For­mer US en­voy hon­ors Nan­jing vic­tims

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO YAN­RONG zhaoy­an­rong@chi­

For­mer US am­bas­sador to China Gary Locke paid an un­ex­pected visit to the Nan­jing Mas­sacre Me­mo­rial Hall on Thurs­day, say­ing “his­tory can­not be for­got­ten”.

It was his first visit to the hall honor­ing the vic­tims of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre, in which at least 300,000 Chi­nese civil­ians and un­armed soldiers were killed by Ja­panese troops in 1937.

Locke en­cour­aged more people to visit the me­mo­rial hall, which was the site of an ex­e­cu­tion area and a mass grave dur­ing the cruel slaugh­ter, to learn from the tragic event, Xin­hua re­ported.

The me­mo­rial hall did not re­ceive ad­vance no­tice of Locke’s visit, and he was hosted by nor­mal mu­seum staff mem­bers, a mu­seum em­ployee said.

Locke spent more than an hour in the mu­seum, and the first ques­tion he asked mu­seum em­ploy­ees was how many Chi­nese were killed dur­ing the War of Re­sis­tance against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (1937-45).

In the mid­dle of the me­mo­rial hall, the am­bas­sador took a mo­ment of si­lence af­ter look­ing up to see a board that read “300,000”, the rough num­ber of vic­tims of the Ja­panese ag­gres­sion, Xin­hua said.

Be­sides the main hall, Locke vis­ited the sculp­ture de­pict­ing the scene of the mas­sacre as well as the sec­ond ex­hi­bi­tion hall, which houses the “Mass Grave of 10,000”.

Locke said the US po­si­tion of neu­tral­ity on the Diaoyu Is­lands had not changed, and his visit to the me­mo­rial hall was not meant to be po­lit­i­cal.

Zhu Cheng­shan, cu­ra­tor of the me­mo­rial hall, con­firmed Locke’s visit and said he was not able to es­cort the US guest since he was out of town on a busi­ness trip.

Locke was the 10th US am­bas­sador to China, but the first US of­fi­cial of Chi­nese de­scent to hold the po­si­tion. He re­signed in Fe­bru­ary to join his fam­ily in the US.

Locke’s visit to the me­mo­rial hall comes af­ter Tokyo’s con­tin­u­ous de­nial of his­tory and hard-line po­si­tion on the ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe sent a sa­cred tree branch en­graved with his name and of­fi­cial ti­tle to Tokyo’s Ya­sukuni Shrine, where Class-A war crim­i­nals are en­shrined. In De­cem­ber, Abe, in his sec­ond term, vis­ited the shrine and ex­pressed “great re­gret” over not vis­it­ing dur­ing his first term as prime min­is­ter in 2006-07.


For­mer US am­bas­sador to China Gary Locke vis­its the Nan­jing Mas­sacre Me­mo­rial Hall on Thurs­day. At least 300,000 Chi­nese civil­ians and un­armed soldiers were killed by in­vad­ing Ja­panese troops dur­ing a six-week pe­riod start­ing in De­cem­ber 1937.

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