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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE CHINESE HOLOCAUST: WAR MEMORIAL OF THE RAPE OF NANJING

The Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre (this is the official name the Chinese gave to this memorial)
is extremely crude, but it is also interesting to visit.

The Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre would be better called "Memorial of the Victims of Nanjing Massacre" or, as the terrible invasion of the Japanese in China is usually (and certainly very appropriately) called:  "Memorial of the Victims of the Rape of Nanjing".

The Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre (this is the official name the Chinese gave to this memorial) is extremely crude, but it is also interesting to visit.

The Nanjing (or Nanking) Massacre was an episode of mass murder
and mass rape committed by Japanese troops in Nanjing during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.

When the Japanese captured Nanjing, then the capital of China, tens of thousands, if not more, of Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Widespread rape and looting also occurred.

The number of deaths is contested among scholars, whose estimates range from 40,000 to 200,000 (as you can see in Nanjing Memorial the official number of victims is 300,000).

It was a shameful page of the history of Japanese and of all Asia.


It is also extremely interesting how the Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre doesn't want to focus just on the events of the Massacre of Nanjing but represents Japan as the historic invader, the one that since the Nineteen century invaded China, decapitated and raped.

In nearly complete darkness, the Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre remember these terrible days, with a lot of pathos and without sparing even the most terrible details.

It is interesting to notice how in the Memorial not only Japan is shamed for its terrible acts, but it is constantly reminded to the visitor that the Japan is the country in Asia that most built relations with the Western countries till present days. 

I guess it is a way to imply a certain subtle connection, as if somehow the evil of Japan has to be seen caused by the life of style and the culture of the West.

It is also extremely interesting how the Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre doesn't want to focus just on the events of the Massacre of Nanjing but represents Japan as the historic invader, the one that since the Nineteen century invaded China, decapitated and raped.
The peace is represented like a Greek goddess, with western features,
holding a baby in her hands looking hopefully for a better future.

Propaganda wants to make clear one point: Nanjing Massacre wasn't just an episode, was the natural continuation of a history of rape against innocent and armless China by an evil nation as Japan is represented in the exhibition of Hall of Fame of Nanjing Massacre.

The first rooms of the memorial are mainly a huge collections of picture of decapitation and mass execution of hundreds of Chinese peasants.

An explanation of this unbelievable cruelty on such a mass scale is given, supposedly from the Japanese side: a kind of foolishness and mass exaltation is blamed as the terrific engine that moved the Japanese army to so many shameful acts of extreme cruelty.

Another interesting side of the memorial is about the active role that many westerners took during the rape in trying to protect the Chinese people and denounce to the world the terrible cruelties that were committed.

Stories of heroism are celebrated, some of the Westerners who tried to protect the Chinese population during the massacre received the highest decorations by the Chinese government.

People of a completely different background that were in China for many different reasons put their life at risk in the name of justice: a German administrator of a Siemens factory in Shanghai, an American priest, an English doctor, even managed to filmed some of the monstrosities perpetuated so to make the western countries aware. Even Germany was appalled at the time.

The second part of the hall is properly the memorial to the victims. A huge mass grave, with the humans mixed bones clearly visible is so shocking that every comment would be superfluous.

After it  in a huge room in complete dark, hundreds of little candles are shining.

The room is extremely touching and gives to the visitor a way to remember in relative quiet the more than 300.000 victims (according with China) of those terrible days.

At the end of the memorial a huge T shaped pool in black marble is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a huge statue of a humanised Peace divinity stands in front of it.


The room is extremely touching and gives to the visitor a way to remember in relative quiet the more than 300.000 victims (according with China) of those terrible days.

The peace is represented like a Greek goddess, with western features, holding a baby in her hands looking hopefully for a better future.

The feeling tha the memorial gives on a whole it is more of a official commemoration monument that a memorial in honour of the victims.

It looks to me as if it lacks of emphatic, with its geometric architecture , its dark pool and the dark rooms.


The monument seems to stress much more to the crime committed than to the memory of the victims.

Still is a huge effort to remember those terrible times and certainly explain the feeling of gravity and sadness that seem to still be very noticeable in Nanjing today.

The old city center is totally destroyed and all has been recently built or rebuilt, the original walls forgotten and left to ruin.

Even a wonderful jewel like the Ming Tombs doesn't seems to have received the recognition  that deserve, surrounded by huge road works, taxis beeping constantly in the traffic that paralyse Nanjing and shaded by the grandness of Sun Yan-tse's Mausoleum.




Are you planning to travel to China?

Read my page My China Project 

where you can find the list of all of 

my posts and the destinations 

covered in this blog in China.



Read also the page Visit China and the page What to know before to travel to China.



 

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