Agony endures 75 years after massacre

2012-12-14 16:01
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Chinese Culture
    Read all you need to know about the Chinese culture in this insightful title. Now R447.00
    buy now

Nanjing -Three quarters of a century after Japanese soldiers butchered her family and left her for dead, Xia Shuqin says she relives her terror with every denial that the Nanjing Massacre ever happened.

As the Imperial Japanese Army entered China's then capital city on 13 December  1937, Xia heard pounding at the door.

Within minutes, seven of her family lay dead, killed by invading troops on the first day of two months of slaughter, rape and destruction now known as the Nanjing Massacre.

Part of the conflicts that led up to World War II, it stands as the Japanese military's worst atrocity and remains a bitter strain on the two countries' relationship.

Xia's father was shot as he opened the door, before the troops dragged her mother from under a table, still clutching Xia's 1-year-old sister.

Both were bayoneted to death - but not before Xia's mother was gang-raped.

"They threw my sister to the ground and held my mother on the table, ripping at her clothes," she told AFP, her voice breaking.

Two children from the neighbouring house were also killed as Xia hid under the bedclothes in a back room along with her three other sisters, her grandparents sitting on the bed.

For a moment there was silence, then the troops entered, shooting her grandparents in the head before raping and killing her 15- and 13-year-old sisters.

"I was only eight years old at the time, but I knew what had happened to my older sisters, that they had been raped and had died enduring terrible pain and suffering," she said.

"I cried so much that I could barely see anymore. It makes me sad every time I think about it."

Surviving

Xia was stabbed three times in her back and shoulders and passed out. She woke to find she and her 4-year-old sister were the only ones to have survived the slaughter.

The two girls hid among the decaying corpses for 10 days before an elderly couple found them and took them to the International Safety Zone, a makeshift refugee camp set up by foreigners who had stayed in Nanjing to try to prevent further killings.

The massacre continues to have a deep impact on modern-day relations between China and Japan, not least because both sides differ on the scale of carnage.

China says 300 000 people were killed, while in an inconclusive joint study two years ago the Japanese side pointed to "various estimates" ranging from as low as 20 000 to 200 000.

But some fringe analysts and ultraconservative politicians in Japan dispute that atrocities ever took place in the city, known as Nanking at the time.

"I am over 80 years old now and I am still receiving this kind of bullying and humiliation," says Xia, who has spent the last 12 years fighting Japanese deniers through the courts.

"They said that the massacre was false. That it didn't exist. This is not possible as my knife scars are still there," she told AFP, pointing to her back and shoulder, her eyes glistening with tears.

Safe-guarding history

The two Asian powers are now the world's second- and third-biggest economies and have developed deep trade ties, but the weight of history bears heavy on their relationship.

China sees itself as having been humiliated for decades by Japanese imperialists, and earlier this year a wave of anti-Japanese demonstrations broke out across the country, triggered by Tokyo's nationalisation of disputed East China Sea islands.

Japanese firms shut or scaled back production and Chinese consumers shunned Japanese brands, while US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of the risks of escalation.

Some outside historians believe the Nanjing Massacre was an intentional attempt to terrorise China into total surrender, while others argue that, drained by months of combat, the soldiers sought to claim the "spoils of victory".

Recognising history

"Across China people are still bitter over what happened in Nanjing and during the invasion," said Wang Weixing, deputy director of the Institute of History Studies of Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Science.

"It is now 75 years since the massacre, but the Japanese refuse to recognise their history."

China accuses Japan of glossing over its wartime past in some school textbooks, and reacts with fury every time a leading Japanese politician visits the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, where the souls of the country's war dead are enshrined including 14 Class A war criminals, among them Iwane Matsui, commander of Japanese forces at Nanjing, who was executed after the war.

But Chinese dissidents say Beijing nurtures anti-Japanese sentiment as part of the Communist Party's tightly scripted, historic claim to a legitimate right to rule. Artist Ai Weiwei said this year's protests were "prepared" by Beijing.

Tokyo says it has "deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind" over its role in the war.

"Japan candidly acknowledges that during a certain period in its history, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries," says the foreign ministry.

But Xia believes the official position does not go far enough, and wants the Japanese legal system to take a harder stance.

"We should confront the deniers," she said.

Success

In a Japanese court in 2007, she successfully sued Shudo Higashinakano, a professor at Tokyo's Asia University, and his publisher for claiming she was a fraud, winning ¥4.5m in compensation.

In another case involving a second book a court in Nanjing awarded her ¥1.6m for defamation.

The publishing house defends both books as "genuine academic research", while Higashinakano has told AFP that the figure of 300 000 deaths was a claim "politically motivated by the Chinese Communist Party".

Xia's lawyers are seeking to have a Tokyo court enforce the Nanjing ruling.

"If it is accepted, this will deliver a strong message to the right-wing Japanese massacre deniers," said Tan Zhen, of Jiangsu FD Yongheng law firm.

"This will have great significance. It is about safeguarding history and upholding justice."

Read more on:    china  |  japan
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.