Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from thousands of Canadians. In fact, in total, close to 40,000 Canadians signed this petition, either in this format or online. Some of them, by the way, have not been verified yet because of the sheer volume of the petitions, which are sitting in a box in my office.
The petitioners are calling for the government to declare December 13 Nanjing massacre commemorative day each year. They note that in 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army raped 20,000 to 80,000 Chinese women and girls and killed an estimated 300,000 people. Documents on the Nanjing massacre are included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, and western eye witnesses at the time described these atrocities as hell on earth.
After the Nanjing massacre, the military's sexual slavery system for the Japanese military expanded rapidly, and approximately 200,000 women from Korea, the Philippines, China, Burma, Indonesia and other Japanese-occupied territories were tricked, kidnapped or coerced into working in “comfort stations” to serve as “comfort women” to the Imperial Japanese Army.
The crimes against humanity perpetrated during the Nanjing massacre are not merely a regional issue. It is an issue of international justice, which is acknowledged by various provinces across Canada through different commemorative events. Canada has a rich humanitarian tradition of advocating for peace and recognizing global atrocities, in which women and children are often brutal casualties of war and armed conflicts. To that end, I hope the government will act on this.