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China's oldest "comfort woman" dies at 96
Latest Updated by 2005-02-24 09:11:03

Zhu Qiaomei, the country's oldest surviving sex slave from World War II, was cremated yesterday (Feb. 23) after dying on Sunday at the age of 96. She was the only known "comfort woman" in Shanghai.

"Her only wish was to get justice," said Zhou Xin, 68, her son.

Zhu Qiaomei, China's oldest surviving sex slave from World War II passed away at the age of 96 in Shanghai. [file photo]

Zhu, who lived in Chongming County, was forced to be a so-called comfort woman by Japanese troops in 1938 when Japan attacked China and other Asian nations.

Along with seven other local women, Zhu was forced to provide sexual services for Japanese soldiers for about two years. At that time, she was two months pregnant.

"Their miserable experience will not be forgotten," said Zhu Miaochun, a local lawyer who has volunteered to help the women seek justice since 2000.

Zhu and his partner, Su Zhiliang, director of the China Sex Slave Research Center, have helped several former sex slaves around the country sign notarized papers intended to be official records of their humiliation by the Japanese soldiers since 2001.

According to Su, there are about 60 former sex slaves known in the country. Most haven't been notarized.

"It is urgent to retain the evidence by means of notarization since they are all in their 80s or 90s," Zhu said.

If they pass away, the notarized statements have legal standing in court, officials from the notarization office said.

If they don't document their past experience by means of notarization, their history will be forgotten by society after their death, Zhu said.

He added family members would be lacking in evidence when filing a suit and demanding compensation later.

Zhu was notarized in 2001.

"If the Japanese government pays sex slaves compensation one day, Zhu will be one of them," said the lawyer.

He pointed out that all the sex slaves he contacted thought it was a supreme disgrace in the history of mankind.

Materials provided by participants in an international symposium on the issue of Chinese comfort women in 2000 showed that China was the country that suffered the greatest harm from this shameful event.

Japanese troops established 83 "comfort centers" in Shanghai alone.

Editor: Olivia

By: Source:Shanghai Daily web edition
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