Today is the 81st anniversary of an event that horrified the world. On December 13, 1937, during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, Japanese troops attacked the then capital of China, Nanking (Nanjing) - the government already having relocated - and over six weeks, according to records and reports, murdered around 300,000 Nanjing citizens, including women and children. Today fewer than 400 survivors are still alive to tell the tale.
The story of the Nanjing Massacre has been well told in Iris Chang's 1997 book The Rape of Nanking and in several movies in recent years including "Nanking" ,"City of Life and Death", "John Rabe" and most recently "The Flowers of War". It was perhaps fitting that, along with my students, we watched the showing of "The City of Life and Death" in a large movie theater in Nanjing in 2009. We were a small Western group in a cinema packed with locals and it was impossible not to feel the tears of the audience that night. I wondered how many in that very audience had lost grandparents and other kin in that massacre.Continue Reading