by Xinhua writers Xu Xiaoqing and Xia Xiao
BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- On the 68th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender, Chinese nationwide are holding anti-war activities and memorializing those who died in the war.
In Japan, members of the cabinet, as well as dozens of lawmakers, visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto shrine that commemorates Japanese who died in the service of the Empire of Japan, including convicted war criminals.
Sixty-eight years ago, former Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced in a radio address that the country would surrender to the Allies, marking the end of China's war against Japanese aggression, as well as World War II.
In east China's Jiangsu Province, an international peace assembly was held in the provincial capital of Nanjing on Thursday.
Historians, experts and people from all walks of life gathered at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, mourned the 300,000 people who died in the massacre and prayed for world peace.
"I have different feelings every time I visit, as the relationship between China and Japan changes all the time," said Tamaki Matsuoka, a retired teacher from Japan.
"However, since relations between the two sides have slumped recently, I hope more Japanese can come to the city and take part in peaceful activities," she added.
According to the results of a survey carried out by China Daily and the Japanese non-profit think tank Genron NPO earlier this month, many Chinese and Japanese have negative opinions regarding each other's countries.
Nearly 93 percent of 1,540 surveyed Chinese said they have a negative attitude toward Japan, 28 percentage points higher than last year, while 90.1 percent of 1,000 surveyed Japanese have negative feelings toward China, higher than last year's 84.3 percent.
However, Zhu Chengshan, curator of the memorial hall, said an increasing number of young Japanese have attended memorial activities in recent years.
"Tragedies can only be avoided by facing history," Zhu said.
On the same day, Shanghai's Songhu Battle Memorial Hall received more than 1,000 visitors.
"Japanese invaders perpetrated atrocities in China in the past, but now some Japanese still visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. Why are some Japanese are so forgetful?" said a memorial hall visitor surnamed He.
The Battle of Songhu, also known as the Battle of Shanghai, occurred on Aug. 13, 1937. It was one of the largest and bloodiest battles during China's war against Japanese invaders.
Although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday, he reportedly offered a monetary sacrifice to the shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals.