Date of letter:1992-08-09
Address of author:Changsha City, Hunan Province
Date of event:1944-1945
Location of event:Hebei Province
Name of author:Zhang Yilian, Zhang Yixian, ZhangLi
Name(s) of victim(s):Zhang Wenbin (Zhang Yixian’ s father)
Type of atrocity:Slave Laborers, Others(SL, OT）
Other details:Zhang Wenbin, Zhao Qingzhu, Han Jie and others were captured by the Japanese Army from Hebei to Japan on April 14, 1944 to work as Slave Laborerss, and were sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment and detained in Hiroshima. Zhang Wenbin used alias Gao Qingzhen when being captured. Note: The envelope is missing
After receiving the call, I learned that you have been busy working for my father’s persecution and ravage afflicted by the Japanese Militarism and atomic bomb, for which I wish to express my deepest appreciation.
In early July I came to Beijing to attend a meeting, and visited your work place, originally I wanted to have an in-depth discussion of my father’s matter with you, unfortunately you were on a business trip to Hong Kong, other comrades were not clear about this matter, it’ s a pity I missed this chance of direct interview and discussion with you, after that I found Japan “Asahi Shinbun” Beijing Branch, coincidentally the Japanese journalists went to Kunming, I only talked briefly with their interpreters and assistants who were Chinese, and only left behind a document about my father, which could be regarded as having established certain relation.
At the NPC meeting in March, we learned that you and some delegates put forward a proposal demanding Japan to give war damage compensation, for which everyone of my family expressed firm support, Japanese Militarists had brought great sacrifice and heavy disaster to the Chinese people. My father is one of the victims, and even today he often talked about the persecution of the disaster, for his reason, my whole family remember it with deep impression, you have the courage to stand out, and utter inner most voice and wish on behalf of we Chinese people. We sincerely admire you from the bottom of our hearts, we also hope that under your leadership, we could make some beneficial contribution in this aspect. Today we have established contact between us, in the future if you have any arrangements or instructions, we will do our best, after all it’s for the interest of the Chinese people, and we feel fearless.
Enclosed is a copy of my father’s document, previously I planned to directly mail it to relevant departments of the Japanese government, but on second thought I found it inappropriate, it’s best to first seek instructions from an expert like you, then we will have better chance of success. Enclosed please find a photo of my father in the early days of liberation and a photo of recent years.
At approximately the end of September I may go to my company’s Beijing Headquarter to study, before coming I will first give you a call, then we could have a good discussion when we meet. If you have anything urgent or important, please give me a call.
With you all the best
We are citizens of the People’s Republic of China, currently residing at 3F Xiguan, No. 20 Dachunqiao, Shuyuan Road, Changsha Hunan Province. Today I want to recount a painful incident buried deep in the heart of my whole family, i.e.: On April 14, 1944, our father was captured by the Japanese Invasion Army in Qiu county, Hebei Province, and sent to Niigata Prefecture, in Japan, to work as slave labor, and was tortured without no reason and sentenced to five years of imprisonment, he was detained in a “China Prison” in Hiroshima City in Japan, as a result he suffered injury of atomic bomb explosion, he was suffered mentally and physically, resulting in great anguish to the whole family, for which we want to complain to the Japanese government.
The following are details of our father’s persecution and injury experience:
My current name is Zhang Wenbin, aged 71, retired from Xiagntan Municipal Finance Bureau, Hunan Province in March 1979, and stayed at home. I changed my name to Gao Qingzhen after being captured by the Japanese Invasion Army.
On April 14, 1944, I was captured by the Japanese Invasion Army in a mopping up of Qiu County area in Hebei Province, back then I was working at the Fourth Branch of Jinan Bank, I used an assumed name Zhang Zhenyuan, others being captured along with myself included Zhang Qingtian, Gao Xuzhi, Zhao Qingzhu, and Hanjie. After capture I was detained at a Japanese Puppet Police Station in Linqing County in Shandong Province. At that time, I used an alias name Gao Qingzhen, one month later I and other more than one hundred people detained there were escorted to Jinan in Shandong Province and detained at a place called Xinhuayuan, it was then that we learned we would be sent to Japan to work as slave labors, the place was guarded by the Japanese Invasion Army, and the actual administrator was the Puppet Labor Association. Batches of people were sent here, where they changed clothing, then were escorted to Japan in batches. The three hundred people in our batch passed Qingdao in September in that year, and took ship to reach Shimonoseki in Japan, followed by train to Niigata Chinese Slave labor Administration Office in Japan. Each day we were forced to carry heavy cargoes at the wharf, loaded and unloaded cargoes transported by ships and trains. At that time it was already very cold in Niigata, but we slave labors had no adequate clothing and quilt, the temperature was low, and the condition was poor, frequently we would also receive harassment and beating from the Japanese foreman, each meal we had only a small steamed bun, weighing only about 100 grams, which was far form enough, if one fell ill there was not at all any medical treatment, coldness and hunger forced many slave labors to die there with swallowed tear and bitter hatred.
One day soon after the New Year’s Day in 1945, we were working at the port, suddenly several fierce-looking Japanese policemen came up to me, it looked as if something dreadful had happened, then they handcuffed me, and without explanation brought me to the Niigata Police Station, I was immediately interrogated: “Do you know one man called Deng Guangyuan?” I said: “I haven’t heard of the name”. They took out a photo and said: “This person”. I said: “I once saw this person in Linqing, Jinan when we were in China”. On the second day two Japanese policemen escorted me to Hiroshima Kake Police Station. I stayed at Hiroshima Kake Police Station for one month, their main topic of interrogation was, since you felt dissatisfied toward Japan, were you dispatched by the Chinese government to come here and create destruction? I insisted they were all very clear about the way we came to Japan, and why Chinese felt dissatisfied with Japan, there’s no need to answer the question. As to destruction, what had been destroyed? Are there any evidence? There’s none! Finally it turned out that the so-called testifier was Zheng Guangyuan, the so-called evidence was that my action to stood out and obstruct the foreman after two slave labors were beaten by the foreman without provocation when I was working in Niigata as slave labor. Later I wrote down this incident on my own dairy book, these became criminal evidence. One day the Japanese policemen asked me to take my own belongings and took a truck, at this moment I met Zheng Guangyuan, Jia Dengchun and Zuo Baogui on the vehicle, Zuo Baogui was very ill at this time, he looked too ill to recover. Afterwards we were escorted to Hiroshima Local Court, where we were sentenced to five years of imprisonment on the groundless accusation of dissatisfaction to Japan, and intention of destruction. We were immediately detained in a “China Prison” in Hiroshima City. Inside the prison we had to work each day, the clothing, food and facility were all inferior to those in Niigata Port. We so-called “prisoners” had to face death at any moment. From this it can be inferred that under the governance of Japanese Militarism, there were no law, no human rights, no humanity and no fairness.
On August 6, 1945, on this day the prison authority neither asked us so-called prisoners to build air defense, nor did they ask us to go to work, so we all sat in our respective cells, at around 8:15, suddenly we saw something flashed outside the window, like a lightning, we didn’t hear any big noise, but the sky immediately darkened, then the house crumbled, at that time we thought it was an air attack, and climbed out of the crumbed houses, and groped our way into the air raid shelter, in this short moment the sky brightened, but at this time we found people looked like coal-miners, with both hands and face black, the ground was also black, trees all died, all houses in the prison crumbled, but the enclosure wall circling the big prison was still there because of its height and thickness, but at this moment the enclosure wall was engulfed in leaping flame. Since we could not stay at the Hiroshima Prison, the prison authority escorted us to Yamaguchi Prison which was not far from Hiroshima, several days later they again sent us three Chinese back to Hiroshima, and returned our original belongings, they announced: Now the war was over, it’s peace, you could return home. We removed prison clothes, and changed into our own clothing, and left the prison. On the way to Hiroshima Railway Station, we took a final look at the devastated landscape of Hiroshima, the entire Hiroshima had become a place of ruins, only several dilapidated houses remained near the railway station near the mountain. As it turned out, Hiroshima City received atomic bomb attack, I was one of the victims, and personally experienced this disaster, but unlike Hiroshima local residents, I am an imprisoned Chinese citizen being captured and persecuted by the Japanese Militarists, and experienced this disaster inside the Hiroshima prison, I was a survivor of the disaster.
We three Chinese, Zheng Guangyuan, Jia Dengchun and I, transferred several times along the way from Shimonoseki in Japan, we crossed the strait to reach Jeju, Seoul in Korea, later crossed the Yalu River to reach Andong in China (now Dandong), it was a pleasant experience to return to motherland. After returning to China, people said I had slow response, like an idiot, I personally felt my memory was poorer than before, the mind also worked slowly, physical condition was weak, later after examination by the clinic, apart from poor memory, my heart, red and white blood cell, liver, lung, and stomach were all abnormal, later I learned anyone who had experienced the atomic bomb attack would develop a kind of atomic disease, even if he had not died, not only the victim himself was affected, his offspring would also receive impact, after several dozen years, nearly all organs in the whole body had undergone pathological changes, the treatment and rehabilitation lasted several dozen years, a lot of money was spent to treat the illness, the whole family suffered badly, due to long time mental and economical burden, it was indeed untold misery, I myself was unable to work after the 1970’s, now I’m old, and the illness deteriorated, the body was weaker, the shadow of atomic disease followed me and there seemed no end.
I was captured by the Japanese Militarism and forced to go to Japan to work as slave labor, and was tortured on groundless accusation, followed by imprisonment after sentencing, then received atomic bomb attack, this series of persecution experience, as well as the subsequent illness torment spanning several dozen years brought huge burden to the family and a series of impact, the complaint was lodged against the Japanese government. It is denouncement against the crime committed by the Japanese Militarism in its invasion into China, it is hoped in today’s age when the relation between the People’s Republic of China and Japan is developing normally, the Japanese government can follow relevant articles of the international law and Japan’s treatment method for the persecution and injury of its own citizens, in the humanitarian spirit, impartially treat and handle the complain from me, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China.
About the above-mentioned facts and experience of our father’s persecution and injury by the Japanese Militarism, relevant testimonial materials can be found in the part about Chinese worker management at the Japan Niigata Prefecture Archive Office, and archives about the then Kake Police Station and the then Hiroshima “China Prison” of Hiroshima City Archive Office, Hiroshima City the then local court archives of Hiroshima City. Meanwhile, archives of relevant departments of the Hunan Provincial Government, and Xiangtan Municipal Government of the People’s Republic of China can be searched for verification. My whole family demands the Japanese government to, departing from the standpoint of ensuring long lasting friendship between Japanese and Chinese peoples for future generations, attach importance to this matter, on the basis of clarifying and corroborating whole process of the incident, follow relevant articles of the international law, as well as the treatment method of the Japanese government toward citizens sustaining same persecution and injury in its won country and humanitarian spirit, give impartial treatment as soon as possible.
Our whole family strongly demands the Japanese government to
1. Give us written open apology (persecution and injury to my father)
2. Openly revoke the five years of imprisonment sentence based on torture and groundless accusation to my father by the Hiroshima city local court.
3. Give economic compensation for persecution, injury, direct and indirect economic loss totaling USD 1,010,000.
(1) Salary compensation for working as slave labor: USD 50,000
(2) Compensation for mental and physical ravage as a result of torture and interrogation & sentencing to five years of prison: USD 50,000
(3) Compensation for direct damage by atomic bomb: USD 100,000
(4) Compensation for huge amount of medical treatment fee, nutrition fee for extremely poor physical condition and long time illness caused by atomic disease spanning several dozen years: USD 500,000
(5) Compensation for long-time mental stress and pain due to illness and torment caused by atomic disease: USD 500,000
(6) Compensation for long-time mental and economic burden to the family due to long time illness, especially meticulous care by my wife: USD 100,000
(7) Compensation for mental and economic burden of the families of children due to hereditary poor physical condition as a result of father’s atomic disease brought to the later generation: USD 50,000
It is hoped that the Japanese government will study the above complaint and give reply as soon as possible.
Complainer: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China
Children of Victim Zhang Wenbin, aka Gao Qingzhen
Zhang Yiyun: Cadre of Human Resource Bureau, Gedian Development Zone,
Ezhou City, Hubei Province, China
Zhang Yixian: Cadre of Changsha Semi-conductor Material Factory,
Changsha, Hunan Province China
Zhang Li: Cadre of the Finance Section, Provincial Water Conservancy
Department, Changsha, Hunan Province China