China vs. Japan
Japan may finally have to come to terms with their brutal history. Japanese history books have repeatedly omitted any reference to the Rape of Nanking, one of the worst human rights atrocities of the 20th century.
Now that China is a military and economic force to be reckoned with, they are demanding that Japan at least acknowledge this disgraceful chapter in their history. American history textbooks also whitewash the dark side of our history — check out Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen — but the Rape of Nanking is right up there with anything ever done by Hitler or Stalin.
The Japanese invaded China in 1931 and occupied most of the country until the end of World War II. Between 10 million and 30 million Chinese died at the hands of the Japanese during this period — massacres, forced starvation, germ warfare, you name it. In the capital city of Nanking, from December 1937 to March 1938, Japanese soldiers tortured and slaughtered more than 360,000 Chinese civilians. More than 80,000 women were raped and murdered.
And Japan won’t even admit any of this?!?
And now the Chinese are pissed. Tens of thousands of Chinese protesters went on a rampage through Shanghai, stoning the Japanese consulate and smashing the windows of Japanese restaurants. Thousands of police stood around and watched but didn’t intervene (can you blame them?). The Japanese embassy claims that two Japanese tourists were beaten up by Chinese demonstrators.
The Chinese government is trying to prevent Japan from becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council. And Chinese activists are trying to organize a boycott of Japanese products.
Maybe it’s time for Japan to own up to its dark history.