The first ever overseas monument to commemorate the Nanjing Massacre has been unveiled near Toronto.
The 1937 mass executions carried out in China by the Imperial Japanese Army – still ring painful today – to Chinese descendants at home and across the world in Canada.
CGTN’s Dan Williams explains the moment to remember.
Hundreds of dignitaries attended the unveiling ceremony of the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument on the outskirts of Toronto.
Organizers hoped it would not only help remember the victims of the massacre 81 years ago… but also provide a chance to educate younger generations.
Today is the Unveiling Ceremony of the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument. It is the first monument in Canada to remember the Nanjing Massacre. Canada values inclusion and respects diversity. On this special day, we wish for peace and harmony in the world by releasing pigeons. pic.twitter.com/LqnDn2xikT
— Majid Jowhari (@MajidJowhari) December 9, 2018
“It will provide an opportunity for all young people in our schools to learn about the Nanjing massacre, known as the Asian holocaust,” Soo Wong, a former Member of Ontario Provincial Parliament said.
“But it is also to remember, to reflect and to honor the victims and the families because we have survivors in the province of Ontario.”
In 1937, in a campaign that began on December the 13th and lasted six weeks, up to three hundred thousand Nanjing residents – both soldiers and civilians — were brutally murdered by Japanese soldiers who also perpetrated widespread rape and looting.
This is the first monument to be built overseas that remembers the Nanjing massacre. And there are moves to have December the 13th recognized nationally as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.
A year ago, Ontario’s legislature successfully passed a motion to formally recognize the day in the province.
Efforts to pass similar legislation at a national level recently fell short.
Jenny Kwan is a Member of Parliament from Vancouver. She’s still hopeful to attain that recognition in the future.
“I want to ask the Government why they would vote against something like that when we are calling on almost all of us to come together in the name of humanity,” Kwan said.
“Canada has remembered atrocities as these, five other genocides, none commemorating a genocide in an Asian country. So why can’t we move forward, to acknowledge this kind of history and to say that we cannot let this happen again in our world.”
Just as in any case of genocide, organizers say this monument is meant as a reminder of a painful past – so such atrocities will not be repeated.
Inscribed are the words – ‘Remembering History, Praying for peace.’
Karen woods on the importance of remembering the Nanjing Massacre
Efforts to establish the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day in Canada is gaining support. Karen Woods is a Senior Associate at Solstice Public Affair Inc. She is also the co-founder of The Canadian Chinese Political Affairs Committee. She spoke with CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg about efforts to expand this beyond Toronto.