Documents relating to the Nankin massacre, a wave of atrocities committed by the Japanese imperial army in China back in 1937, have been put on the Unesco World memory register, the UN organisation has revealed.
The decision, taken during a Unesco International Consultative Committee meeting, was made at the end of a two year process. This committee is tasked with examining requests to add items to the Human Document Heritage register from 40 countries.
In total, 47 new applications were debated during the meeting, which took place in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
The Nankin massacre, like other atrocities committed by Nippon soldiers in continental Asia before the Second World War, is a cause of recurring tension between Peking and Tokyo.
The taking of Nankin, which was the capital of the Republic of China, led to a spate of murders, rape and pillaging by Japanese troops in December 1937.
China says there were 300,000 unjustifiable deaths at the hands of Nippon soldiers during the six weeks following their arrival in the town. This number is all over the memorial to those killed, where the bones of the victims are also displayed.
According to Foreign Universities, the number of victims is actually much lower. American historian Jonathon Spence estimates 42,000 civilians were killed and 20,000 women were raped, many of whom later died.
The Chinese authorities accuse Japan of refusing to honour the painful memory of the atrocities committed by its army.
In spring, new Japanese school manuals ordered by Tokyo avoid the using the word “massacre” to describe the Nankin killings, which has angered Peking.