Cer­e­monies pay tribute to 300,000 killed in 1937-38 Nan­jing Mas­sacre

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By NA LI in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

It’s about a day to re­mem­ber ... to make sure history can­not be re­peated.” Soo Wong, a mem­ber of the On­tario Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly

The leg­is­la­ture of the Cana­dian prov­ince of On­tario is con­sid­er­ing des­ig­nat­ing Dec 13 as Nan­jing Mas­sacre Re­mem­brance Day.

The Nan­jing Mas­sacre Com­mem­o­ra­tive Day Act, or Bill 79, passed its sec­ond read­ing on Thurs­day in the On­tario Leg­is­la­ture. The bill re­ceived a unan­i­mous voice vote and will be sent to the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Jus­tice Pol­icy.

The act would be the first leg­is­la­tion in North Amer­ica or Europe to com­mem­o­rate the Nan­jing Mas­sacre. The pri­vately in­tro­duced bill must go through sev­eral more leg­isla­tive steps, in­clud­ing a third read­ing, be­fore it can be en­acted.

“It’s about a day to re­mem­ber, to honor the vic­tims and fam­i­lies af­fected by the Nan­jing Mas­sacre, to make sure history can­not be re­peated,” said Soo Wong, a mem­ber of the On­tario Leg­isla­tive Assem- bly who led the mo­tion. “It is also to make sure On­tar­i­ans, es­pe­cially the 2.6 mil­lion Asian On­tar­i­ans, are fa­mil­iar with the history.”

Wong said most On­tar­i­ans are fa­mil­iar with World War II in Europe, but few, es­pe­cially young peo­ple of Asian her­itage, are fa­mil­iar with the war’s history in Asia.

“We hope to pro­vide the ed­u­ca­tion through es­tab­lish­ing Nan­jing Mas­sacre Re­mem­brance Day,” she said.

“It is es­pe­cially im­por­tant that we com­mem­o­rate this event on De­cem­ber 13, given that 2017 will mark the 80th an­niver­sary of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre,” Wong added.

On­tario, one of the most di­verse prov­inces in Canada, is home to one of the largest Asian pop­u­la­tions in Canada. Some On­tar­i­ans are re­lated to vic­tims or sur­vivors of the Nan­jing Mas­sacre.

“I have been a sup­porter of the ef­forts made over the years to im­prove the aware­ness in Canada,” said Bob Rae, a mem­ber of Canada’s House of Com­mons. “World War II ... in­volved Europe and Asia. We Cana­di­ans need to bring un­der­stand­ing and aware­ness of the tragedy that took place in Asia.”

On Dec 13, 1937, Ja­panese Im­pe­rial forces in­vaded Nan­jing, ini­ti­at­ing a six-week-long mas­sacre. The death toll reached 300,000. Those who sur­vived con­tin­ued to suf­fer phys­i­cally and psy­cho­log­i­cally for years to come.

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