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Class Before Leaving – Commemoration of 100th Anniversary of May 4th Movement

Zhou: Dear teachers and students, Good morning!

Tang: I’m Tang Sirui of Class 3 Senior Grade 3.

Zhou: I’m Zhou Ruoyao of Class 7 Senior Grade 3.


On April 11, 2019, in the drizzle during the Qingming Festival, 32 senior high students of our school visited the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders to receive one-day special education – a class before leaving.

Tang: Striking the Peace Bell, visiting the exhibition on the historical facts of Nanjing Massacre, listening to historical experts and survivors’ stories, and watching the documentary Zhang Chunru. At the one-day activity, the students had an insight into the familiar history with a more diversified perspective, and had a deeper understanding and perception of it.

Zhou: The activity was aiming at reminding the students of the importance of learning from history and cherishing peace, and expecting that students to spread the philosophy to every corner of the world in the future.

Tang: Let's invite Lu Yisu of Class 8 and Lin Jiayi of Class 7 to talk about their feelings about this activity.

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Lu Yisu: On April 11, 2019, more than 30 senior high students including me took part in the one-day class before leaving at the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders. It has been many years since I was here last. However, I was still impressed by the pictures and written records in the museum.

If we turned back the clock to December 1937, a contest to kill people between two mass murderers was spreading. The result of the game was that Toshiaki Mukai killed 106 people, and Tsuyoshi Noda killed 105. However, they forgot who first killed 100 people, so restarted the competition. The contest was also reported by Asahi Shimbun, reflecting the Japanese authorities' connivance and acquiescence in this brutal behavior. The dark side of human nature was seen in war. How many people, under the cover of militarism, allowed their guilt and madness to transcend reason and conscience. In the lecture, I asked Professor Zhang a question: Is the attitude of ordinary Japanese people towards the massacre the same as that of soldiers? He said that human nature was complex. A murderous, ruthless monster in China became a good father, husband and son when he returned home in Japan. An angel and demon could coexist in the body of a person. The seamless connection of this role sounded so absurd but real.

Eighty years ago, none quiet desk could be put in the huge China, and now we studying in the campus stood in the most sunny place, a heaven that was not available for the children in 1937. A nation that has lived until now must be fortunate, but it has inevitably experienced pain and struggle. How lucky are we to have been born in the prosperous age? The best way to turn grief into hope is to see the light from the dark and follow the light.

Lin Jiayi: We used broad beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and had broad beans for every meal. This lyric was from the Nanjing Refugee Chorus. Contrary to my expectations, it expressed gratitude and hope, not sadness. Because, when hundreds of thousands of hungry people fell into a desperate situation, an international friend donated 100 tons of broad beans, igniting their hope of survival.

When it came to the Nanjing Massacre, the ark in the darkness, it was necessary to mention the safety zone. In the activity of a class before leaving, we were lucky to listen to the lecture given by Mr. Wang Weixing, a researcher of the History Research Institute of Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, and learned about the preparation and role of the safety zone. On November 22, 1937, the Nanjing government issued a proclamation moving the capital to Chongqing. The government offices were withdrawn from Nanjing one after another. Following the example of Shanghai, Hang LiWu, the Chairman of the Board of Jinling University, invited dozens of aliens and established the Nanjing Safety Zone, a refuge for the refugee, and the International Relief Committee on that day. Among them were John Rabe, and John Magee, whom we are very familiar with. It is worth mentioning that there was also a Chinese person in the committee, Xu Chuanyin, vice president of the World Red Swastika Association. The Chinese government recognized the safety zone, and provided the committee with cash, food and police to support the construction and operation of the zone. However, the Japanese side often entered the safety zone on the pretext of searching for soldiers and burned, killed and looted.

Nevertheless, the safety zone continued to do their utmost to protect and provide relief to the refugees. The International Committee stopped the Japanese from committing atrocities every day. In addition, they put together a compendium of records of Japanese atrocities and handed them over to various embassies in the hope of stopping the atrocities through international public opinion. These precious materials have become evidence of the distortion and falsification of history by the Japanese right-wingers.

They protected the people of Nanjing in various ways and recorded the brutal acts of the Japanese aggressors, President Xi Jinping said. The Chinese people will never forget their humanitarian spirit and fearless deeds.

The barbaric Japanese invaders left a painful mark in Nanjing, but there was light in the darkness. We will always remember the strength and warmth brought by these foreign friends.

Zhou: Thank you for your speeches.

Tang: Mr. Mei Ju-ao, who represented China as a judge of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and participated in the Tokyo trials, said, “I am not a revanchist. Neither do I intend to ascribe the debt of blood owned to us by Japanese imperialists to the Japanese people. I believe, however, that to forget the suffering of the past is to be vulnerable to tragedy in the future.” Li Xiuying, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, said that we should remember history, not hatred. After leaving the museum, in addition to the grief and resentment of the history, we had a deeper understanding of the philosophy of cherishing and passing on peace, and the mission of the times and social responsibility.

Zhou: It was the obligatory mission of every Chinese youth to bear in mind the shame and lessons of history and the survival of the country, and to strive for it. One hundred years ago, when the country was in danger, a group of young people came out boldly for the future of the motherland. They mourned the death of our country and tried their best to defend the sovereignty of the country, hoping to save the country with the power of all people.

Tang: The May 4th Movement raged in one hundred years. We are clearer about our mission after having a deeper understanding of the history. Today, the new generation of young people should carry forward the spirit of the May 4th Movement and make unremitting efforts for national rejuvenation.

Zhou: Let's invite Wang Yuhan of Class 3 and Yuan Yuqing of Class 7 to talk about their thoughts on  the spirit of the May 4th Movement.


The May 4th Movement, which broke out 100 years ago, was a thorough anti-imperialist and anti-feudal movement with the advanced young intellectuals as the pioneers and the participation of the broad masses of the people. The May 4th Movement awakened the nightmare of thousands of Chinese people. It realized the first great unity of all sectors of the country under the banner of patriotism and opened a new chapter in history. Without the enlightenment of the May 4th Movement, China may have to grope in the dark for many years. Without the baptism of the May 4th Movement, there may not be the popularity of Marxist theory. Without the May 4th Movement, it is hard to imagine when China will usher in national liberation and prosperity.

The core content of the spirit of the May 4th Movement is patriotism, progress, democracy and science. It was to save the nation scientifically, rejuvenate the country through industry and commerce, resist US aggression and aid Korea, defend the country, and reform and open up. Today, it is more embodied in entrepreneurship and revitalization in the 21st century. Each interpretation of the spirit of the May 4th Movement has a common source, the spirit of patriotism. They are aiming at exploring the way to save the country and the people. There is the same goal to realize the ideals of national prosperity, national rejuvenation and people's happiness.

With the Chinese nation at stake one hundred years ago, the Chinese youth, eager to revitalize their country, not only expressed their patriotic enthusiasm through demonstrations, petitions and strikes, but also worked hard to learn advanced knowledge and skills and worked hard in all walks of life. The spirit of the May 4th Movement was not an slogan of patriotism, but the pursuit of democracy and science, the excavation and research of various cultures, the social equality and female emancipation, and the desire to develop our own industries and get rid of external dependence. Today, in the face of complicated domestic and international situations and many challenges, we must also show the courage and determination to overcome difficulties, continue to carry forward the spirit of the May 4th Movement, and strive to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Young people are the greatest hope of this nation. The motherland will not be in the dark with us. As the youth of the new era, we face future and infinite possibilities, and great rivers and mountains of the motherland. How can we escape from life and be passive and decadent? To carry forward the spirit of the May 4th Movement, we should study hard and develop our strong points to become the pillars of our country in the future. At the same time, we should pay more attention to the society, make suggestions actively, help others with practice and promote the development of society.

Mr. Chen Duxiu said, “Youth are like the early spring, like the morning sun, like the blooming grass, like the sharp blade fresh off the grinding stone.” The young people are expected to cherish the spirit of the May 4th Movement, shoulder the heavy responsibility of history, and embrace the new times.

Tang: Thank you for your speeches.

Zhou: It has inspired our patriotic feelings and called us to remember history and look forward to the future to visit to the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre and look back on the centenary of the May 4th Movement.

Tang: However, patriotism does not mean blind exclusion or complacency. Remembering the history does not mean that we should remember hatred, but rather that we should dare to face and reflect on it. Only if we study and face history with a correct attitude, and have a rational patriotic spirit, we can avoid the humiliation and tragedy of modern times.

Zhou: The longer the history has clearer historical connotation and social influence. It has been one hundred years since the May 4th Movement broke out. At the beginning of the centennial coordinates of history, there was a humiliated China that was poor, weak, and at the mercy of others. After one hundred years, the hard work and blood sacrifice of generations of people with lofty ideals has made this ancient land quiet.

Tang: This piece of land is still standing after suffering, and we are going to leave. The indomitable spirit of Nanjing has left a deep imprint in our hearts, so that we will not forget the original heart all the time.

Both: Keeping history in mind, never forgetting the past, cherishing peace and opening up the future, we will be modern people with Chinese soul and global spirit.