UNESCO listed Nanjing Massacre helps to preserve crucial human memory

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Nearly 80 years after the Nanjing (Nanking) Massacre, one of the darkest moments in human history, records of the atrocities have been added on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

This is an important move of the UN scientific and cultural body as it helps to preserve a crucial episode of human memory and refute the lies of Japanese far-rightists.

Noting that the decision represents global recognition of the carnage, Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, said “from now on, any act in denial (of the massacre) will be futile.”

For many years, some Japanese conservatives and nationalists have been denying the atrocities and fabricating ludicrous narratives on the massacre. Even now, the Japanese government still prefers the term “incident” to massacre in reference to the untold crimes of the Japanese army in Nanking, China’s capital city at the time.

On Saturday, after the inscription was announced, the Japanese Foreign Ministry accused UNESCO of being unfair and politicized on the matter.

Such accusation is obviously a desperate Hail Mary for the nationalist government of Japan to save face, avoid embarrassment, and is contradictory to all the compelling facts.
UNESCO’s decision came after a two-year process where experts rigorously studied the nominations with an unbiased attitude.

Meanwhile, China will set up a special database and upgrade the protection of documents regarding the Nanjing Massacre after files on the atrocity were listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

A number of domestic archives will jointly establish the database, which will be open to the public at home and abroad, said a source with the Second Historical Archives of China on Sunday.

The database can help people learn more about the historical calamity caused by war, said the source.

Lasting more than six weeks, from December 13, 1937 until January of 1938, the Nanjing Massacre saw the deaths of 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers after the city fell into the hands of the Japanese.

On Friday, 11 sets of Nanjing Massacre files, including film, photographs and text taken and written between 1937 and 1948, were listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, despite Japan’s protest.

There are a large amount of archives on the slaughter from the aggressor, victims and third parties, said Guo Biqiang, a researcher with the Second Historical Archives of China.

The amount and variety of the documents were unmatched compared with similar heritage events, he said.

“China will ensure these valuable documents are protected and circulated, and make them play a positive role in remembering history, cherishing peace, looking into the future and safeguarding human dignity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.