Date of letter:1993-10-18
Address of author:Yixing City, Jiangsu Province
Date of event:1937
Location of event:Yixing City, Jiangsu Province
Name of author:Yao Yunsheng (narration) Zhou Aocai
Name(s) of victim(s):Yao Yunsheng’s mather
Type of atrocity:Air Bombings, Murders, Rapes（AB, MU, RA）
Other details:Japanese aircrafts often came out and sprayed bullets and dropped bombs in the sky above Yixing. The whole town was riddled with destruction. My mother was raped by the unpardonably vicious Japanese invaders before being killed, and the Japanese invaders stabbed 36 times in my mother’s body. My family received ferocious ravage from the Japanese imperialists, so we request Mr. Tong to help us to air grievances, make sure to ask the Japanese government to give compensation.
“Painful memory tainted in blood and tear”
Yao Yunsheng, Jiangsu, Yixing City, Dingshu Hospital
I read the article “Chinese Civilian ‘Claim’ against Japan is in Action”, interview with Mr. Tong Zeng, initiator of the “claim” action, on the Issue 515 of “Hunan Women’s Daily”.
It triggered my painful memory of “broken family and death tainted in blood and tear.”
I am Yao Yunsheng, now 68 years old, a retired physician of Jiangsu Province Yixing Dingshu Hospital, my home was previously in Jiazimen, Yixing, my father Yao Hanmin was a traditional Chinese medicine physician; I had an affectionate mother. Back then I was only 12 years old, and was still studying at Yixing Wumiao Primary school (my elder sister had married) the whole family of three persons lived a happy and stable life.
In 1937 the Japanese militarists invaded into China, because the ruling KMT government insisted on “settling internal conflict first before resisting external invasion” policy, instead it assigned its main military force to fight the Communist Party, therefore it passively combated the Japanese, and resulting in one after another defeat on the frontline of battle with the Japanese, back then the Japanese Imperialists often dispatched aircrafts to spray bullets over downtown area of Yixing City, dropped bombs, the common residents were terrified, at that time I had dropped out from school. There was no air defense facility in Yixing area, although the Japanese aircrafts flew very low, sometimes people on the ground were able to see aircraft pilots clearly, they could more accurately drop bombs and spray bullets more violently, one morning in the 10th lunar month, a batch of Japanese aircrafts came to wreck havoc; at that time several Chinese aircrafts also flew from the west to engage in air battle, in the end one Chinese aircraft was hit by the Japanese aircrafts and crashed in the paddy field bedside the Chengbei Highway. The Japanese invaders became more wanton in dropping bombs. Feeling there’s no guarantee of life and property, residents in the town one after another left the hometown.
In such terrifying situation, my father just picked up a suitcase and put in several pieces of change of clothing of the whole family, he needed both to take care of me who was still a child, and care for my 45 year old my mother with bound feet to flee to the countryside in order to seek temporary shelter and avoid bombing by the Japanese invaders’ aircrafts. Because in the countryside there was no relative to give help, we could only move to a small hilly mountain village called Xiaoling Village, which was 5 kilometers away from the city and 1.5 kilometers east of Ninghang Highway, and my father’s friend Zhou Lan lived there. Back then people living in Yixing area never experienced war turmoil, everyone was scared out of wits after hearing the bombardment by enemy’s aircrafts.
When we reached Xiaoling Village, everyday after breakfast we moved to the nearby mountain slope to find hideaway, this is because on the mountain we could use trees as shelter. One morning when I was on Donghua Mountain, one Japanese aircraft flew over where I stood and hovered above Yixing City, since I was only 12 years old and didn’t understand things, I stood in the trees on the mountain to watch the Japanese aircrafts dropping massive number of bombs, every bomb landed with a huge explosion, followed by thick smoke and conflagration, this time there were a total of 52 bombs, which reduced the entire downtown area into rubbles, especially Dongda Street which became piles of debris running several li long.
Several days later, Yixing fell into the hands of the Japanese invaders, the Japanese invaders burned, killed, raped and looted along the way. After the Japanese invaders entered Yixing City, they often went to the countryside to mop up and slaughter civilians, set fire everywhere, raped women, and wantonly looted things.
Xiaoling Village was a remote mountain village located on hilly terrain, when we saw the Japanese invaders come from a distance, people fled into the mountains to hide themselves. One day in the morning, the Japanese invaders entered the village for mopping-up, all villagers fled into sweet potato pit and covered the entry with straw, such sweet potato could be fond all over the mountain, back then no one had time to reap them, my father and my mother also ran toward Donghua Mountains, I also ran after them, but when I was running I lost sight of my parents, since I ran in a hurry toward the direction of the rising sun, when I felt hungry, I dug some raw sweet potato scattered on the mountain to fill the belly. When the sun began to set, I ran toward the west, when I approached Donghua Mountain, from a distance I heard my father was crying, I ran toward my father, when I reached my father’s side, my father clutched me with his hands and was crying bitterly. Father pointed toward my mother and said seven to eight Japanese invaders killed my mother after raping her, my mother was lying naked on the ground, her body was stabbed 36 times after being gang raped by the Japanese invaders. Back then my father was hiding in the grave circle not far away from my mother, and he was covered by pine branches so he was not discovered.
On this day villagers hiding in the sweet potato pit were discovered by the Japanese Army, several pits were first stabbed and then sprayed with bullets by the Japanese invaders barbarically, numerous victims died under the iron heel of the Japanese Imperialism invaders. When the sun set my father and I dared not enter the village, so we two spent the night in the concave ditch beside my mother’s body, since there was no quilt, we paved the ground with firewood and topped with some pine sticks, and covered the body with some straw, in the morning of the second day when we woke up our whole bodies were white, for it snowed in the night but we knew nothing. After the snow, people in Xiaoling Village learned that my mother was killed, they managed to find a mat with which they wrapped up my mother and buried her. Since then my family was totally broken up by the Japanese Imperialism invaders, my happy family was totally destroyed in one stoke.
We two could no longer live in Xiaoling Village, my father pleaded others to take a fishing boat and flee to my uncle’s home in Guanlin Town to settle down, on the first day of the New Year when I was 13 year old, I recalled my mother was not with me, other families had parents and siblings to spend the New Year happily, only I myself felt cold and had no warm clothing, and I missed mother so I cried from morning till night, and even skipped breakfast and lunch, my uncle and other family members failed to dissuade me despite their efforts, and they accompanied me to shed tears, and there’s no news about my own elder sister. One year later, Guanlin Town received bombing by Japanese aircrafts, more than 100 persons died, in that year I was 14, my father specially sent me to Dingshan town, in order to earn a living, I became an apprentice, I studied dental prosthesis and developed malaria, it was indeed miserable beyond description. In the occupied zone, I spent eight years as a colonial slave. After liberation and under the leadership of the Communist Party of China I become a medical worker, and live and work in peace and contentment, although the salary is not very high, it is enough to make a living. In particular, when I see our nation is becoming more prosperous each day and is catching up with developed countries, China’s international standing is improving each day, I feel proud and elated and relish the pride of being a Chinese.
I fully agree with Mr. Tong Zeng on the Chinese civilian claim against Japan, this complies with international law, my family has suffered deeply, and received violent persecution by the Japanese Imperialism for which we feel deeply indignant, for this reason I earnestly request Mr. Tong to demand the Japanese government to apologize to the Chinese people, and compensate for all economic losses.
Jiangsu Province Yixing City Dingshu Hospital
Physician of Dental Section Yao Yunsheng (name seal)
This is to certify the above statement of Comrade Yao Yunsheng is true, back then her mother was indeed killed after being raped by Japanese invaders, recalling the scenes at that time is a harrowing experience, there are many people who knew the condition, this statement is hereby issued.
Yu Chunmei (hand print)
Written by son Zhou Aocai (name seal)