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The first group of inheritors of memory of the Nanjing Massacre are expected to attend the ceremony of China’s ninth state commemoration for Nanjing Massacre victims on December 13.
The 13 memory inheritors are members of the families of ten survivors of the massacre.
Earlier this month, Xiang Yuansong, who survived the Nanjing Massacre, passed away in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, at the age of 94, reducing the total number of registered survivors to 54, according to the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.
The Chinese government has preserved the survivors’ testimonies, recorded in written documents and video footage. These records of the massacre were listed by UNESCO in the Memory of the World Register in 2015.
Among the first group of selected memory inheritors, Xia Yuan and her son Li Yuhan are both from the family of survivor Xia Shuqin.
“I grew up listening to the war experience of my grandmother. Now she can neither hear nor see clearly. It was her wish that we testify for her and let people know about the crimes committed by the Japanese invaders,” said Xia Yuan.
Xia’s son Li Yuhan, 12, though the youngest among the inheritors, has accumulated years of experience as a young guide in the memorial hall.
“I took him to attend the family mourning when he was in kindergarten. He learned that his great-grandmother had lost her parents when she was younger than him. After going to elementary school, he took the initiative to go to the memorial hall to be a guide,” Xia Yuan said, adding that her son fully understands the responsibility of the memory inheritance.
In April this year, Wang Heng, one of the massacre survivors, died at the age of 100. His granddaughter Wang Lian said she helped the centenarian open his online account last year to tell about what he witnessed in the massacre. “I wrote at his dictation. I told him that the logging attracted nearly 3,000 followers in less than five days, and he was very happy.”
In 2014, China’s top legislature designated Dec. 13 as the national memorial day for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.
The Nanjing Massacre took place when Japanese troops captured the then-Chinese capital on Dec. 13, 1937. Over six weeks, they killed approximately 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers in one of the most barbaric episodes of World War II.