Witnesses Tell of Japanese Germ War

Chinese researchers have found new evidence of germ warfare carried out by Japanese troops during their invasion of China between 1937 and 1945 in new testimony from witnesses and relatives of 32 victims.

Interviews with these people, conducted by researchers from the Academy of Social Sciences in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, confirm findings of files discovered in 1998 on the topic at the Archives of Heilongjiang Province.

The files record the names of 52 victims arrested by Japanese military police and sent to the laboratory of "Unit 731," a notorious germ warfare center in Harbin.

The investigation brought researcher Yang Yulin and his colleagues to dozens of villages in three Chinese regions to meet witnesses and relatives.

Among those interviewed was Li Houwen, the former president of the Chinese Medical Sciences University who told of the arrest of his brother, Li Houbin.

Li's father was tortured by the Japanese military police when he went to the prison to see his son. Li himself was turned down several times when he wanted to see his brother, he said.

Of Li Houbin's four children, three died after his arrest. Li Houwen said he buried them.

Investigations show that between 1938 and 1945, 7,000 to 8,000 people were used as human guinea pigs by Unit 731, many of whom were Chinese soldiers or underground fighters.

Koreans, Russians, Mongolians and Dutch people also were among the victims.

Documents in China's Central Archives show Japanese forces practiced germ warfare in 20 Chinese regions, killing more than 200,000 Chinese.

However, right-wing groups and militarists inside Japan still deny the atrocities of Japanese troops.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2001)

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