'Rape of Nanking' Fresh, 70 Years Later

Massacre still colors Sino-Japan relations, informs China's identity
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2007 5:19 AM CST

(Newser) – Seventy years have passed since the "Rape of Nanking," when Japanese soldiers brutally massacred as many as 300,000 Chinese civilians, but the effects of the trauma are still very much present in China and its relations with Japan. Memorializing the event plays a major role in cementing China's sense of its own history, Der Spiegel reports.

A museum—currently undergoing major renovations—is built atop the unofficial graves of countless dead, and the entire landscape of the city now called Nanjing is peppered with symbolic sites and historic houses. The World War II-era occupation remains a raw topic in both countries. Some Japanese nationalists deny it occurred, while China's Communist leaders have used it to bind party to people amid capitalist reforms.