Date of letter:1993-09-29
Address of author:Kunming City, Yunnan Province
Date of event:1941, 1942
Location of event:Qinyuan County, Changzhi City, Shanxi Province
Name of author:Zhang Xianwen
Name(s) of victim(s):Zhang Xianwen’s father and two uncles, etc.
Type of atrocity:Murders, Others( MU, OT）
Other details:After the Japanese invaded my hometown Qinyuan County, Shanxi, atrocious crimes were committed by burning, killing and looting. My two uncles were smoked to death with poison gas in a coal mine by the Japanese. My father was captured in the winter of 1942 and tortured. He then ran away, got injured and died. My houses were burnt down too. Other victims include Dong Su, Wang Baocheng, etc.
Demanding Compensation Against Japan
Japan led by its Emperor launched a massive war of aggression against China between 1931 and 1945. The invading Japanese army occupied our land wherever they went, killed our people, raped women, burned our houses and robbed our property by implementing the Three Alls policy. After occupying my hometown Qinyuan, Shanxi, the Japanese invaders killed the villagers, raped women, burned houses and robbed our property. There were corpses everywhere. According to preliminary statistics, during their period of occupying Qinyuan, Shanxi, the Japanese army killed 9,153 Chinese people, burned down 246,935 houses and robbed and killed livestock, food and property, the value of which is immeasurable. We and the generations to come will never forget the debt that Japanese invaders owe to us and we strongly demand Japan to compensate the Chinese people for their losses as soon as possible.
Calculated according to the postwar international practice and the reparations programs of some other countries, between 1931 and 1945, Japanese invaders caused losses of 300 billion USD to China, among which about 120 billion USD is the amount of war reparations and 180 billion USD is the amount of civilian compensation. In other words, the Chinese government only gave up war reparations of 120 billion USD in 1972 (by signing the Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China).It has never given up the civilian compensation of 180 billion USD. We must demand civilian compensation against Japan until Japan offer an official apology and provide compensation to victims. .
For example, my grandmother was burned alive by Japanese invaders in Hanhong Temple of the Dragon King in November 1940 during the horrifying Hanhong Massacre. My two uncles were gassed to death by Japanese invaders in a coal pit at Meiyaogou, Hanhong in October 1941. During the 6th raid in the winter of 1942, the Japanese army captured my father and tortured him for 3 months. During his third (attempt to) escape, my father got injured from jumping from the enemy’s blockhouse and died that night due to loss of blood. Additionally, the Japanese invaders burned my family’s 10-room 2-storey building and 10-room bungalow, and robbed and killed a head of cattle, a donkey, 30 sheep and a horse, etc. So Ren Junfeng and his family demanded a compensation of about 200,000-300,000 yuan against Japan. The following are signatures of retired cadres who also demand compensation:
Shi Yongxiu’s 4-member family including Han Leng, Shi Yunlong, Yang Jingfang.
Dong Su’s 6-member family including Nan Jingyun, Nan Hongying, Nan Ziji, Nan Kaiguo, Wang Yuping, Nan Xiaogang.
Wang Baocheng’s 4-member family including Li Caiping and a son and a daughter.
Liu Keqian’s 6-member family including Hao Caifeng, Liu Qinyun, Liu Qinxiang and two daughters-in-law.
Tang Xiuyun’s 7-member family, including Zhang Langji, 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Yang Dong’s 6-member family including Hao Yubing, Yang Xizhen, Yang Xiuzhen, Yang Xiuying and Yang Jianping.
Li Zhenshi’s 6-member family including his wife, sons and daughters.
Wang Fuxiang’s 6-member family including his wife, sons and daughters.
Shi Guanghua’s 5-member family including his wife, sons and daughters
Sun Jun’s 7-member family including Ma Zhi, 2 sons and 3 daughters.
Cao Xianzhi’s 7-member family including Sun Wenlan, 4 sons and 1 daughter.
Hu Xiurui’s 6-member family including You Zhengquan, sons and daughters.
3 of Zhang Xianwen’s family members were killed by the Japanese army.
Zhao Zhixiu and Liu Mingfu’s father Zhao Xingwu was killed by the Japanese army.
Yang Tianbao, Liu Linyan
September 29, 1993
Comrades from Qinyuan:
Demanding compensation against Japan can further improve our patriotism. Please read this article and if you have any opinion or idea about it, you may write to Comrade Tong Zeng.
Pursuing Justice Against Japan
On December 9, 1992, the first international hearing on Japan’s post-war compensation was held in Thinking Auditorium, Kanda, Tokyo, Japan. Laborers from many countries and comfort women including 8 from China attended the hearing.
At the hearing, the person who could hardly suppress emotions was Tong Zeng.
Tong Zeng is 37 years old from Chongqing, Sichuan. He once studied International Law at Sichuan University and Peking University where he obtained a master’s degree in law. He now works with the China Research Center on Aging.
One day in 1989, Tong Zeng read an article about Eastern European countries demanding compensation from East Germany and West Germany. He thought of what happened to China and a strong sense of national responsibility sized him and made him devote himself to what he’s going to do.
After studying extensive data, he wrote a 10,000-word opinion letter and submitted it to the Bureau for Letters and Calls of the General Office of the National People’s Congress.
Afterwards, he published in newspapers an article titled Enlightenment of Eastern European Countries’ Bringing up Again the Issue of War Reparations to China, in which he explained the difference between war preparations and damage compensation in accordance with the International Law. Soon, the article was reprinted by dozens of domestic newspapers such as People’s Daily and Worker’s Daily.
He has received one after another victims of Japan’s war of aggression against China who came to Beijing from all over the country, arranged meals and accommodation for them and submitted materials for the victims to the Japanese Embassy in China again and again despite a round trip of over 4 hours between his home and the Japanese Embassy.
182 Chinese laborers from Shandong who were badly tortured in Japan came to Tong Zeng and Tong Zeng immediately submitted their materials to Japan, demanding a compensation of 5 million yen per person.
Over 20 Chinese students studying in Japan were regarded as members of the Tokyo Branch of the Communist Party of China and were cruelly beaten by the Japanese army and only 4 of them survived. Tong Zeng submitted their materials to the Japanese Embassy in China.
Last August, a private school teacher from Meng County, Shanxi Province sent Tong Zeng the materials about several women forced to be comfort women for the Japanese army.
In August 1991, when Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki KAIFU made a friendly visit to China under invitation, 108 Chinese citizens including Tong Zeng, Chen Jian, Yang Yi, Li Chengyi and Tang Xingwu sent Toshiki Kaifu a petition demanding a damage compensation of 180 billion USD from Japan.
Thanks to the efforts of Tong Zeng and Chen Jian, etc., the issue of demanding compensation against Japan was discussed at the Fifth Session of the Seventh National People’s Congress in March 1992 and was listed as a formal proposal of the session.
Meanwhile, since August 1991, Tong Zeng, etc. have launched a massive signature campaign of “demanding damage compensation against Japan”.
Last March, Tong Zeng published a public letter to the Japanese Parliament through the Japanese press.
The public letter states that we will collect 100 million Chinese people’s signatures of strongly demanding a damage compensation against Japan until Japan makes a formal apology and compensation.
A spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in a speech on March 11, 1992 that, civilian victims of the Anti-Japanese war could directly demand compensation for losses against Japan.
When replying questions of a Japanese reporter before his visit to Japan in April 1992, General Secretary Jiang Zemin said that China has given up the claim for war reparations against Japan, but hasn’t set any limit to civilian claim for compensation.
Estimated based on the compensation amount demanded by other countries and in accordance with the postwar international practice, Japanese invaders should in theory compensate about 300 billion USD for our losses, among which there is about 120 billion USD of war reparations and about 180 billion USD of damage compensation. In other words, in 1972, the Japanese government only gave up about 120 billion USD of war reparations, but not 180 billion USD of damage compensation.
(By Yang Liwen in Sichuan News on January 16)