It was perhaps the most barbaric military atrocity of the last century, the "rape of Nanking." That is until yesterday when a group of legislators from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic party got together to call the whole thing a fabrication. They claim Beijing is using the incident as a "political advertisement."
300,000 Chinese died in this incident. Officers used some to demonstrate their beheading skills with their Katana swords. Enlisted men used others for bayonet practice. Women were raped and then killed, sometimes in unbelievably perverse ways. Children weren't spared the butchery either.
"Japan's occupation of Nanjing was nothing more nor less than an ordinary battlefield," the group said at a news conference where it presented documents it said supported its views.
Nariaki Nakayama, head of the group, said members could not let "lies and deceit be spread around the world" on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the city's fall.
So, who do you believe, the self-serving Chinese or the much-maligned Japanese? The nice thing is you don't have to believe either side to know the Japanese are lying through their teeth.
The Japanese atrocity in Nanking happened in December, 1937, four years before Japan went to war against the Western nations. Because of that there were plenty of Westerners in Nanking when the Imperial troops arrived. A number of these Westerners recorded what they witnessed. Many took photographs, including a number of pictures taken by a UPI photographer. The photographs record acts by Japanese soldiers that can only be called barbaric and disgusting.
To the anger of Japanese commanders, the Westerners refused to leave and even created a safety zone which saved almost 300,000 Chinese. Among those who protected the innocents was a German, John Rabe, a Nazi.
The Japanese legislators who are pushing this are as vile and loathsome as any Holocaust denier and their government's credibility hangs on whether they are ousted from their party. If Stephen Harper wants to lecture another country, this one's easy meat.