China is mourning the hundreds of thousands of lives lost during the Nanjing Massacre 80 years ago. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a somber memorial service for the victims in the country’s former capital.
CGTN’s Su Yuting reports.
People sang China’s national anthem and paid silent tribute for one minute- The Chinese national flag flew at half-mast.
A siren symbolizing grief blared across the Nanjing city and the people stood still for the minute of silence.
President Xi Jinping, who is also General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, joined other Chinese leaders, along with survivors, soldiers, veterans and school children for the National Memorial Day ceremony.
This is the second time President Xi has attended this event, his first being in 2014.
The guard of honor laid wreaths in front of the main memorial as solemn music played.
Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, delivered the keynote speech.
“Today, we gather here to hold the national memorial service for Nanjing Massacre victims, in commemoration of the deceased in the massacre and all lives that were lost during the Japanese aggression. It’s a declaration that the Chinese will never forget the past and that will cherish peace in the future. It is a solemn declaration that peaceful development is our wish and pledge,” Yu remarked.
A Declaration of Peace was read out and the Bell of Peace sounded. Dozens of doves were also released. This memorial hall stands on the site of the massacre at Jiangdong Gate.
The countless number of bones found there is called the “Mass grave of 10,000 corpses.”
Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on December 13th, 1937 and went on a killing spree that lasted over a month. More than 300,000 unarmed Chinese soldiers and civilians were murdered and over 20,000 women raped.
In February 2014, China’s top legislature designated Dec 13 as a national memorial day. This year’s ceremony marks the fourth memorial day and the 80th anniversary of Nanjing Massacre.
Survivors and descendants of international friends said it’s very significant to hold this event. “I am so moved. Because the CPC and our government as well as our general secretary Xi Jinping have officially recognized how my father died,” said Frederick Hugh Magee, descendant of John Magee.
Ceremonies also took place at other mass grave sites around Nanjing. The event is held not to continue the hate, but to raise people’s yearning for peace, and to build a peace and a better future.
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