Microblogs Gear Up for Nanjing Massacre Anniversary

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 5:28 pm (UTC+0)

Zhang Yimou’s (张艺谋) Flowers of War (金陵十三钗) starring Christian Bale, said to be the most expensive movie ever made in China, premiers on Friday in China.

Watch the trailer for Flowers of War

The film, based on a novel by Yan Geling (严歌苓), explores the 1937 Nanjing Massacre through the lives of 13 prostitutes who offer themselves to the Japanese soldiers instead of students.

Microblog users are reacting differently to the film’s portrayal of one of the biggest incidents in Chinese history, often used in nationalistic debates about China’s place in the world.

Zhang Ming (张鸣), a well-known academic and historian, said:

In China, faced with foreign enemies, men are useless, so it’s up to the women… Now we have the Flowers of War.

Han Song (韩松), a Xinhua editor and popular Science Fiction author, reacted to the film in a negative way:

The Nanjing massacre points to the time during the Second World War, when Japanese troops invaded China’s then capital Nanking, and for as long as long six weeks they killed, looted, raped, and committed other war crimes in the city as well as [its] suburbs. After 74 years, Zhang Yimou made Flowers of War, but critics have said that this isn’t a realistic film.

A montage of all the old survivors of the Nanjing Massacre

As part of Sina microblog’s efforts to mark the 74th anniversary of the massacres, five survivors in their eighties and nineties, were invited to open microblogs and talk about their experience.

One of them, Granny Zhao Zhenhua (赵振华奶奶), refers directly to Zhang Yimou’s film:

I have heard from my daughter that one of the stars of Flowers of War messaged me on [the] microblog. I feel very warm and very moved.

The 83-year old also acted as a consultant on Lu Chuan’s (陆川) film City of Life and Death or Nanjing! Nanjing! and reminded young people, especially actors, about the tragedy:
Not only did I see for myself the crimes committed by the Japanese devils, and also heard from people I knew or older girls from next door who had been harmed by the Japanese devils. So in the movie, when they hear that our John Rabe was leaving, how could they not feel upset? As soon as Rabe leaves, it would mean that more Chinese people will suffer. After hearing my stories, the young actors threw themselves into the acting, and no-one will laugh about it anymore.

Another survivor, Li Suyun (幸存者李素云) recalled:

It was so bad in Nanking at the time, because so many people died, every morning many of my neighbors would come come to bury bodies, many bodies. I also remember when they dug up the  Zhongsan Road they found skeletons under the underground.
Cheng Fubao had his grandson write:

My grandfather’s father was killed cruelly by the Japanese devils during the massacre by a shot through the heart…

Most of the survivors speak about the Nanjing massacre in a way that reflects deep pain and an overarching narrative that the “rape of Nanjing” was one of the most tragic episodes in recent Chinese history.

2 responses to “Microblogs Gear Up for Nanjing Massacre Anniversary”

  1. […] turbulent times. …Chinese film about Nanjing Massacre isn't propaganda: BaleVancouver SunMicroblogs Gear Up for Nanjing Massacre AnniversaryVoice of America (blog)Christian missionary: Bale in China for filmgulfnews.comZee […]

  2. […] in wartimeXinhuaChinese film about Nanjing Massacre isn't propaganda: BaleVancouver SunMicroblogs Gear Up for Nanjing Massacre AnniversaryVoice of America (blog)gulfnews.com -Zee News -Hollywood Reporterall 32 news […]

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