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17:57, April 17, 2009

Nanjing Massacre witness libel suit compensation paid out in Japan


Mourners pay respects to relatives, victims of the Nanjing Massacre, at the Nanjing Memorial Hall of Compatriots Murdered in the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, April 4, 2009. Mourners expressed respects for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing during the tomb-sweeping holiday. (Xinhua File Photo)

Libel damages have been paid to the lawyers of Chinese Nanjing Massacre survivor who won a lawsuit in Japan, she said on Friday.

Xia Shuqin, aged 80, said her Japanese lawyers told her that the compensation of 4.55 million yen (about 44,500 U.S. dollars) was in their account, and will be transferred to her soon, but they did not say when.

"I feel relieved. The compensation is a comfort to all those who suffered in the massacre," said Xia, who testified in court in Japan in 2006 about her family tragedy during the massacre.


A mourner pays a visit to her relative, a victim of the Nanjing Massacre, at the Nanjing Memorial Hall of Compatriots Murdered in the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, April 4, 2009. Mourners expressed respects for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing during the tomb-sweeping holiday. (Xinhua/Han Yuqing)

The three-year lawsuit ended in February, when the Japanese Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Shudo Higashinakano, a right-wing Asia University scholar, and Tendensha, a publishing house, ordering them to pay a combined 4 million yen (44,500 U.S. dollars) in damages to Xia.

Xia was eight years old when seven out of nine members of her immediate family was slaughtered by Japanese soldiers in Nanjing in 1937. Part of Xia's story was featured in a documentary shot by American John Magee.

Zhu Chengshan, director of the Nanjing Memorial Hall of Compatriots Murdered in the Nanjing Massacre, said the film by Magee is believed to be the only documentary about the massacre. It was first shown in America in 1938.

However, Higashinakano's book "Complete Investigation into the Nanjing Massacre", defamed Xia by saying she was a false witness to the mass murder during World War II (which Chinese historians say began with Japan's invasion of China in 1931), and she was not the girl in the documentary.

The book, published by Tendensha in 1998, was translated into English and Chinese and has sold thousands of copies.

The libel suit was brought to the Supreme Court after the defendants refused to accept the Tokyo High Court's ruling.

Zhu said that the lawsuit victory marks a defeat of Japanese right wingers who have denied this chapter in their nation's history.

"There were quite a few cases concerning the massacre brought against Japanese right wingers. But Xia is the only person who won lawsuits in both China and Japan," he said.

Japanese invading troops occupied Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, in December 1937 and then launched a six-week-long massacre. Historical records show that more than 300,000 Chinese people, civilians as well as military prisoners, were killed.


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