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Scholar: 270,000 Chinese Civilians Victimized by Japanese Germ Warfare

Invading Japanese troops set up 60 germ warfare units from 1932 to 1945 in China and victimized at least 270,000 Chinese civilians, a Chinese woman professor said.

During the World War II, Japanese aggressors sent special germ warfare units and installed research and production center for germ weapons in China, said Wang Xuan, a Chinese professor leading a legal group to assist World War II victims suing Japan for damages inflicted by its germ warfare.

Japanese troops even used germ weapons against Chinese civilians in battles and released plague, anthracnose and glanders on Chinese mountains, forests, rivers and fields, victimizing thousands of Chinese people, the professor said.

She made the remarks at an international workshop on the Holocaust and the Nanjing Massacre held on Tuesday in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.

"However, such brutal and evil crimes committed by the the Japanese invading troops such as bacteria experiments on human bodies and germ warfare are still rarely known to the world today," she said.

"The invading Japanese troops even used germ warfare in all battlefields in China, though the use of germ weapons in wars is very uncommon worldwide," she said.

According to the research by Wang and other scholars, Japanese troops set up the first germ warfare experimental unit in 1932 in Beiyinhe, a district of Wuchang County in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

In accordance with a secret order from the Japanese emperor, theinvading troops established the notorious Unit 731 in Harbin in 1936 to develop and produce germ weapons based on bacteria experiments on human bodies.

Following the establishment of Unit 731, germ warfare units were set up in succession in China's major cities from north to south including Changchun, Nanjing, Beijing and Guangzhou.

With altogether 60 units and branches across China, germ warfare divisions involved more than 10,000 troops. In 1945 when the war ended, Unit 731 still had more than 3,000 staff members.

Unit 731 in Harbin and Unit 100 in Changchun manufactured a great amount of plague and glanders during the war, Wang said.

Unit 731 could produce approximately 600 kilograms of anthracnose bacteria in one month alone, while Unit 100 manufactured 100 kilograms of anthracnose bacteria and more than 500 kilograms of glanders bacteria between 1941 and 1942.

Research show that the invading Japanese troops started their germ warfare as early as in 1938.

The after-war investigations indicated that the Japanese troops waged germ war in more than 20 Chinese provinces. East China's Zhejiang Province and Jiangxi Province and central China's Hunan Province were among most afflicted areas.

Six decades after the war, the Japanese government still refuses to compensate the Chinese victims .

In July this year, the Tokyo High Court rejected appeals by180 Chinese demanding compensation for damage caused by Japan's World War II germ warfare program.

Upholding a lower court verdict, the Tokyo High Court acknowledged damage was caused by Japan's germ warfare in China, but ruled that the Japanese government is not responsible for compensating Chinese victims.

Wang, the plaintiff group leader, called on all social circles to show concern and support about the war victims physically and mentally.

"(Popular support) is the most direct counterpunch against Japan's denial of its germ warfare and aggression against China," she said.

"The truth of history cannot be blotted out," she added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2005)

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