NANJING, CHINA – Some 9,000 people, including around 100 Japanese, attended a ceremony Thursday to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Nanjing Massacre.
The ceremony, held at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in the former Chinese capital, followed on the heels of anti-Japan protests in September over the Senkaku territorial dispute.
Nanjing suspended all public exchanges with sister city Nagoya following Mayor Takashi Kawamura’s controversial remarks on the Nanjing Massacre, one of the rawest Chinese wounds from its 1937-1945 war with Japan.
Kawamura told a visiting official from Nanjing in February what occurred over the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city in 1937 was “conventional acts of combat.”
Zhu Chengshan, curator of the hall, said at a news conference prior to the ceremony that the territorial dispute and the Nanjing Massacre are both “issues of history.”
“The facts of history must be viewed correctly,” Zhu said.
While anti-Japan sentiment runs higher in Nanjing than in other regions due to the background of the massacre, the city, which stresses its economic exchanges with Japan, is on alert for anti-Japan activities. When anti-Japan protests erupted across the country in 2005, Nanjing sought to contain such demonstrations.
However, in September the city allowed a large demonstration.