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Memories of Blood and Terror
   2015-08-31 07:11:51    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Li Shaotong

Photo of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu. [Photo: Xinhua]

Ahead of this week's commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, we're bringing you the latest in a series of reports on the war itself.

In this edition, CRI's Xiao Yi has more on some of the horrors Chinese people had to face while Japanese forces attempted to take control of the country.


In the freezing winter of 1937, the Japanese army captured Nanking, today's Nanjing, and started a 40-odd-day massacre. Within just six weeks, the then Chinese capital became a city of terror where 300-thousand innocent lives perished in slaughter.

American missionary John Magee was in NanKing when the massacre took place. He secretly filmed the killings and later presented the film as his testimony during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in 1946.

Magee described the murders as a witness at the Tokyo Trial.

Prosecutor: "What was the action of Japanese soldiers towards the civilian Chinese men after they had possession of the city of Nanking on December 13, 1937?"

John Magee: "The killing began immediately in several ways, often by individual Japanese soldiers or up to thirty soldiers together going about. Each one seemed to have the power of life or death. And then soon there was organized killing of great bodies of men. These people were being killed by rifle fire and machine guns principally. Also we knew are groups of several hundred being buried to death."

The massacre is just part of the brutality of Japanese troops during WWII. In Nanking they also committed countless cases of rape, looting and arson and burned one third of the city to the ground.

According to the latest research conclusions, Japanese troops committed 173 cases of organized killings in which casualties topped 800 each.

Over the course of 14 years of war, China suffered a total of 35 million military and non-military casualties, accounting for a third of the total casualties of all the countries in WWII. The occupation of Nanking and the massacre was the most-discussed war crime at the Tokyo Trial where Japanese war criminals were convicted. However, the trial did not thoroughly expose Japanese militants' overall crimes and the nature of their invasion of China. Right-wing Japanese nationalists refuse to recognize the numbers of victims, discredit survivors, and claim that the Nanking massacre was entirely fabricated.

Diana Lary, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of British Columbia in Canada, says Japan's denial of its wartime atrocities is very insulting.

"The Japanese, officially, they sort of come up with the idea that it's not in Japanese culture to apologize which I find ridiculous. A lot of people (in Japan) would say we really suffered more than anyone else because we were bombed by the atomic bomb and by conventional bombing. To me that's irrelevant because they still have to recognize what happened. In China, people always use the word'Bu Chengren',won't admit',and that's very insulting to China, Korea and the other places they occupied. It simply makes it very difficult for Japan's neighbors to deal with her."

Besides the killings, Japan is also trying to conceal its wartime medical crimes including those committed by Unit 731, the Japanese army's biological warfare division headed by the infamous Shiro Ishii.

But that didn't stop conscientious people from exposing the truth of how the illegal human experimentation had helped Japan's military aggression.

Yutaka Mio was the first Japanese to officially testify on the Japanese army's biological warfare program in the 1930s. The former imperial police officer was stationed in Japan's puppet state of Manchuria during World War II.

"Those people transported to Unit 731 were all used for experiments. I am very sure about that. They could never get out of there alive. I was on a transport mission specifically for Unit 731. We sent'Maruta'there."

"Maruta"is the name given to the experiment subjects for Unit 731. They were civilians and prisoners of war from China, the Soviet Union, the Korean Peninsula and Mongolia.

At the base of Unit 731 in Harbin, these defenseless souls were killed through vivisection without anesthesia, bacterial experiment, weapon testing and other horrible experiments. At least 3,000 people perished at the hands of Japanese "scientists".

From 1931 to 1945, Unit 731 also waged germ warfare in China with Unit 1644. Studies by Chinese and foreign scholars suggest that the number of Chinese victims is around 270,000.

To destroy the evidence, the retreating Japanese invaders blew up the base when the Soviet army took Harbin in 1945.The terrible experiments remained secret for a long time after the war. Instead of being tried for war crimes, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were given immunity in exchange for their data.

But recently, more and more materials relating to Japan's illegal human experimentation in World War II have been disclosed, such as the live dissections of American prisoners of war revealed at the Kyushu University's Museum.

But the "State of Denial" continues. So the world has every reason to be on alert at a time when many Japanese politicians and cabinet ministers pay respect to convicted war criminals at least twice a year, when documents and school textbooks systematically water down that part of history, and when Japan's government and parliament constantly push for a greater military role overseas.



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