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Development at mass grave sparks opposition

A mass grave that serves as evidence of Japan's invasion of China in the 1930s might be used for property development, which has sparked opposition from local people, Jinan Times reported.

The mass grave is located in Pipa Mountain in the suburbs of Jinan, capital of Shandong province. From 1940 and 1945, when the Japanese Army occupied Shandong, many anti-Japanese soldiers and civilians were arrested and sent there, most of whom were tortured, killed and buried there.

The plot was designated to a machine plant in 1952, and a monument was erected to mark the mass grave. A group of Japanese veterans visited the site almost every year and repented their crimes.

But the monument was removed recently, and the newspaper quoted sources saying that the plot will be soon used for property development.

Xu Yuquan, former deputy general manager of the factory, said that the factory was merged with a private company in 2003, and the latter has sold the land.

In addition, the property developer had got approval from the local authorities to use the land for a commercial project.

But the land development plan has met with opposition from local people.

"Every one working at the factory knows the history of this mass grave. We used to guard it and that period of history. The factory has gone, that's okay. But if that period of history is gone, it would be a sin," a former factory worker was quoted as saying.

But Xu said that the site of the mass grave was already damaged in 1990 when the factory built a new office building. A lot of human bones were excavated from the site, and the place is now grassland.

The worker quoted by the newspaper said that he hoped something could be done to help preserve this historical evidence.