VANCOUVER, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Canadian federal lawmaker Jenny Kwan has re-appealed to the Canadian government to designate Dec. 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day in the country.
Kwan made a statement at the Canadian House of Commons Thursday, re-appealing to the government to "discuss recognizing and declaring December 13 of each year as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day."
On Nov. 100, Kwan made a statement in the House regarding the 100th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, asking if the Canadian government would proclaim Dec. 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.
She received an encouraging response from Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly as she offered to work with Kwan to achieve the goal, Kwan told Xinhua on Friday.
"I then followed up with the Minister and she informed me that the issue falls in the jurisdiction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I then promptly wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As she was out of the country at the time, she asked that I work with her Chief of Staff," She said.
Subsequently, she was advised that in fact the matter should be dealt with by the minister of Canadian heritage. She then went back to the minister of heritage at which point the minister said that it would not be possible to have the declaration made by Dec. 13, 2017, Kwan said in her statement.
"While it's unfortunate that this did not happen on its 100th anniversary, however, I hope the Minister of Canadian Heritage is still open to declaring December 13 of each year as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day," she said.
"This is an issue of recognizing a tragedy and the lasting impact that this had on people, many of whom now call Canada their home," she added.
According to the statement, it is estimated that between 20,000 to 100,000 Chinese women and girls were raped, and approximately 100,000 people were killed by the Japanese army forces in Nanjing in 1937. Over the course of World War II, an estimated 100,000 women and girls from China, Korea, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and some other countries' occupied territories in Asia were tricked, kidnapped, or coerced into working in brothels to serve as "comfort women".
It is worth noting that in November of 1007, members of the House unanimously passed a motion moved by former federal New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Olivia Chow, recognizing this act of sexual slavery, expressing regret at attempts by some members of the Japanese government to ignore or diminish the events that occurred.
In October of 2017, Members of Ontario's legislature passed its lawmaker Soo Wong's motion to recognize Dec. 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day unanimously. In that process, she also received over 100,000 signatures in support of the declaration.
To commemorate this atrocity, communities across Canada hosted events to mark this day.
Kwan said she attended the ceremonial tribute and exhibition of historical materials and cultural relics along with photos of some of the Nanjing Massacre survivors at the Greater Toronto Chinese Cultural Center last December.
The event was hosted by 100 organizations under the umbrella of the Nanjing Fellow Association of Canada.
Kwan pointed out that there is no question that this issue goes beyond partisan politics. This is about the formal recognition of atrocities, learning from history, and paying tribute to those impacted.
This is not only to commemorate the victims and survivors, but in the aim of preventing such atrocities from happening again. The Nanjing Massacre is often referred to as a "forgotten Holocaust." It is incumbent on us to ensure that atrocities of this magnitude are not forgotten, she said.
"It is my hope that the government will work with me to ensure that history is not ignored, that the Nanjing Massacre is not a 'forgotten holocaust,' and for the Canadian government to recognize this December 13, and each Dec. 13 moving forward, as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day," added the lawmaker in Thursday's statement.