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Nanjing Massacre day bill reintroduced

By NA LI in TORONTO | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-04-14 05:32

Ontario MPP Soo Wong makes a statement to mark the first Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day in Ontario - which was brought by her Motion 66 - on Dec 13, 2017 at the Legislature in Toronto. NA LI / CHINA DAILY

A Chinese-Canadian politician has reintroduced a bill to designate Dec 13 as the annual Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day in Ontario.

Soo Wong, Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt, reintroduced a private member's bill, Bill 79, for the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act in the Ontario Legislature on Monday in Toronto.

"I am pleased to reintroduce the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act into the Ontario Legislature," said Wong. "The atrocities in Asia during World War II are still unknown to many Ontarians, including those of Asian heritage.

"If (the bill is) passed, all Ontarians will have an opportunity to become familiar and honour the victims and families affected," she said.

Wong's bill initially passed its second reading debate on Dec 8, 2016. But it faced objections from Tokyo and the local Japanese community.

Wong later moved Motion 66 in the Legislature, and that motion was unanimously passed in October.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, on Dec 13, 2017, MPPs in the House stood for a moment of silence. Community associations from across Ontario were joined by 1,000 people at Queens' Park. They lit candles and prayed for the 300,000 victims of the massacre, perpetrated by Japanese troops over six weeks, starting in December 1937.

Joseph Wong, founder of ALPHA Education, an organization that promotes a critical, historical investigation of the events of World War II in Asia, said that although the motion adopted by the Legislature has yet to become law, it was a big step in raising awareness.

So far, more than 90,000 signatures have been gathered in support of Bill 79 since Dec 8, 2016.

If the bill has a chance to pass its third reading and come into force, the act would be the first legislation from any Western jurisdiction to commemorate the Nanjing Massacre "This day will provide an opportunity for all Ontarians, especially the Asian community, to gather, remember and honour the victims and families affected by the Nanjing Massacre," Wong added.

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