THE BAYONET BUTCHERS; One of the Worst Atrocities in History Is Dismissed in a New Japanese Text Book as a Mere 'Incident', Sparking Riots across China. So What Is the Truth about the Rape of Nanking?
Byline: ANDREW ROBERTS
SHE was just 19 and seven months pregnant when she was dragged from her hiding place to a house from which no other Chinese woman had been seen to emerge alive. It was a house where the victims were raped and then brutally murdered afterwards.
'I knew that if they dragged me there then I would also die,' recalled Xiuying Li later of that horror-filled day in her home city of Nanking, in south-east China. 'So I deliberately banged my head into the wall and became unconscious.' The men left her where she lay - there was no fun to be had in raping a girl who was unconscious - but they returned to her hiding place the next day, determined that they would seize her.
'There was one Japanese soldier who saw me and he began to drive the other women out of the room. And he came for me. He wasn't as tall as me and I bit him. He shouted and two other Japanese soldiers came and they began to bayonet me. I got lots of wounds in my face and lots of blood came out. Then I became unconscious again and they thought I had died and they left.' It was not until her father came to the hiding place to take her body outside and bury her that he realised that Xiuying Li was alive. He took her to hospital for treatment to her multiple injuries.
She lost her baby on the second night there. Later, her father told her that their wooden home had been demolished to make a camp fire for the Japanese.
Xiuying Li's experience was just one of the multitude of atrocities perpetrated by invading Japanese soldiers against the Chinese inhabitants of Nanking in the most concentrated act of slaughter in human history.
Nowhere on earth in any conflict had so many been killed so quickly and so brutally as during the winter of 1937 after the Japanese had taken the city.
The Rape of Nanking - so named because of the grotesque scale of the carnage - is an episode of genocidal behaviour so violent it has become known as the Forgotten Holocaust.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese died during the blood-drenched six weeks it lasted. As many as 20,000 women were raped and then killed - usually by having their breasts cut off or by disembowelling - to make sure they would never tell of their trauma.
Civilians, women, children, the elderly, the infirm, prisoners of war - none was spared the carnal, atavistic attention of the Japanese army. Yet for nearly 70 years, Japan has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the full horror of what took place.
Indeed, the Tokyo government has just officially approved a school textbook that disgracefully glosses over the Nanking massacre as a mere 'incident'.
So infuriated by this abominable deception are the Chinese - for whom the horror of Nanking is still one of the defining events in their history - that anti-Japanese riots have broken out in several cities and outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
This weekend in Shanghai, China's biggest city, 20,000 rioters smashed windows at the Japanese consulate, wrecked Japanese noodle bars and overturned Nissan cars while Chinese police looked on.
Japan has demanded that order be restored and its citizens protected - at the very least, it believes an apology is in order. But Beijing refuses to cooperate, responding: 'The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologise to the Japanese people.' Relations between the two countries have fallen to a new low. As a result of the Japanese 'amnesia', China is refusing to consider Japan's demands to join the United Nations Security Council until it faces up to the horrific truth of its behaviour between 1931 and 1945, when it invaded large parts of China.
Of course, we in this country know how the perverse pride of the Japanese made it impossible for them to properly apologise for the monstrous way our prisoners of war were tortured during World War II, still less to compensate adequately their victims when the majority were still alive. …