Thu, Aug 24, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Nanjing Massacre witness wins suit against authors


A Chinese court has awarded a Nanjing Massacre survivor 1.6 million yuan (US$200,000) in compensation after ruling in her favor against two Japanese historians who claimed she fabricated her account of the atrocity, state media said yesterday.

The court in Nanjing ruled that Xia Shuqin (夏淑琴), who was eight years old at the time of the massacre by Japan's Imperial troops, suffered psychological trauma and damage to her reputation from the allegations by the two Japanese scholars, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Shudo Higashinakano and Toshio Matsumura claimed in two books, A Thorough Review of the Nanjing Massacre, and The Big Question of the Nanjing Massacre, that historical accounts of the event were untrue. The books, published in the late 1990s, also claimed that accounts by Xia and another survivor, Li Xiuying (李秀英), were faked.

The Nanjing court's verdict also requires the Japanese publisher, Tendensha, to immediately stop publishing the books and recall those already distributed, Xinhua said.

Higashinakano, 58, rejected the ruling, saying both Japanese and Chinese law would require the case to be heard in Japan to have any validity.

Hiromichi Moteki, the president of Sekai Shuppan Inc, which published an English translation of Higashinakano's book, said that the demand to stop printing the book was "unthinkable."

"These books are written based on firm facts and evidence. This ruling lacks common sense," he said.

Historians generally agree that the Japanese army slaughtered at least 150,000 civilians and raped tens of thousands of women during their 1937-1938 occupation of Nanjing. China says up to 300,000 people were killed in Nanjing during the rampage of murder, rape and looting by Japanese troops, also known as the Rape of Nanking.

Li, who died in December 2004, won a defamation case against Matsumura in Japan in April 2003 and was awarded ?1.5 million (US$12,900). Li, 18 years old and pregnant at the time of the massacre, was slashed by swords while hiding in an American mission school, she said.

According to Xia, now 76, on Dec. 13, 1937, a group of Japanese soldiers forced their way into her family's home in Nanjing and murdered seven of her family members.

Xia and her four-year-old sister were seriously injured but escaped, she says.

Last year, Higashinakano and Matsumura filed a lawsuit against Xia in Tokyo District Court demanding that she acknowledge that her lawsuit in Nanjing was groundless. In May, Xia countersued the two men in the same court. The Japanese men dropped their lawsuit.

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