THE Jinshanwei War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression Ruins site is being expanded into a historic cultural park, featuring a museum of wartime items — including photographs and letters, and a central square with patriotic sculptures.
The first phase of construction is set to be completed by mid-August.
Currently, the site preserves the remains of buildings destroyed by the Japanese.
Invading Japanese soldiers landed at Jinshanwei at Hangzhou Bay, a weak point in Shanghai’s defences, 77 years ago. At daybreak on November 5, 1937, about 110,000 Japanese on 155 ships disembarked along Jinshanwei’s 15-kilometer coastline under the cover of thick fog.
Within three days, the Japanese had slaughtered 1,015 people, mostly unarmed civilians, and burned down more than 3,000 houses in the Jinshanwei area.
In the whole of Jinshan District, some 2,933 people were killed and more than 26,000 houses destroyed by the Japanese.
From Jinshanwei, the invaders moved inland. Just over a month later, on December 13, the Japanese occupied Nanjing, capital of neighboring Jiangsu Province, and committed the Nanjing Massacre atrocities, during which more than 300,000 people were slaughtered.
On December 13, 2014, China observed its first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Nanjing, addressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On the same day, a commemorative service was held at the landing point in Jinshanwei, attended by veterans, victims’ descendants, students and city leaders.
The ruins, located at 87 Nan’an Road, are one of the city’s patriotic sites.
Opened in 2005, the ruins have over the years received a growing number of visitors.
In 2014, more than 23,000 people visited — almost the maximum number the existing site can handle.
Last December, the museum partly opened, with four halls receiving almost 2,900 visitors.
It features a wide range of wartime items and records, telling the story of how Chinese armies and civilians fought the invaders, through photographs and survivors’ recollections.
Locals recalled the dark days when the Japanese invaders arrived.
“I was only eight years old and was catching crabs by the sea. All of a sudden, my father ran to me and shouted at me to go with him immediately because the Japanese had landed,” survivor Li Jiayu said.
After two weeks, when the boy returned home, he found that 14 villagers had been killed.
Li Mingfang, 84, also remembered the day clearly.
“I lost my home. Our house was burned down and my grandmother was killed by a collapsed roof beam,” Li said.
The cultural park will cover an area of 17,333 square meters, leading to the old memorial tower and surrounded by a moat.
The first construction phase covers 12,000 square meters, taking as its theme Jinshanwei’s history fighting Japanese pirates during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and then Japanese soldiers during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945).
The central square will feature a set of sculptures by artist He E.
An old artillery piece has been restored and will be on display at the square.
Among those who viewed the photographs on display at the museum was 88-year-old Xia Zhiming. Though only a child at the time, Xia joined the fight against the invaders.
“It was like going back to the wartime days,” he said. “The memorial park is of great significance and means so much, especially to people who were involved, like me. We should never forget the history and cherish the peace today.”