World

China leaders mark Nanking massacre anniversary amid push to revive memory of Japan attack

  • Pigeons symbolizing peace are released at a ceremony to mark China's first National Memorial Day at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jiping and other Chinese leaders presided Saturday at the ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion and stir patriotism. Estimates of those killed range from 40,000 to the official Chinese figure of 300,000. About 20,000 women were also believed to have been raped over the six weeks of chaos, mass looting and arson. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Pigeons symbolizing peace are released at a ceremony to mark China's first National Memorial Day at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jiping and other Chinese leaders presided Saturday at the ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion and stir patriotism. Estimates of those killed range from 40,000 to the official Chinese figure of 300,000. About 20,000 women were also believed to have been raped over the six weeks of chaos, mass looting and arson. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese honor guard members take part in a ceremony to mark China's first National Memorial Day at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders presided Saturday at the ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion and stir patriotism. Chinese characters in white reads "Nanjing Massacre". (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Chinese honor guard members take part in a ceremony to mark China's first National Memorial Day at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders presided Saturday at the ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion and stir patriotism. Chinese characters in white reads "Nanjing Massacre". (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, attends a ceremony to mark China's first National Memorial Day at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Xi and other Chinese leaders presided Saturday at the ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion and stir patriotism. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, attends a ceremony to mark China's first National Memorial Day at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Xi and other Chinese leaders presided Saturday at the ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking massacre amid a drive to revive memories of Japan's brutal invasion and stir patriotism. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

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.