Nanking Massacre is one of the most, if not The Most, atrocious war crime ever happened in one city. More than 300,000 people were slaughtered during six weeks of killing, raping, looting and burning. Nanking was the capital of Republic of China. Japan, recognizing that the Qing Court was weak and corrupt, joined the Western Powers to invade China. In the first Sino-Japan war (1894-1895), Japan defeated China and forced her to cede Taiwan (and huge reparation payment and other demands) to Japan. Since then, Japan continued her ambition to conquer China as evidenced by first challenging Russia’s interest in China. Japan won the Japan-Russia War in 1904-1905 which took place in China’s Manchuria and Yellow Sea. U.S. President Ted Roosevelt brokered a peace treaty between Russia and Japan at the expense of China. Russia recognized Korea (Protectorate of China) as part of the Japanese sphere of influence and agreed to evacuate from Manchuria (China’s territory), eventually led to the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910. When the Chinese revolution finally toppled Qing and established a republic nation in 1911, Japan began more openly and aggressively executing a plan to conquer China before she could get strong. Japan started encroachment and invasion of the northeastern part of China eventually seized the entire Manchuria in 1931 and set up a puppet government in 1932 despite of a condemnation by the League of Nations. Japan then withdrew from League of Nations the following year.
While Chinese people began resisting Japanese aggression, Japan initiated her ambitious plan to take over the entire China within a year. The Japanese Imperial Army was moving from Manchuria south bound towards Nanking, China’s new capital for the Republic. The Chinese army, despite of poor equipment compared to the well suited-up Japanese soldiers, put up a good fight. From Battle of Shanghai to Battle of Nanking, the resistance was very strong and heroic and the Japanese military could not move forward fast as planned. When the Japanese army finally took over Nanking, they launched a horrible massacre as their way of revenging the Chinese resistance and purposely creating fear to deter future Chinese resistance. The infamous Nanking Massacre was recognized by the U.N. and was entered into its war memorial and historical records. Sadly to all Chinese that to this day, Japan shamelessly does not acknowledge and accept the responsibility of this war crime.
China designated December 13th as the Memorial Day for Nanking Massacre. This year is its 80th anniversary. China has as usual held a solemn national memorial service in Nanking, a larger scale this year well attended by many civilian and military officials including President Xi Jinping and international dignitaries from many foreign countries. Most notably, the Ambassador of South Korea, Noh Young-min, a well-known lawyer, attended this memorial service in Nanking thus missing to greet his President, Moon Jae-in, arriving in Beijing for a State visit which was interpreted as that President Moon regarded the attendance of the Nanking Memorial Service being more important a duty for his Ambassador than greeting him at Beijing airport. One recalls that President Moon had invited the comfort women to attend the State dinner for President Trump a month ago in Seoul, obviously to remind the U.S. President that Koreans would never forget and wishing Americans would also face honestly the Japanese atrocious war crimes committed in Asia against Asians and Americans during WW II.
There is a Memorial Museum of the Nanking Massacre in Nanking where artifacts, photos, videos and documents about the Nanking Massacre were exhibited. The records, in addition to the merciless bombing of civilians, including the tossing of babies in the air as soldiers’ piercing targets for their bayonets, contests of soldiers to kill unarmed civilians in an Olympic competition style for hours to reward the fastest killer soldier, most graphic pictures of raping of women, under aged, pregnant and even senior, and their brutal murder after being raped, looting, burning, etc, etc. The memorial museum has a tremendous impact on its visitors making them leaving in tears, thoroughly horrified. Some conscientious Japanese visitors could not believe that the Japanese soldiers behaved worse than beasts. Sadly to these Japanese, their government continues to deny the Nanking Massacre ever happened and earnestly advises the Japanese citizens not to visit the museum. The Chinese, Koreans, Philippines, Indochinese and all Asians would rather forget the nightmare of Japanese Army’s brutality if only Japan would sincerely apologize for its war crimes, show remorse and vow to say it would never happen again. Sadly to all humankind, the Japanese citizens could not make their government to accept Justice to return its citizens the true dignity and honor by yielding to Truth and Justice in admitting its war crimes.
During the memorial service, there is a ritual of striking a set of giant bronze bells making a solemn sound resonating in everyone’s ear. This sound surely would touch everyone’s heart, making everyone feeling sad and enduring pain, but it should also strike everyone’s mind, making everyone reflecting history and reminiscing real truth, honor and humanity. When I heard this sound on TV, tears welled in my eyes, but the bells also sounded like alarms. The bells are reminding every Chinese (except a few pro-Japan Taiwanese politicians) to think about national pride and to draw lessons from the Nanking Massacre. Forgiving one’s enemies and peace loving with one’s neighbors are only right when one’s neighbor is respecting the sovereignty of neighboring country, accepting true history and regretting its aggressions and war crimes. If they don’t, one must be alarmed with fear and preparedness that history may repeat again. Will Japan attack China again? Why doesn’t Japan accept the responsibility of its war crimes in China? Why does Japan want to revise its post-WW II Pacifist Constitution to allow Japanese Army to attack others? Why does Japan want to strengthen more its already strong military forces, carriers, submarines, air forces and armies? Why does Japan want to hold tight with the world’s strongest nation, the U.S., with mutual defense treaty? Just for self-defense or a more devious motive? Is the U.S. being used or the other way around? These questions resonate with the alarming bell!
A documentary film of the 80th Memorial of Nanking Massacre has been shown on the U.S. TV History Channel 9AM, on 12-13-2017, hopefully it will be rebroadcast again and again or be made available on demand for American citizens to watch. Like the bell sound, the documentary strikes an alarm in our minds. Is it that simple, North Korea’s nuclear threat is a hostile act directed towards Japan and South Korea so that the U.S. must defend them? Causality in fear, hatred and revenge is traceable in history and historical facts. South Korea seems to begin to reflect on history. Japan must reflect honestly! The U.S. must also reflect on history to understand the causality of Asian ‘pain’, if she really wants to play a role in balancing the rising powers of Asia for the purpose of peace. The rising of large nations like China and India is inevitable, the competition must be played fairly. Japan survived the WW II in better industrial and economic conditions than any other Asian nation but it is fair other nations now caught up. The U.S. must not side with Japan ignoring Justice and should never allow the horrible history to repeat again..