A group of Chinese civilians are bringing a lawsuit against the Japanese government in a Chinese court. They are survivors and relatives of victims of a massacre, carried out by the Japanese army during Japan’s invasion of China in World War II. If the court accepts, this would be the first civil claim for compensation in a domestic court. CCTV’s Ning Hong reports.
In 1941, the village of Panjiayu were nearly wiped out by the occupying Japanese troops. Of the 1,700 villagers, 1,300 were killed in one day — more than three-quarters of the population. More than seven decades later, survivors and victims’ family members are suing the Japanese government for 6 billion Yuan in compensation, as well as an apology they have waited for for 73 years.
Pan Shanzeng survived by hiding under dead bodies in a pigpen. He was only six then.
“I saw a pregnant woman being stabbed by a bayonet and her unborn child was cut out,” Shanzeng said. “At the foot of a wall, I saw a soldier stamp on one leg of a child and grab the other leg. He tore the child in half and then tossed the body into a fire.”
Since 1992, people in Panjiayu have unsuccessfully looked for justice. Now they have collected enough evidence and authorized the China Federation of Civil Claims against Japan to represent them in the lawsuit. The NGO has recently shifted their focus from Japanese to domestic courts.
“China’s society is making progress and the legal institution has improved. The case has its basis in international laws, treaties between China and Japan, as well as domestic laws,” said Tong Zeng, president of China Federation of Civil Claims against Japan. “I believe the court will give a just judgment.”
WWII victims sue Japanese government in Chinese Court for compensationA group of Chinese civilians are bringing a lawsuit against the Japanese government in a Chinese court. They are survivors and relatives of victims of a massacre, carried out by the Japanese army during Japan's invasion of China in World War Two. If the court accepts, this would be the first civil claim for compensation in a domestic court. CCTV’s Ning Hong reports.
The case will be submitted to a Chinese court as early as August. Eight lawyers have offered free service.
Most survivors of the war are too old and are unlikely to live another ten years. This is probably their last chance to seek an apology and compensation from Japan. To them it is equally important to let the world know the truth of the Japanese army’s war crimes — and prevent them from happening again.