World / War heroes

'Comfort women' still waiting for apology

By HUANG YIMING (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-20 08:17
'Comfort women' still waiting for apology

Zheng Jinnyu sheds tears while recalling the past at her home in Nongqing village, Lingshui county, Hainan province, in 2005. She was born in 1926 and passed away in 2006. She was raped by three Japanese soldiers while working in the fields when she was 16, and later forced to become a "comfort woman". HUANG YIMING/CHINA DAILY


Women raped during wartime in Hainan province are still awaiting an apology from Japan, even though most of them are now in their 80s.

China Daily learned that only eight of fewer than 100 survivors in the southern province are still alive.

About 200,000 women in China were forced into sexual slavery during the war. In Hainan, which was invaded and occupied by the Japanese for six years from 1939, about 10,000 were forced to become "comfort women" at around 60 comfort stations, according to Su Zhiliang, a professor at Shanghai Normal University studying the history of comfort women.

Most of them were from the local Li and Miao ethnic groups. During those six years, most of them died from the torture they received, with fewer than 100 of them surviving the war, suffering trauma both physically and mentally.

Huang Youliang, 88, is one of the eight from Hainan who are still alive. She has long had a serious rheumatic disease and cannot walk unassisted.

Since Huang has been confined to bed with her illness for many years, she is supported in her will to live by the hope of an official apology from the Japanese government.

Her nightmare can be traced to 1941, when the Japanese army occupied Lingshui Li autonomous county where she lived. Just 14 years old then, she was caught by patrolling Japanese soldiers while she was working alone on a farm one day in November.

After being raped and beaten at her home every night for nearly three months, she was taken to a local Japanese military brothel, the Liangqiao comfort station, suffering from the effects of torture.

"They (the soldiers) just came to the station and waited in line. I cannot remember how many times I was maltreated each day," Huang said.

She said she had no choice but to be submissive, or the soldiers would have killed her parents.

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