Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Day 448
I was up stupid early and got the first metro train out of the station to get to my train on time. I was cutting it close, but I made it. I slept for the entire ride. Once in Nanjing I got in the metro. Getting off at the right stop wasn't a problem, finding the hostel could have been. The directions said to just ask everyone, this is problematic as no one speaks English. Luckily I ran into one of the staff members and they took me there.

As soon as I was checked in at the hotel I bought my onward ticket thru them. I then had some lunch.

Everyone at the hostel was really friendly and I soon had directions from three different people on how to get to the Nanjing Massacre Museum. On the bus everyone wanted to be the one to help me find where I was going so I had 10 different people telling me when to get off the bus. The museum was huge, there is no way I could have missed it, even if I had tried. It had also just reopened from a long renovation.

During WWII Japan invaded China and behaved pretty horrifically. Nanjing saw some of the worst of it. For six weeks beginning in December 1939 the Japanese occupied the city. They massacred almost 300,000 people. The original orders were to kill all the men because they could possibly be part of the army, this sorta escalated into lets just kill everyone. There were also at least 20,000 cases of rape.

The west did a bit to help. Initially it was just local expats, including Nanjing's Nazi representative, who opened refugee camps. This saved thousands.

According to the museum the war ended due to the strength and bravery of the Chinese army. The museum also said that China lost 35 million people, although Wikipedia said it was 21 million. Now I understand that is a huge number, Russia lost 22 million and the US 1.2 million for a comparison. However the war did not end due to Chinese bravery, it ended because the US dropped atomic weapons on Japan. Give credit where it's due. By ignoring the actual end of the war they dismiss all the allied soldiers who died fighting for them. On top of all this 5 years later China was publishing anti-American stuff. Talk about ridiculous.

Once I had finished with the museum bit I checked out the memorials. Most of it was bad artwork. Or maybe there was just a bad taste in my mouth. Some of the mass graves had been dug up and left in situ as a memorial.

I then took a cab to the Jiming Temple that had begun in 527 but had been rebuilt and destroyed many different times. The complex was quite large and there were many worshipers. I climbed the pagoda for a really good view of the city.

Afterwords I thought I might go to the city walls but decided against it. I was tired and it was getting late in the day. Instead I headed back to the area the hostel was in. I tried to find an internet cafe and ended up wandering thru a market area. There were a lot of pet shops. I felt really bad for the dogs and cats, they didn't look happy. There were also cages with both kittens and piglets in them. The pigs were much stronger than the kittens and kept hurting them in the small space. The bunnies were shoved in so tightly that they could hardly move. It was just mean.

I ate some dinner before heading back to the hostel itself. I spent the evening watching movies in the bar before calling it a night.

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