Jim Karygiannis is pleased that the Toronto City Council passed his motion to recognize the Nanjing Massacre on Dec 15.
The motion, moved by Karygiannis, councillor for Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt, and seconded by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam on Dec 5, reads as follows: City Council re-affirms its recognition of the Nanjing Massacre and honours the memory of the men, women and children who were massacred.
"I want to thank Councillor Wong-Tam for seconding the motion and the mayor and my fellow councillors for passing this motion," said Karygiannis. "Council has recognized the Imperial Japanese Army launched a six-week campaign which saw an estimated 300,000 people, including young children, tortured, raped and murdered."
During the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), on Dec 13, 1937, the Japanese invaders captured Nanjing, the capital city of the Republic of China. Over the following six weeks, they conducted a massacre where an estimated 300,000 people, including young children, were tortured, raped and murdered.
"This dark period in history is seldom discussed, yet the legacy of these atrocities lives on in the memories of survivors and it continues to have a deeply-felt impact in many Asian societies, including Toronto's diverse Asian communities," Karygiannis stated in the motion.
Councillor Wong-Tam said the vote is ultimately another step toward peace and reconciliation, "not just because Toronto has the largest Chinese-Canadian population in the country, but because it was the right course of action and most Canadian thing to do".
"It is important to remember these moments in our shared history," Karygiannis said. "We must remember those who suffered and perished. We must teach our children the violence faced by their ancestors and others. It is only by remembering and teaching the young that we can ensure that these atrocities never happen again."
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Shaun Chen also made a statement on the Nanjing Massacre on Dec 12 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
"Seventy-nine years ago tomorrow, one of the darkest moments in human history began. Over a six-week period, innocent civilians were raped and killed in China's then capital city of Nanjing during the Second Sino-Japanese War," Chen stated. "Here in Canada, I salute the work of Toronto ALPHA for their efforts to shine light on this forgotten history. Through education, we can teach future generations to never repeat the atrocities of the past, and we will never forget."
The Toronto District School Board, the largest school board in North America, passed a unanimous motion encouraging the teaching of the atrocities of the Nanking Massacre and Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in their schools in 2008.