This Dec 13, 2020 photo shows the national memorial ceremony for the Nanjing Massacre victims at the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu province. (LI XIANG / AP)
NANJING – Thirteen descendants of Nanjing Massacre survivors were recognized by the Memorial Hall of the Victims of Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders and became China's first batch of "inheritors of historical memories regarding Nanjing Massacre" on Monday, said local authorities.
The descendants, including children and grandchildren of Nanjing Massacre survivors from 10 families, were granted the titles, marking the offsprings of the survivors beginning to pass on the baton of recorded historical truth, according to Zhou Feng, curator of the memorial hall.
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As the survivors get older, their descendants will become the main force in passing on relevant historical memories.
Wang Weixing, Vice President, Aid Association of Victims in Nanjing during the War of Aggression against China by Japanese Invaders
Since childhood, the descendants have learnt all about the detailed historical events of the Nanjing Massacre from the memories of previous generations. Many of them have long participated in relevant work such as volunteer docents of the memorial hall or accompanying the survivors to attend activities in Japan, Zhou said.
Chang Xiaomei, one of the descendants, wrote and published books about her father who, at the age of nine, witnessed six of his family members killed by Japanese troops.
So far, six Nanjing Massacre survivors have passed away in 2022 and their deaths have reduced China's total number of registered survivors to 55 with an average age of 92.
"As the survivors get older, their descendants will become the main force in passing on relevant historical memories," said Wang Weixing, vice president of the Aid Association of Victims in Nanjing during the War of Aggression against China by Japanese Invaders.
The Nanjing Massacre took place when Japanese troops captured the then Chinese capital on Dec 13, 1937. Over six weeks, they killed approximately 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers in one of the most barbaric episodes of World War II.
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The Chinese government has preserved survivors' testimonies, recorded in both written documents and video footage. These records of the massacre were listed by UNESCO on the Memory of the World Register in 2015.
In the future, more descendants of the survivors and the deceased are expected to join the cause to add to the records of the historical truth, Zhou added.