December 14, 2018



Sequence number:s0314
Date of letter:1993-03-02
Address of author:Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
Date of event:1944
Location of event:Gaizhou City (former Gai County), Yingkou City, Liaoning Province
Name of author:Tong Shunzhi
Name(s) of victim(s):Tong Shunzhi and his townsmen
Type of atrocity:Slave Laborers(SL)
Other details:In February 1944, the Japanese conscripted labor in the rural area of Gai County, Liaoning. Each household was required to contribute young adults of appropriate age. So I went for my father, along with 400 people in the county. We suffered from hunger, cold; we did heavy work and were beaten up. During the time, I was forced to do labor for nearly a year. Regarding the claiming compensation from Japan, I don’t know how to do it. Please let me know.

Comrade Tong Zeng:

How do you do?

I am a retired cadre from the Supply and Marketing Cooperative of Liaoning Province. I wanted to thank you for the enormous efforts that you’ve put in in filing the claims for compensations to Chinese comfort women and forced laborers during Japan’s war of aggression against China. I am deeply grateful to you for speaking up for those who sustained so much suffering under forced laborers, like me.

In February 1944, I was forced into labor for nearly 1 year. I would like to file for compensation also. Please let me know what the criteria are to whom the claim should be submitted to. Please take time to inform me out of your busy schedule. . Thank you.

Attached is a brief description of my experience as a forced labor.

Tong Shunzhi
March 2, 1993

My Experience as a forced laborer

In February 1944 when the Japanese militarists occupied northeastern China, they went house by house in the villages of Gai County, Liaoning Province to capture and conscript young and able farmers to work in hard labor. My father, Tong Xinmin, met the age requirements and must be a laborer for the Japanese. Since he was the primary wage earner of my family, I, then 18 years old, took my father’s place and went in his name. Throyghout the time I was known by his name.

Over 400 people from Gai County were taken and, grouped in a brigade and sent to Japan by armed Japanese soldiers in boxcars. We arrived at Wuchagou Railway Station near the Sino-Mongolian border after 3 days on the train. While on the train, the door was locked from outside. We were not allowed to get off; a rectangular wooden box was placed inside the boxcar as a toilet. After getting off the train, we walked to a deserted ravine where we were forbidden to leave and kept in isolation. Every day, Japanese soldiers, gendarmes, foremen and brigade leaders of various levels took us to repair and build earthen military projects. We worked until the winter and snow started to fall. Then we were sent back to Gai County.

We lived in a make-shift hut of 30 meter long and 5 meter wide, with an entrance on one side. A ditch was dug along the centerline as a corridor and we lived on either side of the corridor. About 100 people lived in each hut. It was difficult to sleep at night in hot and humid summer with bugs biting around.

We ate buns of corn and rice mixed with salt-boiled soybeans. Since meal was scarce and rationed, we dug wild vegetables or caught animals like frogs and snakes when we were hungry. We never had any fish or meat to eat.

Our clothes and shoes were worn badly from heavy work, so some people work without clothing and with bare feet. There was no medical treatment when people got sick. There were always the brutal beatings by the Japanese leaders at any time. Most of us became a bag of bones and over 20 people died from the hard labor. Every one of us’ life was in danger and we hoped to be able to go home alive soon.

We lost track of time and had to judge the season by the wane of moons and the color of grass and trees. Live in the labor camp was scant and crude. We made fire with worn and twisted cotton and cloth, sewed dining utensils with birch bark and covered our bodies with cement bags to keep warm. In a word, living condition was extremely difficult and miserable. It’s been 50 years. Not many of us were still living. Hopefully I will see Japan make some compensation to us in my lifetime.

Victim: Tong Shunzhi
March 2, 1993

Care of the Retired Cadre Office, the Supply and Marketing Cooperative of Liaoning Province
Address: No. 48, South Huanghe Street, Huanggu, Shenyang, 110031


Slave Laborers(SL)
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