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Massacre survivor wins suit
Latest Updated by 2006-08-24 08:39:36
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A court in Jiangsu Province yesterday awarded 1.6 million yuan (US$200,000) to a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre in a lawsuit filed against two Japanese historians and their publisher.

In the first ever Massacre-related civil case involving people from outside China to be taken up by a Chinese court, a local court in Nanjing ruled in favour of Xia Shuqin in her lawsuit against Japanese scholars Shudo Higashinakano and Toshio Matsumura, and Tokyo-based publisher Tendensha.

In 1998, Higashinakano and Matsumura stated in their books titled "Thorough Review of the Nanjing Massacre" and "The Big Question of the Nanjing Massacre" that all historical data about the Massacre was not true and statements from witnesses including Xia and another survivor Li Xiuying were "faked."

The court ruled that Xia's reputation had been damaged and that she had suffered psychological trauma. The verdict demands an immediate end to the publishing of the books and all the books that have been published must be recalled and destroyed.

Xia is unlikely to see any money, however, as China and Japan don't have an agreement covering civil suits.

The two writers and the publishing house were also ordered to publish apologies in major Chinese and Japanese media outlets.

"I always believed the court would deliver a just verdict," said Xia, 77.

The Nanjing Massacre occurred in December 1937 when Japanese troops occupied Nanjing, China's capital at the time. More than 300,000 Chinese were killed, one-third of the houses in the city were burned and more than 20,000 women were raped.

On December 13, 1937, Japanese troops invaded Xia's home and killed seven members of her family. Xia, only eight-years-old, survived with her four-year-old sister.

Xia's lawyer said the massacre of Xia's family was filmed by John G. Magee, a US missionary and chairman of the International Commission of the Nanjing Red Cross.

Magee's famous films show Japanese soldiers making contests out of killing civilians. One scene shows them lining up in single file a dozen Chinese and firing a rifle point blank at the first to see how many bodies the single bullet would penetrate.

After Xia lodged the lawsuit, the Xuanwu District Court researched historical documents and visited the Memorial Hall of Nanjing Massacre Victims. The court held a public hearing on November 23, 2004, and another two days later, but the defendants did not respond to the charges.

In April 2005, the two authors sued Xia in a Tokyo District Court demanding she acknowledge that her suit filed in Nanjing had no basis. Xia went to Tokyo in June to defend herself against the lawsuit. They dropped the suit the day it was to be heard.

"The two Japanese authors dared not to appear in court in China and shied away from the Japanese courts. As a war victim, no matter whether it is in China or in Japan, I will always demand justice," Xia said yesterday.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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