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