China welcomes UNESCO listing of Nanjing Massacre

China welcomes UNESCO’s inscription of documents related to the Nanjing Massacre on its Memory of the World Register.

It says the files meet the evaluation criteria of Memory of the World Register, especially for authenticity and completeness, and the submission complied with UNESCO rules.

The UN’s cultural and scientific body agrees to add 47 new items to its Memory of the World register, including documents recording the mass murder committed by Japanese troops in the Chinese city of Nanjing in the late 1930s.

In response, China says it will ensure these valuable documents are protected and circulated, and make them play a positive role in remembering history, cherishing peace, and safeguarding human dignity.

But in Japan, the inscription was met with criticism. Japan’s foreign ministry questioned the authenticity of the documents, calling on UNESCO to be neutral and fair and for changes to be made to the process.

Right-wing Japanese nationalists also deny the massacre, either refusing to recognize the numbers of victims, discrediting survivors, or claiming that the carnage never happened.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): ZHU CHENGSHAN, Curator, Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
“Japan has shown a lack of sincerity with regard to history. Facts should not be denied. The Japanese government should acknowledge its history of aggression, and offer sincere apologies to people who suffered in the Nanjing Massacre. Inscription of the documents strongly hits back at the wrong claims by right-wing Japanese nationalists.”

China started preparing for the application in 2009, and the state archives administration passed the documents to the Memory of the World secretariat in March 2014.

Among the documents submitted to UNESCO are 11 sets of archives relating to the massacre including film, photographs and texts from between 1937 and 1948.

The documents show Japanese troops bombing Nanjing and killing unarmed Chinese.

Some pictures show raped women in extreme pain and bodies scattered on the streets.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): ZHU CHENGSHAN, Curator, Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
“These documents recorded the true history. Inscription of the documents will help us honor history, refute wrong claims and spread the truth. I hope that after the inscription, the massacre will be known to more people.”

The curator says the inscription will also lead to better conservation of the documents.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): ZHU CHENGSHAN, Curator, Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
“We will carry out more detailed research and turn the documents into textbooks that show the world the importance of peace.”

Officials say China’s Second Historical Archives will turn the paper documents into a digital database so that more people could gain access to them.

The Memory of the World Register, created in 1992, preserves precious and threatened material against neglect, ravages of time, willful and deliberate destruction.

Leave a Comment