Date of letter:1993-03-01
Address of author:Hanchuan City, Hubei Province
Date of event:1939-12-25（lunar calendar）
Location of event:Hanchuan City, Hubei Province
Name of author:Xiong Zenghua
Name(s) of victim(s):Xiong Zenghua
Type of atrocity:Air Bombings (AB)
Other details:On December 25, 1939 on the lunar calendar , I found a toy bomb left deliberately by the Japanese in the grass in the wilderness. All of a sudden a huge blast ripped off my right hand, and my right eye also became blind, resulting in lifelong disability. Please find the attached signatures of victim family members and photos. I demand Japan to give damage compensation.
Respectable Tong Zeng,
I read from the monthly magazine Reader’s Digest of October 1992 that in your reply to the compatriots, you emphasized that the just call for damage compensation from Japan has caused strong response at home and aboard, you’ve received nearly 1,000 letters from readers and over 300,000 people across China have signed to support the claim for damage compensation from Japan.
Therefore, with my personal suffering, I indignantly charge Japanese imperialists with heinous crimes they committed during Japan’s war of aggression against China.
I was born in Chengguan Town, Hanchuan County, Hubei Province and my family had lived in Gaopo, Huanlecheng for generations. On one afternoon in the autumn of 1937, with roar of guns coming from warships in the river, the Japanese army invaded Hanchuang. The local people hurried to escape out of the county with their families. I was then only 7, kept crying out of fear and ran with my mother as she held my hand.
The next day, over 200 households in Gaopo, which accounted for 1/2 of the land of Hanchuan County, were divided as the Japanese area. My 76-year-old grandmother, over 10-year-old older brother and I began to live a horrible life (to keep our house) with a squad of Japanese soldiers who were stationed in our house, while my father, mother and 8-year-old older sister had to flee to my grandmother’s house in Makou to avoid misfortune.
On lunar December 25, 1938, that is January 1939, I was playing a toy shaped like “copper nut” (a toy bomb purposefully thrown among wild trails by the Japanese army. Meanwhile, a boy of my age from Duan’s Grocery Store also found a new, dazzling gold toy bomb as mine because I compared mine with his before mine blew up and I wanted to exchange mine with his. After the incident, his parents threw his into a well) using my right hand after supper and when it collided with the stone stairs in front of Liu family’s house, it suddenly exploded. The huge sound of explosion frightened the Japanese army so much that they shouted wildly and immediately closed 5 gates to Hanchuan County. Soon, the fully-armed Japanese army carried out a search under the lead of traitors. Before the truth was known, the Japanese army thought the Eighth Route Army had entered the county.
My poor tender right hand was badly mutilated by the explosion. I was numb with hurt and ran to home while crying. But as I bled too much, I blacked out before I got home after running for about 10 meters. When I recall the past tragic scenes, it feels like a nightmare.
My wounds were wrapped up and later I regained consciousness. That night, I lied in my grandmother’s bed, cried aloud all night and tore the mosquito net apart because of extreme pain that was beyond description. My poor old grandmother and young older brother were taken to the puppet county government headed by officer Yan to testify how the bomb got into my hand. They weren’t released home until late in the night.
My right middle finger was totally cut off by the explosion, along with two joints of the right forefinger and one joint of the right thumb. My right ring finger was curved like a hook (cannot be stretched until today) and only the right little finger which isn’t very useful remains intact. Moreover, my right eye was nearly blinded (right eye eyesight is only 0.1) as it suffered from traumatic cataract due to the strong light resulting from the explosion. My injury in the right hand and right eye is solid proof of the crimes of the invading Japanese army. In 1951, in its war against Korea, the United States also used toy bombs to kill Korean children. (At an accusation meeting during the movement to resist United States’ aggression and aid Korea in 1951, Director Ma Niuxiao contributed my speech draft to Hubei Daily, which was published.)
Over RMB 20,000 was spent on treating my injury apart from physical pain and mental trauma. (During over 100 days of treatment, I had tremella rubra for breakfast, bread and egg for launch and supper and no rice at all.) Without nutritious food like that, it’s impossible that I live to this age!
Japanese area in Hanchuan County after the Chinese army regained its occupation
From Huanlemen to Yangtaisi and from Ximen to Jixianxiang, over 200 residential houses were all demolished and multiple wells were filled with corpses. The debt cannot be compensated with money! With chilly wind, broken roads and a few people, no one dares live here anymore.
Huanle Street after the People’s Liberation
Over 40 years since the People’s Liberation, Hanchuan has taken on a new look. With various shops, Roasted Chicken Restaurant, Bus Station and fair market, the bustling Huanle Street becomes a downtown area. My grandparents once build a house on a piece of land of over 300 square meters near today’s Roasted Chicken Restaurant, which is worth over RMB 100,000.
List of victims and family members
March 1, 1993
Victim: Xiong Zenghua
March 1, 1993
List of victims and family members
March 1, 1993
A recent photo of Xiong Zenghua with an injured right hand and right eye is provided below.
I am willing to provide labor and money, if needed, to support the non-governmental organization responsible for claiming damage compensation from Japan. (Please reply)
Postal code: 432300
Address: Xiong Zenghua, No. 12, Zhafangtai, Chengguan Town, Hanchuan County, Hubei Province
The above photo was taken on March 8, 1993. The victim’s injured right fingers and blinded right eye are solid proof of Japanese imperialists’ crimes in their war of aggression against China 50 years ago.
Victim and survivor: Retired teacher Xiong Zenghua