Date of letter:1993-03-13
Address of author:Zoucheng City, Shandong Province
Date of event:1938
Location of event:Dangshan County, Suzhou City, Anhui Province
Name of author:Tang Hongbo
Name(s) of victim(s):Many of Tang Hongbo’s relatives
Type of atrocity:Murders, Others, Other Massacres（MU, OT, OM）
Other details:In 1938, the Japanese army invaded my hometown and cruelly injured or killed people. My uncle, grandfather, aunt and many family members were killed by the Japanese soldiers. Common people became destitute and homeless. The Japanese soldiers fired with machine guns and killed many people. In spite of half a century after the Japanese invasion of China, we will never forget the scenes forever. All my family firmly requires Japan to make war reparations to comfort the souls of the dead.
Respectable Mr. Tong Zeng,
I”ve received your reply dated December 13. My whole family has been greatly comforted and inspired! The humiliation we suffered for fifty five years has been removed. Our innocent dead relatives would be pleased if they knew about this. We are truly grateful to you for your act of justice and generosity. My whole family would like to send you our sincerest gratitude and highest regards.
The family members of the dead are distributed in Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Gansu, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Ningxia and Hong Kong, etc. We have lost touch with some of them over the years and are looking for them, which requires time. Most of those who were in their thirties when the tragedy struck have passed away. I am looking for elderly and survivors who fell down in blood during the tragedy but are still alive today. I am writing this letter of claim based on memory and can only provide incomplete information such as the whereabouts and names (infant name in most cases and no surname) for only 44 out of 48 dead victims.
In the past two months or more, I printed many copies of the article entitled History Is Not Forgotten and your reply letter and sent them to the relatives and family members whose whereabouts I know of. They all replied and expressed their support for this righteous activity. I am collecting more information and carrying out the signature campaign. I am now sending you this letter of claim for your review and instructions. I will send supplementary materials and signature forms later after they are ready.
By the way, I have a question to ask. The then property losses are hard to accurately calculate as most of the people familiar with the matter have passed away. We can only give a rough estimation, is that ok?
At last, what else can I do? Please tell me promptly. I am looking forward to your reply. I am a retired senior engineer and hope to do something for my family and the nation. Once again, please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to you and your colleagues. I wish you good health and best of luck.
Second Retired Staff Community, Mining Bureau of Yanzhou, Zoucheng, Shandong
March 12, 1993
Charging the Japanese Army with the Flagrant Crime of Carrying out the Dangshan Yuelizhuang Massacre on May 17, 1938 and Firmly Demanding Damage Compensation Against Japan
We were born in Tangzhai Village, Dangshan County, Anhui and have been farmers for generations. After the July 7 Incident (the Lugouqiao Incident), Japan pressed forward the invasion against China and Chinese cities fell consecutively to the Japanese army. In 1937, many air-raid shelters were built in my hometown to protect the people from being bombed by Japanese planes. Relatives from remote places such as Xuzhou escaped to the countryside for protection.
Feng County fell in the first half of 1938 and the battle in Dangshan was intensified. On the morning of May 17, the businessmen fled away from the fair as the sound of gunshots and tanks was getting increasingly closer and a big balloon was floating in the air. With a “boom”, a bomb was dropped in Tangzhai. “The Japanese are coming!” The unarmed civilians, terribly frightened, hurried to escape with their family by pulling a cart or carrying baskets of property. The people flooded into the main roads and small alleys and hurried towards the north…
“Boom boom boom! Toot toot toot!” The sound of bombs and gunshots was getting louder and louder. More people and vehicles crowded the roads in a panic. Old women prayed quietly, “God bless Tangzhai! God bless my family!” Mothers cried and children screamed. The flames soared high into the sky in Ximen, Nanmen and Tangzhuangtulou, etc. The people looked ashen. Finally, the army came. They shot any Chinese people they laid eyes on. The people quickly hid among the fields, ditches and pits, leaving luggage all over the places.
The invasion of the Japanese army tortured the Chinese people, and yet Chiang Kai-shek helped them and let innocent Chinese people be massacred.
Under the extremely urgent situation, my grandfather Tang Shutang (he was a member of the Public Anti-Japanese Mobilization Committee organized in December 1937 by Guo Zihua, a member of the General Mobilization Committee of the Fifth War Area, under the call of Ten Guiding Principles for Anti-Japanese and National Salvation) led my whole family and relatives, totaling over 100, to flee to the northeast. We encountered a Japanese soldier in Yuelizhuang, who, with a map in his hand, asked us about the direction to Zhangji, Tangzhai and Tangzhuang. Then, the soldier went westward. The refugees were even more terrified and many of them left Yuelizhuang.
Soon later, two large groups of Japanese army entered the village via two routes and one group marched towards the refugees. The evil Japanese soldiers robbed us of livestock and property and threw our stuff all over the ground. They constantly called us “moron”. The people were in terror. Suddenly, an officer angrily blew a whistle which made all Japanese soldiers alert. Those soldiers who went far quickly returned to Yuelizhuang after hearing the whistle. All of them were fully armed with bayonets and guns and took the Chinese people as mortal enemies. This is the prelude to the Yuelizhuang Massacre.
A Japanese soldier seized my uncle Tang Qingzhen and brutally beat him. Then, another 3 Japanese soldiers took away my uncle Tang Qinggong, ordered him to strip off his clothes, then beat him and shot him in the face, killing him on the spot.
After that, a shifty-eyed Japanese soldier gestured my grandfather to kneel down, but my grandfather held his head high. The soldier shouted and suddenly raised his bayonet at my grandfather. My eldest aunt Tang Qingyun stood up and firmly grabbed the bayonet. The soldier went hysterical, throwing my aunt far away, cutting off her four fingers and bayoneting her in the chest and head. Her blood and brains spattered the ground. Thus, my eldest aunt was cruelly killed.
The righteous act of my eldest aunt provoked brutal retaliation of a group of beasts. Several Japanese soldiers brutally bayoneted my grandfather until his blood and brains spattered the ground. Thus, my grandfather was cruelly killed in the hands of the Japanese fascists.
Armed with bayonets and guns, Japanese soldiers forced all refugees into a large pit in Lunan, where they shot them with machine guns. Many people instantly fell in blood and the injured cried in pain. Then, the Japanese soldiers bayoneted the dying to death. The sound of shots, screams and groans mixed together. How tragic it was!
My younger brother who was born days ago screamed loudly out of fear. An inhuman Japanese soldier stabbed the bayonet into his mouth and pointed him high in the sky. His face and head were completely mashed. What an outrageous crime!
My grandmother Tang Shufen and Mrs. Tang, eldest uncle Tang Qingzhen, eldest aunt Zhou Guifang, second eldest uncle Tang Qingrui, second eldest aunt Tang Qingfang, my family’s helper Lou Yuying’s wife, Zhang Bitao and Yang Xintian were all killed. My seven-month pregnant aunt would rather be killed than insulted. She rebuked the Japanese soldiers for their brutality, so the inhuman soldiers opened her chest, killing both her and her yet-to-be-born baby. It was too horrible a sight to see.
My uncle Tang Qingzhang tried to escape. He struggled to get out of the pit, but was seen by a Japanese soldier. The soldier shot him down, and bayoneted him to death. My family’s helper Li Guangyun and my younger female cousin Xinmei were also brutally killed.
A Japanese soldier tried to bayonet my older male cousin Wang Zhongfan. His father Wang Hongluo and mother Mrs. Wang, née Du embraced him to protect him. They held each other tight and all died in blood.
Another Japanese soldier bayoneted my aunt Mrs. Xu, née Tang in her face and then killed her. Her 31-year-old daughter Xu Changfeng, helper Jin Ping, granddaughter Xu Shuxian and grandsons Xu Zhongli and Xu Zhongcheng were all killed.
My older brother Yicheng was tied to a tree and bayoneted to death. My fourth eldest uncle Zhang Renyi was shot in the back and died with his clothes taken off. My fifth eldest uncle Zhang Renyu was taken away, his head chopped off. Other victims include my niece Tang Shilong, uncles Tang Chaofan and Tang Chaoyuan, brothers Tang Jiucheng, Tang Kuncheng, Tang Picheng, nephew Tang Siliu, cousin Tang Guangshan, relative Zhao Suozi, helpers Xu Laowu, Li Daer, Xiaopo, Xiaozhuang, Xiaohe and Yuan Xiang, etc. A total of 48 people (the identities of 44 people were found out this time) were brutally killed. All of those people who were forced into the large pit were killed. Many injured people fell into a coma and covered in blood. (Recorded in Volume 3 and 5 of Dangshan Historical Records)
One of the survivors is my aunt Tang Qingyun. She was protected by the adults when the soldiers shot them with machine guns, but was severely injured in the thigh, which still bears a scar of about 1/3 meter long. My aunt Mrs. Xu, née Zhang had one of her eyes dug out. My aunt Mrs. Lu was injured in the arm and became permanently disabled. Zhongfan’s younger sister Maoya (my older sister Wang Zhongpu) was bayoneted multiple times in the breast and belly. My 7-year-old nephew Tang Qianruo was stabbed through in the chest.
Innocent people were cruelly killed. Where is justice? Where are human rights? Half a century has passed, but no justice is done to the dead.
The tragic Yuelizhuang Massacre has brought infinite sadness and all-night crying to the survivors. How could they withstand the heavy blow! My grandmother Mrs. Tang, née Hao couldn’t eat anything and soon died with hatrad. My uncle Lu Huanjiu, Tang Qingyun’s husband, got sick because of excessive grief and died. My father Tang Qinghuan went insane due to the heavy blow. My grandfather Tang Shufen’s family suffered severe losses. Out of over 10 family members, only his 2 young daughters (one was 12 years old and the other 5) and 1 granddaughter, who was less than 1 year old, survived and struggled to live. After the death of my uncle Tang Qingzhang, my aunt cried day and night. 3 out of my brother Zhongfan’s 5 family members were brutally killed and only my 10-year-old older male cousin (Wang Zhongyan) and badly-injured 8-year-old older female cousin (Wang Zhongpu) survived as orphans. My niece Tang Shilong was brutally killed, leaving his wife and son to mourn over him.
48 people were killed. Their parents, wives, husbands and children can only mourn them with endless tears. Even the sea cannot fully describe their pain.
After tearing my family apart and making us homeless, the Japanese and puppet army said, “we will eradicate the dead people’s offspring to remove the troubles!” So, we survivors have changed our names and led a vagrant life.
This is the notorious Yuelizhuang Massacre. The innocent dead people’s ghosts are still charging the Japanese army with their fascist atrocities. The bloody history is always hurting the survivors. We will always remember our relatives’ death, commemorate the martyrs who died in fighting the Japanese army and keep in mind the bloody lesson that “Backwardness will leave us vulnerable to bullying”.
The past not forgotten is a guide for the future. We shall do justice to the dead and defend human rights to prevent the historical tragedy from happening again. We solemnly demand damage compensation against Japan to comfort the soul of our dead relatives, ease the pain of survivors and defend our people’s highest interests.
Survivor from the Yuelizhuang Massacre: Tang Shutang’s granddaughter Tang Hongbo
Survivor from the Yuelizhuan Massacre: Tang Shutang’s daughter Tang Qingzhi
Survivors from the Yuelizhuan Massacre: Tang Shutang’s grandsons Tang Yuncheng, Tang Xingcheng, Tang Zhongxing
Survivors from the Yuelizhuan Massacre: Tang Shutang’s granddaughters Tang Rongzhen, Tang Guizhen, Tang Xiuzhen, Tang Suzhen
Survivors from the Yuelizhuan Massacre: Tang Qingzhang’s daughters Tang Ruizhen, Tang Shuzhen, Tang Lanzhen
Survivors from the Yuelizhuan Massacre: Tang Qingzhang’s granddaughters Tang Qinqin, Tang Yuqin and Tang Xueqin
March 13, 1993