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On Dec. 13, 2012, the Nanjing Massacre Museum held a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the city’s nightmare that unfolded after the former capital of the Republic of China fell on that day to Imperial Japanese troops who were allowed to run amok for weeks. Official estimates of the number of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers killed generally vary between 200,000 and 300,000.

Among some 9,000 who gathered for the ceremony, most were school students, but there were also a few survivors participating in this ritualistic remembering of Japanese war crimes. And thus a new generation of Chinese was baptized in contemporary battles over war memory that seep into and shape overall bilateral relations.

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