People attend a peace assembly in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender in World War II. (Photo/China News Service)
A peace assembly was held Tuesday in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender in World War II.
Representatives from countries such as China, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Jordan attended the assembly in the Nanjing Massacre Victim's Memorial Hall, mourning the 300,000 people who died in the massacre in the name of world peace.
On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops began six weeks of destruction, pillage, rape and slaughter in Nanjing. More than 300,000 Chinese, including unarmed soldiers and innocent civilians, were murdered.
Hida Yuichi with Japan-based Kobe Student Youth Center laid a wreath and stood for several minutes in silence. It was the 21st time he had attend the peace assembly in Nanjing.
He said he had watched a documentary about Unit 731 by Japan's public broadcaster NHK before he visited China and was "shocked" by what he saw.
The documentary strengthened his belief in the truth. Regrettably, he said, many people in Japan still denied their war crimes including the Nanjing massacre and Unit 731, a germ warfare unit in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
Raqibul Hassan, an overseas student from Bangladesh, held a piece of paper reading "please say sorry."
He said the WWII ended 72 years ago. Germany has apologized for its war crimes, but Japan had not. He hoped more Japanese would say sorry to Chinese people.
Miyauchi Yoko, head of an anti-war NGO based in Kobe, Japan, said young Japanese still think that they were the victims because of the U.S. use of the atom bomb on two Japanese cities, and do not recognize Japan as the villain of the piece.
"Don't take peace for granted. It should be pursued and maintained," said Ali Qadir, a Pakistani student. "Everyone should learn a painful lesson from war."
This year is the 72nd anniversary of the end of the war. Every year around Aug. 15, peace-loving NGOs across the world gather in the Nanjing to remember the victims.