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China publicizes confessions by Japanese war criminals
Full texts of confessions by 45 convicted Japanese war criminals will be published online on Thursday.
Handwritten confessions, along with Chinese translations and abstracts in both Chinese and English, will be published on the website of the State Archives Administration, according the administration's deputy director Li Minghua. The administration will publish the confessions one a day over 45 days. The confessions, signed by the war criminals, are scans of the originals.
"These archives are hard evidence of the heinous crimes committed by Japanese imperialism against the Chinese," Li said.
"Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, disregarding historical justice and human conscience, has been openly turning black into white, misleading the public, and beautifying Japanese aggression and its colonial history since he took office," Li told reporters.
"This challenges WWII achievements and the post-WWII international order.
"The administration has made these documents available online before the 77th anniversary of the July 7 Incident to remember history, take history as a mirror, cherish peace... and prevent the replay of such a tragedy," Li added.
The July 7 Incident, or the Lugouqiao Incident, in 1937 marked the beginning of China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, which lasted eight years.
A 38-page confession by Suzuki Keiku, assistant commander of the 28th Infantry Regiment and later lieutenant general and commander of the 117th Division of the Japanese army, is the first made available.
He ordered a Colonel Taisuke to burn down the houses of about 800 households and slaughter 1,000 Chinese peasants in a mop-up operation in the Tangshan area in January 1942. He murdered 1,280 peasants in Daizhuang Village, Panjia, Luanxian County by shooting, bayoneting, slashing and burying them alive, then burned down all 800 houses in the village in October 1942. He ordered the setting up comfort stations, and forced about 60 Chinese and Korean women to serve as comfort women in 1945.
There were 1,109 Japanese war criminals in custody in China between 1950 and 1956, according to Li. Of them, 1,017 with minor offenses were exempted from prosecution and released in 1956 and 45 received military trials under the Supreme People's Court that year.
The 45 were charged with planning and implementing an aggression policy, making germ weapons, releasing poisonous gas, conducting experiments on living humans, killing, stealing property, forcible recruitment of "comfort women", rape and driving people out from their homes.
The 45 were sentenced to imprisonment of between eight and 20 years.
"Making the original documents available online will show that the confessions were written and signed by the criminals themselves," Li said.
The original documents repudiate Japanese right-wing politicians' denial of wartime crimes in China, according to Jiang Lifeng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences: "Moreover, they will reach broader audience and help those who do not know the truth learn about the bloody history."
In April, Jilin Provincial Archives made public a total of 89 documents relating to Japans wartime crimes in China. Twenty-five relate to comfort women. Those documents constitute only a small portion of nearly 100,000 files in the provincial archives from 1931-1945, found during construction work in 1953.
Su Zhiliang of Shanghai Normal University, said gathering, researching and exhibiting material was not merely "playing the history card".
"It defends WWII achievements and protects the collective memory of the world's anti-fascist endeavor," Su added.
The administration is sorting archives of confessions made by the 1,017 with minor offenses to make them public.
[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 03Jul14]
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