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China Protests over Death of Mustard Gas Victim

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi Friday summoned Koreshige Anamia, Japanese ambassador to China, and again lodged solemn representations to the Japanese government after a Chinese citizen died from Japanese chemical weapons deserted in China.

On the damages and losses of the victims and places concerned, Wang strongly urged Japanese government to take responsibility with concrete actions as soon as possible, and give needed answers to the victims and Chinese people.

Li Guizhen, 31, from central China's Henan Province, suffered most seriously from the chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese invaders in Qiqihar city in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province during World War II and succumbed to death Thursday night as a result of the failure of multiple organs.

Upon his hospitalization in the late evening of August 4, Li was diagnosed to have 95 percent burns on his skin, the eyes and the respiratory system and a loss of homatosis. Medical personnel in the hospital have exerted their utmost to rescue him, using the best medicine available, but failed to respond because of the severe harms done to him by the deadly mustard gas.

Li's father Li Guoxiong will seek compensation from Japan through the Qiqihar government, said the director of the Qiqihar government information centre.

The father will demand compensation in the following forms: fees for supporting his son's wife and parents from both sides; for rearing his son's children; for delay in their work; for mental consolation; for burial; and for transportation of relatives for the funeral.

The father also expressed his willingness to make his son's body available for medical research.

The chemical weapons, discovered on Aug. 4 at a construction site in the city, were stored in five metal barrels, one of which was accidentally broken, releasing the oil-like mustard gas into the soil.

A total of 43 people were hospitalized after coming into contact with the poisonous mustard gas from the chemical weapons.

Wang told Anamia the Chinese government has tried its utmost to save and treat the victims injured by the leaked chemical weapons, but having been too severely injured, Li Guizhen died despite everyone's best efforts, which aggravated the whole issue to an extremely painful degree.

He urged the Japanese government to shoulder unshirkable responsibility for this serious consequence.

Wang said the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan have tortured many Chinese people.

"Even today, 58 years after the Japanese military's intrusion into China, they are still threatening the safety of many Chinese people's lives," Wang said. He added that the Chinese people have every right to be indignant.

He stressed that the Chinese people's feelings and dignity should and must be safeguarded.

China absolutely cannot allow such a tragedy to happen again, nor will it allow the situation to continue, he said.

The Chinese side strongly demands the Japanese government faithfully implement the prescriptions in the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons and relevant agreements reached by the two sides, and clear up the leftover chemical weapons with a responsible attitude, he said.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government on Friday expressed condolences over the death of Li.

"The government of Japan expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family of the victim who passed away," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said in a statement.

It added Japan will "dispose of the dangerous chemical weapons as soon as possible" and "continue to respond sincerely to the accident in close cooperation with the Chinese side."

(Sources including Xinhua News Agency and China Daily, August 23, 2003)

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Japan Urged to Destroy Abandoned Chemical Weapons
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