Date of Letter:1992-10-14
Address of Author:Luoyang City, Heinan Province
Date of Event:Not mentioned
Location of Event:Rushan city (originally Rushan County), Shandong Province
Name of Author:Xu Shuntai
Name(s) of victim(s):Xu Shuntai’s father and fellow-villagers
Type of atrocity:Others (OT)
Other Details:When the Japanese invaded my hometown, they robbed the properties of my family. Once, when my father and uncle were in the mountain, they were found by the Japanese, who stabbed in their hands and released them because they did not seem to be soldiers. But the two could not work for several months due to the injury. Another time, several farmers who were sending provisions to the Eighth Route Army were found by the Japanese army and shot to death.
I am a senior engineer in First Tractor Factory. I read from Golden Age magazine that your organization had launched a civil claim against the Japanese Government for reparations for the civilian losses suffered during the invasion of Japanese imperialism. This is absolutely righteous and justifiable, and has expressed the voice from our hearts. It won our unreserved support!
I understand the need for the governments of two nations to focus on the future rather than the past. But the disasters, war traumas and huge losses that the Japanese invaders brought upon millions of Chinese civilians should be settled. The Japanese Government has the inescapable obligation to compensate the Chinese people for their losses! Here I join in the signature campaign.
My hometown is Shandong Peninsula, the setting in novels Bitter Flower and Spring Flower. This is the place where the Japanese invaders have devastated and brutalized for the longest time and most seriously. It was only 30 lis (1 li= 500 meters) from Japan’s stronghold ‘Shuidao’.
Although I was little at that time, some shocking scenes and circumstances are still vivid in my mind, while some were told by my older generation. I chose one or two for your reference. I cannot remember the exact dates and hope it doesn’t matter.
One day around noon, the Japanese invaders came again. My father, elder brother and elder sister had already escaped into the mountains. My second elder brother and I were too little to go, so we stayed with our mother at home. Two Japanese soldiers with flap caps and bayonet guns broke into my home with the latch bar holding the door. They were saying something, but we could not understand. They knocked the ceiling with the latch bar and said something again. Finally, they rummaged the closets and chests, looted some stuff (can’t remember specifically, mostly some clothes and quilts), and took away several chickens, a pig and the only means of production in my family – donkey. After they left, my father, elder brother and elder sister discussed for a while and concluded that it was impossible to find the chickens, pig and clothes, but maybe the donkey could be found. That night, they searched in vain for it until late night. They asked around the villages nearby the days after, but came back empty-handed. Fortunately, the whole family was safe and sound. From then on we farm the field with the ‘human plow dragged and carried by ourselves.
Another time, all of us fled; my mother, neighboring aunts and I escaped to a ravine and the Japanese didn’t find us. The kids were not allowed to cry or shout. If a kid cried, he would be given nipples to keep his mouth shut. Some kids were suffocated to death because of it. At that night, my father came home with both hands bleeding. Later he told us: he and an uncle escaped to the mountain and hid in bushes, but were found by the searching Japanese. They said something and started to beat and kick my father and uncle. Then they found the two were neither soldiers nor cadres, and there were no calluses on their hands from operating rifles, so the Japanese stabbed on each of the two’s hand with bayonet and released them, causing them unable to work for months.
‘Fleeing from Japanese’ became our daily routine. People were in fear and trembling day and night. Once when we came back, we found our wheelbarrow looted by them, maybe used to transport the food and clothes they have ransacked. Anyway, the stuff they would like to take has all been taken.
One other time, on the road east of our village, when civilian workers were delivering ‘provisions’ to the Eighth Route Army, suddenly a big ‘old (carrier) aircraft’ appeared in the sky. It was flying low, and when the workers were discovered, two small planes (now called fighters) flew out from the carrier aircraft, dived and strafed towards the workers back and forth. The plane body almost touched the pine trees at the mountain top. The winds and sand brought by the planes and the mud splashed by the machine guns shots made dust swirl all over the mountains. Although the civilian workers scattered around, many people, livestock and vehicles still fell down……
Yet another time, the Japanese besieged East Shandong. The retreating Chinese force had to deploy a platoon to tie up the Japanese to allow the majority Chinese force to transfer safely. The platoon eventually all sacrificed their lives bravely. The monument to commemorate these soldiers stands tall and upright on ‘Xidashan’ now.
There were also a few times when some Chinese troops passed by our village, we saw a lot of wounded Chinese soldiers with broken arms and legs, which was too horrible to look at. Some war horses’ legs bore big wounds, oozing blood and pus and attracting many flies……
After I grew up, I realized most of the Japanese who ransacked and robbed here came from their stronghold at that time – Shuidao (or occasionally Laiyang, Yantai), which was exactly Daoshui in Feng Deying’s novel.
As mentioned above, I support the claim of reparations against the Japanese Government and I will participate in the signature campaign. If you come to Shandong Peninsula, you will find a lot of people who would like to support the claim and join in the signature event. I don’t know if Feng Deying has participated. If not, he will surely do.
Please keep in touch and write to me if you need anything.
Infrastructure Department, First Tractor Factory
October 14th, 1992
Origin: Rizhaozhuang Village, No. 7 District (Fengjia District), Rushan County, Shandong Province