Nanjing, memory and modernity

Lake, Nanjing, China

The view is great at the exit of Nanjing (Nankin) train station : a big and calm lake sided by modern business towers.
Nanjing is a big busy city with metros, business centre, huge shopping malls and food streets.

Pedestrian street full of restaurants, Nanjing, China

Foreign tourists are uncommon and nobody speak english in our hostel. Fortunatly enough technology helps us and the hostel’s mobil phone translate us their question : “you want to live another day?” when they meant “do you want to stay another night”.

Ramparts, Nanjing, China

Nanjing was the capital of China for a long time, and you can still walk on the big ramparts which protected it. But this is not here that people swarm in this beautiful and warm afternoon.

Nanjing massacre memorial, China

People converge toward a huge black semi-buried marble building. It is the memorial for the Nanjing massacre, built over a common burial place uncovered.
In 1937 Japanese troupes attack China for a stalking-horse, after a tough campaign, they decide to make an example of the then capital.
They used a hypocrite differentiation : officially it was an “incident”, so rules (sic) of wars didn’t apply. (Other country did the same in history, like France in the “event of Algeria”).

Sculpture in the memorial of Nanjing massacre, China

During one month and a half they kill more than 300 000 Chinese and rape systematically. The memorial pays a sophisticated homage to the victims, with sculptures, testimony, numerous items and pictures, and a huge archive hall.

Archives of the Nanjing massacre memorial, China

It is a bit overwhelming, but it is a necessary evil because lot’s of culpables have escape trials due to the turmoil of the Cold War (like the Japan Emperor himself!), and until as recently as 2005 fierce debate were taking place with a nauseous perfume of revisionism.

Nanjing has also a good museum full of interesting pieces, sadly not highlighted by missing or poorly translated explanations. But in this museum we finally had the answer to a question we asked ourself in Lima, Peru. In the tissue room, two women using a huge traditional weaving loom looking very like those used by civilisation in South America. With the complicated network of threads and wood, one may wonder as much as an Inca would wonder in front of a computer.

Nanjing is an interesting city, not on the tourism map, which deserve more time.

Danfeng International Youth Hostel
Map and direction here.
Cheap double room (shared bathroom) for 80/90 Yuans (Student/reg). No English spoken, but staff is really willing to help.

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