More than 100 Chinese cities yesterday marked the 74th anniversary of the Japanese invasion of China's northeastern region. People gathered around memorials to war victims and stood to attention as bells tolled and sirens wailed.
Yang Cuiying, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, cries as she mourns for her relatives killed by Japanese troops in the 1937 massacre. [newsphoto]
A 10-minute-long siren resounded in 12 major cities in Northeast China's HeilongjiangProvince at yesterday.
Zhao Tianming, a resident of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang, said he planned to take a three-year tour around the country to promote public awareness of the September 18 Incident.
"I hope to tell all the Chinese people I come across to never forget September 18, the day when our country was invaded by the Japanese," Zhao said.
On September 18, 1931, the Japanese military blew up a section of railroad near Fengtian (today's Shenyang, capital of LiaoningProvince) and accused the Chinese side of the act, thus providing an excuse for the Japanese annexation of Northeast China.
"September 18 is not only for Shenyang, it is an anniversary for all Chinese to remember," Zhao said.
Zhao is scheduled to start his tour from the September 18 HistoryMuseum in Shenyang late this month. He will visit more than 200 major cities, where he will hold picture exhibitions and collect people's signatures.
"I will have at least 10,000 signatures when I return," he said.
Sun Shizhen, an 85-year-old in Shenyang, yesterday recalled the days of horror, humiliation and death.
On the night of September 18, 1931, Sun was awakened by continuous gunshots, and the following morning, he found the city was taken over by Japanese soldiers.
Every day civilians were killed by the Japanese, and their heads were hung on the top of the south city wall, said Sun.
Sun goes to the square of September 18 HistoryMuseum every year in memory of his relatives and friends killed during the war.
Hundreds of citizens gathered at the square yesterday morning to hold memorial activities.
Yesterday also happened to be China's traditional mid-Autumn Festival. "My wife and I choose to spend the festival commemorating those victims of Japanese invasion. This way we can better understand the meaning of peace and happiness," said Xu Feng, a middle-aged high school teacher in Shenyang.
A People's Daily commentary yesterday called on people to commemorate the anniversary by looking ahead and not dwelling on the past. "We never want to extend hatred by keeping history in mind. Instead we want to face the future by making history a mirror," it said.