NANJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Standing in front of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, Xia Shuqin sobbed and read a letter dedicated to the family members she lost in the atrocity.
"How I wish I could hear the voices of my father and mother again," Xia slowly read.
From Sunday, family members of the victims of the massacre began a series of commemoration activities such as laying flowers, burning incense and reading letters before the memorial hall wall where victims' names are engraved in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.
Xia, born in May 1929, said her father and grandparents were shot, her sister beaten to death, and her mother and two eldest sisters raped and killed.
"I was slashed three times on the back with a sword, and I passed out," she recalled.
Another survivor, Yu Changxiang, said that his father was killed, but his body was never found.
"The name on the wall is the only way we can mourn him," Yu said.
The registered survivors of the massacre now number less than 100. From this year, the local government has increased financial assistance for the survivors, while also upgrading facilities to help them live better lives.
"May you rest in peace," Xia said to her lost family. She said she will continue to tell their story to others for as long as she is alive.
The year 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, in which more than 300,000 Chinese were killed by the Japanese invaders who occupied Nanjing on Dec. 13, 1937, marking the start of six weeks of destruction, pillage, rape and slaughter in the city.
In China the Nanjing Massacre is seen as the lowest point of an era in which the country was bullied and humiliated by foreign powers. In February 2014, China's top legislature designated December 13 as the national memorial day for victims of the Nanjing Massacre.