Address of author:Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province
Date of event:1941
Location of event:Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province
Name of author:Lou Qiuxing
Name(s) of victim(s):Over 200 people including Lou Xiaofang, etc.
Type of atrocity:Air Bombings, Biological/Chemical Warfare(AB, BC)
Other details:The Japanese bombed my house and my sister Lou Xiaofang died of Black Death. In 1941, a plague was spread from Qu County, Zhejiang to my hometown Yiwu City killing over 200 people in total.
Comrade Tong Zeng:
I’ve read the article “A Wave of Civilian Compensation” by comrade Li Peiyu from the Jinhua Daily. I am deeply touched by the article and admire you for it.
I am 68 years old, a retired cadre from Industrial and Commercial Bank of Jinhua, Zhejiang. I lived my childhood and adolescence through the 8-year anti-Japanese war. The Japanese army bombed my 100㎡house. The plague that followed took away my dear sister Lou Xiaofang when she was just 7 years old.
During a movement to protest U.S. aiding Japan with arms and germ-biological warfare in 1950 as the U.S. invaded Korea, I published an article on the plague in Zhejiang Daily (about in the first half of 1950), charging Japanese imperialism with atrocity. If you want to read the article, I can get it from Zhejiang Daily, and then send a copy to you.
At that time, the plague spread from Qu County, Zhejiang to our hometown Yiwu. The Japanese army produced and spread plague bacteria across Qu. A conductor with Yiwu Railway Station living in my third grandmother’s house attended a meeting at Qu, came back to Yiwu with the plague and died days later. It was followed by massive death and escape of mice. Days later, a maid of my grandaunt died, followed by the couple living opposite us, and then my sister Lou Xiaofang died shortly in over 20 hours after being infected. Afterwards, the plague spread fast to suburbs and countryside of Yiwu. Over 200 people died. The disease was gradually controlled and eliminated through great efforts. It’s said that the leader of the Sanitation and Anti-Epidemic Department of Zhejiang also caught the plague and died.
I’m looking forward to your reply. If you need any help, I will try my best to help you. Goodbye, best wishes to your health and your endeavor!
Lou Qiuxing (Personal seal)
July 9, 1992
Complaints Against the Japanese Army for Crimes of Germ Warfare and Atrocity
In 1941 during Japanese imperialism’s war of aggression against China, the Japanese army carried out brutal germ warfare, the plague, along the Zhejiang-Jiangxi railway. My hometown Yiwu suffered tremendously from the plague, where over 200 people died within months, including my innocent lively 7-year-old younger sister Lou Xiaofang.
My family’s original house was located at No. 5, Beimen Street, Choucheng, Yiwu, Zhejiang. In the autumn of 1941, I was 17 years old in the first grade in Shanghai Junyi High School of Diankoushang Village (the school was relocated there from Shanghai), which was 7.5km from Yiwu. I heard that the plague hit Yiwu. I was so worried that I left the school to check on my mother and younger sister. After I got home, I saw my younger sister as innocent, lively and happy as always. She innocently and vividly described to me about our neighbor’s death.
After lunch, my mother and I talked about how fast the plague was spreading and that we should leave here soon due to the death of rats in the house and nearby neighbors. With the consent of my mother, I took them to grandfather’s house outside the east gate (Yikan) in the afternoon. My younger sister was so happy to see the grandparents, uncle and aunt. She was so polite and got along well with the kids there.
At night we slept in the guest room, and my sister was healthy when she went to bed. But in the middle of the night, my mother quietly woke me up and sadly told me: “Your younger sister has a fever!” I was shocked and jumped up. I ran to my younger sister and kissed her forehead. She was indeed having a fever. My heart just sank.
My mother and I decided to keep this a secret and go home early tomorrow. We were so worried and couldn’t even get any shuteye throughout the night, wondering why this misfortune would happen to my younger sister.
Early the next morning, we quietly left the grandfather’s house before their neighbors got up. My grandparents saw us off sorrowfully, saying that nothing would happen to my lucky younger sister. If only that were true!
I carried my younger sister on my back on the way home. She rested her head on my shoulder in a low spirit due to the fever and my mother held on to her swaying body.
After getting back home, we decided to live in the two new furnished rooms near our vegetable garden as rats died in the house and were running away to other places.
At that time my family lived in an epidemic area, but fortunately it was not blocked off. We bought our food from the street, but we had no appetite. My mother just cried and feeling helpless. I ran around to fetch doctor. But they refused to come to our house partly because they were afraid to be infected and partly because there were no effective medicine. They gave me some anti-inflammatory and antipyretic pills.
After taking the ineffective medicine, my younger sister’s illness became worse. Her cheeks were so flushed and lips cracked. She was constantly sleeping and murmuring, “I am going…I am going…” My superstitious mother seemed to be aware that ghosts were calling her. She touched her thigh and found two large scrofula hunches.
At night, my mother suddenly heard ghostly cries outside our house and asked me to listen carefully. I also heard sound like “hæ, hæ” and felt the creeps.
At midnight, my younger sister suddenly wanted to drink tea. I gave her cooled warm water; she drank most of it. She seemed calm, but a while later she began to have painful spasms. Several minutes later, she stretched her legs and stopped breathing like a broken Guzheng string. She opened her eyes wide, with eyeballs rolled up and unwillingly left my mother and me and this world.
My mother suppressed sadness for fear of disturbing neighbors and just held my younger sister tight. After all, she was taken away way too early by the germs Japan infected her with. At last, I persuaded my mother to let her go, put her on the ground and wrap her with a mat.
Next was how to bury my younger sister. My mother was numb with sorrow and wouldn’t stop beating her chest. We couldn’t let others know about my younger sister’s death because my neighborhood was quarantined. The County epidemic prevention station would forcibly put the relatives of those who died in the epidemic area in quarantine. All the relatives would be taken away and some healthy people might be infected in the quarantine hospital after they got there. We didn’t believe we were infected, so to avoid being put in quarantine, I sawed off the bed board and used all pins on the wall to make a small coffin and put my younger sister in it. Then, I dug a hole in our vegetable garden, put the coffin in it, covered it with mud and planted vegetable shoots in the mud. It’s perfect camouflage.
It was almost noon after my younger sister was buried. We took some clothes with us and quietly slipped out the back door. I took my mother on a train boarding for Jiande, which was hundreds of kilometers away and the place where my father was working.
When passing Jinhua, I took my mother for a physical examination at the Jinhua epidemic prevention station to check whether we were infected by the plague. The results read “unsure”.
The next day, we got on a train to Lanxi and then took a boat to Jiande. My father had learned from newspaper that the plague hit Yiwu, so he knew what had happened when he saw my mother and me without my younger sister. My mother sobbed for over 1 hour upon seeing my father.
I lived at my father’s for a week. Luckily, my mother and I didn’t catch the plague. Then, I went back to my hometown and my school.
When I returned to school, I found my belongings had been moved to a lime room filled with lime. Many classmates all thought that I was dead.
Lou Qiuxing (Personal seal)
Born in Yiwu, Zhejiang, 68 years old
Current address: No. 14, Zhongshan Road, Jinhua, Zhejiang
Retired cadre from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of Jinhua