National memorial-themed plates are erected in front of The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders on Thursday in advance of the sixth national memorial day on Friday. Photo: China News Service
This year marks the 82nd anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, a six-week mass murder and mass rape committed by the Japanese invaders that began on December 13, 1937.
A memorial for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre will be held in Nanjing, the capital of East China's Jiangsu Province on Friday, which is the sixth national memorial since December 13 was set as a national anniversary in 2014.
Only 78 survivors from the mass massacre are still alive after two of them died on December 4 and 5, according to a video released by The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.
With the passing of these survivors who witnessed the brutal and inhuman incidents, their descendants have taken over the responsibility of passing down the witnesses' memories from the mass massacre to future generations and the world.
"I am Ma Xiuying, 97, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, and this is my great granddaughter, Ma Wenqian," Ma introduced in a video released by The Memorial Hall.
The Japanese invaders killed Ma's third brother, and they stabbed her in the leg.
"My great grandmother was 16 when the Japanese invaders occupied Nanjing," said Ma Wenqian, adding that "My great grandmother's third brother was captured by the Japanese army, and she was stabbed in the leg when she and her mother were trying to save her brother."
As the fourth generation of the survivors, Ma Wenqian worked as a volunteer instructor in The Memorial Hall during her freshman year of college.
"I will explain the history of this event when I am asked by some friends in other cities, allowing them to know that a blood covered tragedy once took place in this city," Ma Wenqian said.
"Although the miserable history is something in the past, it left profound lessons that shouldn't be forgotten," said Pu Chuanjin, son of Pu Yeliang, another survivor of the Massacre. "We love peace, and I hope the younger generations value a happy life today and safeguard the peace," Pu Chuanjin said.
Pu Chuanjin's father was captured by the Japanese invaders and was forced to do hard labor for them.
"Japanese invaders captured my father and a young man, who was shot dead by a Japanese soldier when he was trying to escape, and my father was forced to do hard labor for them," said Pu Yeliang.
Ma Tingbao, 84, hid in a refugee camp together with his family when the Japanese army invaded Nanjing on December 13, 1937.
"One day, the Japanese invaded the refugee camp to capture young people," said Ma Minglan, daughter of Ma Tingbao.
Japanese invaders took these young people to a wharf with a truck, and killed all of them, including Ma Minglan's grandfather.
"My father's heart still has open wounds from the war and he told us over and over again that this event in history should never be forgotten, especially in the good times when our country is stronger."
Xia Shuqin, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, attends a memorial for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre in 2016.(Photo: China News Service)
Xia Shuqin survived the Massacre as she passed out after being stabbed three times, but seven of her nine family members were brutally killed by the Japanese invaders.
Her granddaughter Xia Yuan shared the experience to the world on behalf of her grandmother.
"My grandmother is 90 years old, and the heavy responsibility of narrating history has been transferred to my generation," said Xia Yuan. "It is not passing down hatred, but that period of history just left so much pain and scarred us deeply. Only these memories can keep us from meeting the same disastrous fate again."
Although the truth of the Nanjing Massacre has been proved by irrefutable evidences and accepted by Japanese and Western societies, it is still waiting for the long overdue acknowledgement from some right-wing politicians in Japan.
The memories from the Nanjing Massacre are the memories of families, a country and the world.
The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders had compiled the information from family trees of 761 descendants of 82 survivors by the end of November, and the information has been synchronized into a database.
Among them, 396 are male and 365 are female, and the eldest descendent of the survivors is 79.
"They [the descendants] play an irreplaceable role in passing down the memories concerning the Nanjing Massacre," said Zhang Lianhong, head of the aid society to victims of the Japanese invaders in the Nanjing Massacre. "As these survivors and their descendants are living together, they are connected in terms of the pain from the war," Zhang said.