000 people, including 100 survivors, at the commemorative event in front of the memorial hall for the Chinese victims.
She Ziqing, 75, laid a wreath for his mother, who was killed by Japanese soldiers. "Seventy years on, the pain is still there," he said in tears.
Chen Fubao, 75, clutched a black-and-white photo of his father, who was killed in the slaughter.
"We hope that the Japanese government, especially those in the nationalist factions, learn from the Germans and admit the truth," he said. "They should not cover up their crimes any more."
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang - in a rare move - invited the press corps to observe a moment of silence with him for the massacre victims before he took any questions.
He reiterated China's long-held principle of "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future".
"We commemorate the day to ponder upon the past, which can provide guidance in days to come, to take history as a mirror and look forward to the future, and to cherish peace," he said.
In a similar tone, mourners in Nanjing made a declaration that calls on "all peace-loving people to unite in building a peaceful, harmonious and reconciliatory new world".
Xu Zhonglin, chairman of the Jiangsu provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said a few right wingers in Japan have ignored historical facts and attempted to deny the massacre.
"Their action has severely damaged the healthy and stable development of the China-Japan relationship," Xu said.
Meanwhile, the enlarged Nanjing Massacre memorial reopened Thursday after an 18-month renovation. Built on 7.4 hectares, it is about three times larger than the earlier one, and has a 9,000 sq m exhibition area.
The exhibits on display include 3,500 photographs, audio-video materials and documentaries, according to curator Zhu Chengshan. The new exhibits include archives of 10,000 massacre victims.
In Beijing, thousands of people from all walks of life flocked to the Memorial Hall of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression Thursday to mourn the victims.
In Xiamen, Fujian Province, more than 100 Chinese musicians will stage a symphony concert, "History and Future", tonight to mourn the victims and appeal for peace across the world.
Xinhua, agencies contributed to the story