CHINA / National

Survivors may take Japan's shame to world
Updated: 2006-05-22 07:04

Survivors of the Pingdingshan Massacre, in which Japanese soldiers slaughtered more than 3,000 Chinese civilians in 1932, say they will bring the Japanese government to the International Court.

The Japanese Supreme Court last Tuesday rejected their 10-year lawsuit for an apology and compensation.

"We will continue the lawsuit even if we have to go to the International Court," said Yang Baoshan, an 83-year-old survivor and spokesperson for the Pingdingshan Massacre claimants.

Three survivors including Yang Baoshan launched the lawsuit in 1996, demanding the Japanese government admit the crime and apologize and pay survivors 20 million yen (about US$182,000) compensation.

The Japanese court on Tuesday acknowledged there was a massacre, but dismissed the claim. The Tokyo District Court and the Tokyo High Court ruled against the plaintiffs in 2002 and 2005.

All three courts said the Japanese government cannot be sued for acts committed before the State Compensation Law was enacted in 1947.

The Pingdingshan massacre is seen as one of the most despicable crimes of World War II.

Invading Japanese soldiers killed more than 3,000 women, children and elderly of Pingdingshan Village near Fushun City in northeast China's Liaoning Province on September 16, 1932.

The villagers were murdered just a day after the Mid-Autumn Festival which celebrates the harvest moon and for centuries has been a time for family reunions in China.

"The Japanese soldiers told us they were going to take our picture and gathered us in a group," said Yang Yufen, an 83-year-old survivor who was just 9 years old.

"But under the black cloth they didn't have cameras, they had machine guns. The soldiers even bayoneted bodies to ensure the villagers were dead."

"I survived because my parents shielded me with their bodies. Eighteen members of my family were massacred."

It's estimated that 20 to 30 villagers survived the massacre.

The Japanese soldiers burned and buried all the bodies the day after they shot them. They also burned down 800 houses in the village, wiping it off the face of the earth.

Yang Baoshan lost his parents in the massacre. He was shot twice and still remembers that there were six machine guns firing at the villagers.

Before the lawsuit, Japan would not even acknowledge the massacre.