Fri, Apr 08, 2005 - Page 1 News List

World War II veterans slam May Chin protest

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yang Liao Shu-hsia, who was conscripted as a military nurse by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the civil war, yesterday displays photos of her colleagues from that era. She said thousands of Taiwanese were forced to serve and fight by the KMT. She was protesting outside the Taipei office of Aboriginal Legislator May Chin.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

A coalition of veterans who served in the Japanese military during World War II and their families protested outside the legislature yesterday, voicing support for Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Shu Chin-chiang's (蘇進強) visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.

Bearing banners with the words "ignorant, audacious May Chin (高金素梅)," about 20 male veterans and women who served as military nurses during World War II voiced their grievances outside the independent Aboriginal lawmaker's office for her criticism of Shu's trip to the shrine.

May Chin on Tuesday evening led protesters at CKS International Airport to meet Shu and eight other TSU members returning from Japan. Shu was jostled by the protesters and pelted with eggs as he headed for the exit.

The Yasukuni Shrine is dedicated to Japan's 2.5 million war dead and lists the names of 28,000 Taiwanese and 21,000 Korean soldiers, most of whom were forced to serve in the Japanese army.

Yesterday's protest later moved into the legislature to hold a press conference at the TSU caucus office. Taiwanese independence activist Su Beng (史明) said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) should be held responsible for the controversy over Shu's visit to the shrine.

"Not only does Shu's trip make sense, but the timing was also right," he said. "I don't understand why Taiwanese people cannot pay respect to our own people."

Su said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government maliciously abandoned Taiwanese veterans after World War II ended.

About 200,000 Taiwanese were recruited as "volunteers" to fight for the Japanese in Southeast Asia during the war. About 30,000 died.

Instead of bringing the remaining 170,000 survivors home, the KMT government turned its back on them, Su said.

Chen Chun-chin (陳峻卿), president of the Association for the Bereaved of Taiwanese Serving as Japanese Soldiers, said the exact number of Taiwanese enshrined should be 30,303, and it made perfect sense for Taiwanese to pay respects to their own people.

"I don't know why it is wrong to visit my old comrades or let others pay their respects to them on my behalf," said Chen, 81, who survived the war after serving for one-and-a-half years.

Chen said his association had asked previous KMT governments on three occasions to seek compensation from the Japanese on their behalf, but to no avail.

"Then-premier Lien Chan (連戰) told us that our request did not make sense because Taiwan's government took over a good number of properties from the Japanese government," he said.

TSU caucus whip Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said that his party would endeavor to help Taiwanese men forced to serve as Japanese soldiers and Taiwanese women who served as sex slaves to seek compensation from the Japanese government.

Lo also said that his party would collect information on the 28,000 Taiwanese whose names are listed at the Yasukuni Shrine and build a shrine for them in Taiwan.

Chairwoman of the Association for Taiwan Independence Yin Tsu-chi (殷子期) questioned May Chin's objections.

"If she's speaking for the Chinese, I don't think she's qualified," Yin said. "If she's speaking for the Taiwanese, she seems to be clueless about the history of Taiwan and Taiwanese values."

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