BEIJING (AP) — A confident-sounding Communist Party of China spoke of a brighter future as it remembered the victims at a ceremony Sunday on the 83rd anniversary of the Nanjing massacre.
Over six weeks, Japanese troops raped and killed tens of thousands — and by some estimates hundreds of thousands — of people after conquering Nanjing, then the capital of China, on Dec. 13, 1937.
Chen Xi, a senior party official called the massacre “an inhuman act in human history.” Addressing a large and precisely lined-up crowd in the eastern city, he said they had gathered “to remember the day of atrocity, honor peace and open a new chapter of our future.”
His forward-looking remarks reflected how much the world has changed since the days when then-imperial Japan occupied the eastern half of the country, ending only with Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II.
Chen said that China, which has displaced Japan as the world’s second largest economy, is closer than ever to achieving the dream of national rejuvenation, a Communist Party catchphrase.
He used the anniversary to counter those who see China’s rise as a threat, saying that the party is committed to international cooperation and peaceful development.
Chen also noted that China is the first country to bring COVID-19 under control and restore economic growth, which he said demonstrates the strength of Communist Party leadership. China is a one-party, authoritarian state.