President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders are presiding at a remembrance ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion.

Xi led officials gathered Saturday morning at a memorial hall and museum in the former national capital, now spelled Nanjing.

After the national anthem, participants and people throughout the city stood for one minute of silence against the wail of what was described as the world's largest air raid siren.

China raised the profile of commemorations this year as part of three new holidays to mark major wartime events at a time of a major downturn in China-Japan relations. Estimates of those killed in the December 1937 massacre range from 40,000 to the official Chinese figure of 300,000.