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'Comfort Women' Memorial Proposed

The history of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression is one full of sickening chapters, from the germ warfare experiments in the north to the massacre in Nanjing. Among these horrors is the story of the "comfort women," who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese troops.

The home of one of these women will soon become a memorial in honour of them all.

The proposed memorial will be in a township on the suburban Chongming Island, at the home of Zhu Qiaomei, the last of the Shanghai comfort women, who died in February aged 96.

"It was the hope of those women to have a memorial that tells future generations what happened and makes them contemplate war," said Zhu Miaochun, a lawyer who helped former Shanghai comfort women with their legal affairs.

Zhu and Su Zhiliang, a history professor at Shanghai Normal University, put forward proposals for the memorial in Shanghai. The proposals have been warmly received.

According to the local media, officials in the township have reacted positively, saying they are going to apply for approval following the planning of the memorial.

"The building of a memorial means dealing with several departments, but there should be a clear decision on this within the year," said township official Yang Cheng, in the Oriental Morning Post.

Zhu Qiaomei was one of the five comfort women from Shanghai, including two Koreans. Before Zhu, the other two Chinese women died in 2002 and 2004.

In 2001, with the help of Zhu Miaochun, they documented their experience of being forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops.

"With their experiences now recorded, hopefully their suffering will not have been in vain," said the lawyer.

Hundreds of thousands of Asian women were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops during World War II.

(China Daily August 5, 2005)

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