The Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day Act, or Bill 233, set to establish Dec. 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemoration Day, passed its second reading Thursday with unanimous consent in the legislature of the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Manitoba joins a growing movement in Canada to recognize and commemorate the Nanjing Massacre, Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) said Friday. On Thursday, the legislature of Canadian province of Ontario passed a motion recognizing Dec. 13 in each year as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.
The No. 66 motion, adopted by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, was the first of its kind in a Western country.
The motion was introduced by Chinese-Canadian lawmaker Soo Wong in a bid to acknowledge and honor the over 300,000 victims of the Nanjing Massacre, a heinous crime committed by the Japanese militarists during World War II.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre.
"We are thrilled to see this legislation pass with unanimous support. It is important to recognize and reflect on the wrongs of the past in an effort to heal and move forward," said Flor Marcelino, a NDP lawmaker of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, who introduced the bill in the province.
Manitoba's growing Chinese community includes many families who have direct connections with the victims and survivors of the Nanjing Massacre and are excited about the news.
"Recognizing Dec. 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemoration Day is an opportunity to gather, remember, and honor the victims and families here in Manitoba," she said.
Marcelino, the first woman of color to be elected as a lawmaker in the province, was named interim leader of the NDP and leader of the opposition in the Manitoba legislature in 2016.
Noting that efforts have been made elsewhere in Canada to formally recognize the Nanjing Massacre and honor the victims, Marcelino said that Manitoba strives to be a place where human rights are recognized and victims of human rights abuses, war crimes and sexual violence are remembered and honored.