It marked the highest ever single-day record of visitors since the hall’s establishment in 1985, curator Zhu Chengshan said. Statistics showed that the number of visitors to the memorial hall in the first six days of April hit 300,000.
Zhu attributed the surge in visitors to the establishment of the National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims, designated in February 2014 by China’s top legislature. On Dec. 13, the country observed the first national memorial day with a solemn ceremony held at the memorial to commemorate innocent victims in the massacre, compatriots killed by Japanese aggressors, as well as revolutionary martyrs and heroes who devoted their lives to victory in the war against Japanese aggression.
“The national initiative attracted increasing attention at home and abroad to the history of the Nanjing Massacre,” Zhu said.
In 2014, the memorial hall, in Nanjing City of east China’s Jiangsu Province, saw 8 million visits, up 30 percent year-on-year, making it the second largest recipient of visitors among all museums in the world, following the Palace Museum.
During the first three months this year, 1.47 million people visited the memorial hall, up from less than 600,000 in the same period a year ago.
Over the past week, a Xinhua reporters observed long queues at the gate of the hall beginning at 7 a.m. everyday, more than an hour before its opening. Guides fell short of demand. Flowers offered at the hall’s wailing wall were cleared every two hours in case they became overwhelming.
According to statistics from the memorial hall, since the first national memorial day was observed, at least 4,210 foreign travelers from 52 countries have toured there. Among them were nine groups from Japan.
On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops began six weeks of destruction, pillage, rape and slaughter in Nanjing. Historical records show that more than 300,000 Chinese, including unarmed soldiers and innocent civilians, were murdered.
“China’s national memorial day made many Japanese young people know about the Nanjing Massacre for the first time,” said a 17-year-old Japanese high school student touring the hall.
“I saw historical evidence here, and felt deep pain,” he said.
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Special coverage on China's Two Party Sessions by The Daily Mail - People's Daily