Chinese victims of Japanese
atrocities during World War Two and their family members protest outside
Japan's embassy in Beijing May 31, 2007. A group of about 25 Chinese,
including former forced labourers and at least one elderly woman forced to
be a sex slave, made a protest in front of Japan's embassy in Beijing.
Forcing women to become sex slaves was a crime organized by the Japanese
military during Japan's invasion of China in the 1930s and 1940s, according to
an investigative report published yesterday.
The first report by the Investigative Committee on Former Chinese "Comfort
Women", co-founded by All China Lawyers' Association (ACLA) and China Legal Aid
Foundation, traced 17 more survivors besides the ones who have already sued the
During its probe from September 2006 to March 2007, the committee found 14 of
the 17 survivors were less than 18 when they were forced to become "comfort
women", with the youngest being just 12.
the newly identified women were from North China's Shanxi Province and one from
South China's Hainan Province, said the report posted on ACLA's website. The
committee focused on five counties in Shanxi, two in Hainan and six in Yunnan.
Kang Jian, one of the lawyers behind the investigation, interviewed all the
17 survivors. "Now they are all in their 70s or 80s but they still suffer from
serious mental and physical trauma," he said.
The Japanese army even tortured these "comfort women" by slashing them with
knives or burning their faces with cigarettes.
"Many of them have no children and live in poverty. They told me their
biggest wish was to get an apology and compensation from the Japanese
government," Kang said.
But Tokyo has refused to pay direct compensation to any of the estimated
200,000 women, mostly Asian, saying all claims had been settled by subsequent
In April, Japan's top court rejected compensation claims of two Chinese women
forced into the military brothels.
"Japanese courts have dismissed three Chinese 'comfort women's' lawsuits,
while the fourth is going on," Kang said. "We carried out the investigations in
a way that the documentation would help the court case."
The committee also released photographs of six Japanese officers' confessing
about how they had "arrested" Chinese women and set up military brothels. Even a
temple at Tengchong County in Yunnan Province was turned into a Japanese army
The "comfort women" practise lasted at least 16 years in China, the report
Su Zhiliang, director of the research center on "comfort women" in Shanghai
Normal University, said more than 200,000 Chinese women were forced to become
"comfort women" and over 75 percent of them were tortured to death.
"It's a shame that the Japanese government has rejected compensation pleas
because the regulations and certificates show that the Japanese army and its
government had forced women into prostitution," Su said. "In Hainan alone, there
were 67 military brothels; there were more than 158 in Shanghai."
(China Daily 07/04/2007 page2)