NANJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official stressed the importance of peace as the country held a national memorial ceremony on Tuesday to mourn the victims of Japan's brutal massacre in the city of Nanjing during World War II.
Cai Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the CPC Central Committee Secretariat, made the remarks at the ceremony, held in Nanjing in remembrance of the 300,000 victims who died in the Nanjing Massacre committed by Japanese invaders in 1937.
The ceremony was held to express the Chinese people's lofty desire to unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and demonstrate the Chinese people's firm stance that they will keep history firmly in mind, never forget the past, cherish peace and forge a future, said Cai.
He noted that through the hard work of one generation after another, China has undergone tremendous changes and embarked on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects.
"The Chinese people are living a moderately prosperous life in all respects, and the Chinese nation stands tall among the nations of the world," he added.
Cai noted that the bitter suffering of the past cannot be forgotten, and the country will never stop moving forward. He called on the whole nation to unswervingly uphold the leadership of the CPC, advance Chinese modernization, carry forward the fighting spirit, and advance building a community with a shared future for humanity on the journey ahead.
He stressed that the Chinese people are ready to join hands with the rest of the world to create an even brighter future for humanity.
The memorial ceremony was held by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council at the square of the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in Nanjing.
Chen Wenqing, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the ceremony.
About 3,000 representatives from all walks of life attended the ceremony, wearing white flowers on their lapels.
At 10:00 a.m., the ceremony began and the national anthem was played and sung. It was followed by a moment of silence. Sirens howled over the city. Drivers stopped their cars and honked horns. Pedestrians paused in silence.
After Cai's speech, teenagers read out a declaration of peace. Citizen representatives struck the Bell of Peace. Three thousand white doves, a symbol of peace, flew to the sky.
The Nanjing Massacre took place on Dec. 13, 1937 when Japanese troops captured the city. Over six weeks, they killed more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers in one of the most barbaric episodes of World War II.
In 2014, China's top legislature designated Dec. 13 as the national memorial day for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.