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Chongqing bombing trial starts in Tokyo

Chengdu Evening News
June 16, 2009

At the Tokyo District Court yesterday, a judge heard the case of 22 Chinese victims of the bombing of Chongqing. The plaintiffs are demanding an apology from the Japanese government and compensation of 10 million yen each.

According to an earlier report, the victims, all of whom are from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, sued the Japanese government for the indiscriminate bombing of Chinese cities from 1938 to 1944, inflicting losses on their families and themselves.

In its analysis of the legal obstacles for the war compensation lawsuits against Japan, the article pointed out that one reason that many such cases are lost is that the Chinese government waived claims for war compensation in 1972 in a joint announcement with Japan. The announcement has been quoted frequently by the Japanese side in courts.

The newspaper's top headline reports that the government will levy a gift tax of 20% on the transfer of real estate property. Transfers between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and siblings will not be subject to such taxation. The new measure is intent to avoid a practice prevalent in the second-hand property market in which a tax dodge is disguised as a gift.

The sidebar announces that a draft version of an animal protection law may soon be passed. According to the draft law, which will be China's first law to protect animals from abuse, violators will face criminal charges.

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There are currently 11 Comments for Chongqing bombing trial starts in Tokyo.

Comments on Chongqing bombing trial starts in Tokyo

The problem lies with the Chinese government,which was too kind to Japanese by writing off their debts of war.
So no more "Nanking!Nanking!", it is only "Peking!Peking!"

eh, the chinese didn't exactly go away empty handed...they got to keep all the japanese facilities left in China from colonialism and the war..

not to mention the bigger issue of resetting sino-japanese relations, and bringing in japanese aid, investment and technology which has played a role in china rebuilding itself.

in my mind the bigger issue is not the money but the inability to put the past behind.

"the inability to put the past behind."

- What are you talking about, Bubba? Of course Chinese are able to put the past behind, such as the famine that killed 30 million people in early 60s, the individuals' role as consenting---if not enthusiastic---particpants in the Cultural Revolution, the beating-to-death of their high-school teachers (with belt buckles, no less) by teens in Beijing, the betrayl of friends and family members by ordinary citizens to authority in the darkest hours of PRC's history, etc. etc. If anyone is seeking truth and reconciliation for the worst that "Man Does to Man" within China, I am not aware of it.

We live in a very forgiving society, my friend. Don't you ever forget that.

The above being said, Japanese have not exactly been the most consciencious people om earth when it comes to past crimes. The recurring textbook controversies, the haggling over exactly how many got killed and raped in Nanjing...... in a way Japanese have brought shame and anger on themselves.

Which is not to say that Japanese, in both inhuman brutality and in that curious lack of contrition, are so UNIQUE. see above post.

If Japan had folowed the example of Germany in seeking reconciliation with the Jewish people, their relationship with their neighbors would be a lot different today.

@tom: that's probably true.

On the other hand, why Japan cannot behave in a similarly mature way like Germany is still open to hypotheses and cultural generalizations. So I'll just dutifully add mine. The German attitude has been forged not so much by the whole society's unanimous awakening but by the international political climate, and the heroic stances of a few leading politicians and religeous leaders.

That Japan's civil society and its nominal democracy have not produced a Willy Brandt or a Martin Niemöller of their own is obvious to anyone who follows Japan news and listens to the half-intelligent utterance from their manga-addled PM. One may blame the curious numbness of soul on the education system (learning by rote and hazing), politics (yakuza-like clans and cliques), family life ("cold domestic violence"), etc. No need to get into that.

But another factor is Cold War. US led the West allies that include Japan and Germany. Ironically this same factor produces two totally different attitudes of the WWII offenders towards their respective former victims. In much of post-WWII decades, Chinese were the enemy; therefore there's no pressure from US on Japan, an critical ally, to come clean on their war crimes. In fact US directly and indirectly (through Taiwan) protected many of the worst Japanese war criminals, incl. the staff of the notorious 731 Special Force that developed biological weapons via human guinea pigs.
On the other hand, the victims of Nazi Germany were the Jews; American Jews and Israelis are major players on the Good Side (well, mostly) during the Cold War. How can a post-war Germany who's so dependent upon US aid and military protection afford, morally, intellectually, and not the least ECONOMICALLY, to cover up their crimes towards the long-suffering and now powerful international Jewish community?

Japan will always have a prominent "special place" in China's modern history. Japan is hated not because how many they have killed, but because how Japan negatively affected China's history.

Honestly Nanking Massacre was "minor" compare to the 50+ years of constant bullying. Back during the early 20th century when China was trying to rebuilt itself and modernize, there was always Japan to be counted on to kick down and destablize China, and steal and extort whatever territory and resource it could.

It's simple really, China's modernization in the early 20th century was denied because Japan was always prancing around extorting resources that was meant to build China. The behavior peaked during WW2 when Japan was quite frankly trying to annihilate China. I think it's fair that wound from such a war of annihilation takes generations to heal.

That is not to deny Japan had positively influenced China in history, ie. Sun Yat-sen was assisted by some of his earnest Japanese friends. Japan was setting a role model for Asian modernization.

However, the net assessment is that the negatives has far out-weighed the positives. When discussing the history of modern China, Japan will always be prominently featured, in a negative way.

The Nanjing Massacre is still talked about in China today, just as in Japan where they still talk about the bomb. It is certainly difficult to forget the past, but why is this case coming up now? Check out Asia Chronicle ( they have great articles covering news throughout all of Asia.

I think Germany has actually always refused to compensate foreign individuals for losses incurred during acts of war, even for war crimes. You might want to do a google search for "Distomo".

I also believe the analogy between the holocaust and what happened in China between 1937 and 1945 is not really working. It's more like the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union. In fact, maybe one reason why the holocaust and the Japanese war crimes in China are treated so differently is that they ARE different?

As far as I am aware, the Soviet Union got nothing after WWII, except the stuff they could transport away themselves immediatly after the war.

Btw. both Willy Brandt and Martin Niemoeller had been opponents of the Nazi regime long before 1945. It seems a bit odd to call them products of Germany's post-war democracy.


Your comment that "both Willy Brandt and Martin Niemoeller had been opponents of the Nazi regime long before 1945" is correct, but it doesn't follow that "it seems a bit odd to call them products of Germany's post-war democracy."

Brandt and Niemoeller as INDIVIDUALS were indeed in existence long before 1945; but that's not what make them remarkable from a historical perspective. They are remarkable as HISTORICAL FIGURES, because they were lent political prominence, intellectual credibility and moral influence by the post-WWII German society. In this sense, yes, they are products of Germany's post-war democracy.

When I said "Japan's civil society and its nominal democracy have not produced a Willy Brandt or a Martin Niemöller of their own", you wouldn't have thought that I was in any way denying the existence of courageous individuals in post-WWII Japan who would acknowledge what Japan did to its Asian neighbors, such as the Nobel laureate Kenzaburō Ōe. But their voices remain cries in the wilderness, and their advocacy still receives little endorsement from the Japanese society at large. In this restricted sense, people like Ōe are, to paraphrase Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei, like lone autumn blossoms of moral integrity, blooming and falling on their own, garnering little audience with the rest of Japanese society ("涧户寂无人,纷纷开且落"). No, they are NOT products of Japan's so-called post-war democracy.

No one is trying to draw a precise analogy between Holocaust and the Japanese atrocity in China. Holocaust, as a systematic genocide driven by a deranged yet clearly defined ideology and conducted with ruthless efficiency, remains unique---and I hope it stays that way. I think what gave you that impression was my comment "the victims of Nazi Germany were the Jews", which was certainly incorrect, and which I would retract: he victims included gypsies, homosexuals, mentally disabled, communists, some Catholics, and the population in occupied territories, especially the Russians (however, an analogy of Japanese atrocities on Chinese with those committed by Wehrmacht to the Russians has its own problem, but that's a separate topic).

But else where in my post, especially through the two Germans I named as products of post-WWII moral awareness in German society, Niemoeller ("When they came for the......") and Brandt (Warschauer Kniefall: "Unter der Last der jüngsten Geschichte tat ich, was Menschen tun, wenn die Worte versagen. So gedachte ich Millionen Ermordeter"), it should be clear that we are comparing to the self-examination of Nazi German's crimes before and during WWII, not just the Jews. Still, "I misspoke".

The reflections on the German wrong-doings is not limited to the Holocaust, although the latter remains the ultimate testing stone of such moral awareness. For example, in post-WWII school education in West Germany, the curriculum aims at students' learning to recognize the following:

1. the destruction of a democratic government based upon the rule of law.
2. the enforcement of the Führer's principles.
3. total regimentation of the population through propaganda.
4. discrimination and terror, and the anti-human ideas of the prerogative of an Aryan race form the basis from which Hitler could unleash a world war and embark upon the systematic destruction of human lives.

How I wish this kind of methodical approach becomes part of school education in Japan, as well as in China (Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward, etc).

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