Enact the National Nanking Massacre Commemorative Day Act
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December 7th, a day which will live in infamy, as former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said. Well, the “actual day of infamy” should not be December 7th, 1941, the day Pearl Harbour was attacked, but rather December 13th, 1937, the day Nanking fell to the Japanese Imperial Army.
On December 13, the first troops of Japan’s Central China Front Army, commanded by General Matsui Iwane, entered the city. Even before their arrival, word had begun spreading of the numerous atrocities they had committed on their way through China, including killing contests and pillaging. Chinese soldiers were hunted down and killed by the thousands, and left in mass graves. Entire families were massacred, and even the elderly and infants were targeted for execution, while tens of thousands of women were raped. Bodies littered the streets for months after the attack. Determined to destroy the city, the Japanese looted and burned at least one-third of Nanking’s buildings.
Aside from the killing of the Chinese people, The Japanese also violated the Geneva Convention, Common Article 3 relating to non-international armed conflict. Common Article 3 is as follows:
Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat (meaning unable to fight) by sickness,wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
1) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
2) Taking of hostages;
3) Outrages upon dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; and
the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
The killing of near-dead civilians is a direct violation of point 1 above: “Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture”.
The events of World War II in the Pacific are well known around the world, particularly the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Events like these form the primary foundation for international commemorations. However, until now, Canadians have not had the opportunity for a thorough discussion and examination of the World War II atrocities in China, and many are unfamiliar with this part of history. It is important for Canadians to reflect and to educate themselves about the Nanjing Massacre.
As the most diverse country in the world, Canada is recognized as an inclusive society. Currently, some Canadians have direct relationships with victims and survivors of the Nanjing Massacre.
It is important to designate December 13th as the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day in Canada because the 80 anniversary of the Nanking Massacre is fast approaching. Should this act become enacted, it will provide an opportunity for all Canada, especially the Chinese community, to gather, remember, and honour the victims and families affected by the Nanjing Massacre, an atrocity where over 200,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers alike were indiscriminately killed in the Japanese capture of the city, and approximately 50,000 women were merciless raped, their age ranges varying from under 10 to over 80.
Therefore, I petition Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and with the advice and consent of the Canadian Government, to enact as stated below:
Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day
1. December 13 in each year is proclaimed as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act.
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