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Tuesday, September 18, 2001, updated at 23:43(GMT+8)

Sept. 18 Incident Witness Recalls History

Though he was only three years old 70 years ago, Hu Guangwen can still remember it clearly: the September 18 Incident.

"The blast site was less than 200 meters away from my home." Sitting in front of a sketch drawn by himself about the blast site, Hu's remembers well back into the last century.

The Hu's had already gone to bed on September 18, 1931 when their house collapsed suddenly following the sound of a huge explosive at around 10 o'clock at night.

Hu's younger brother, who was less than one year old at that time, was crushed to death. His mother received three ribs broken. His father's leg was wounded. "My grandmother and I were buried under the ruins."

Historical documents show that the explosion happened at Liutiaohu, Shenyang City in northeast China's Liaoning Province, at 10:20 in the evening.

The Japanese Kwantung Army stationed in northeast China first destroyed a section of railway near Liutiaohu and then falsely accused the Chinese military for the blast.

The Japanese army suddenly bombarded Shenyang under the excuse that explosions had occurred along the South Manchuria Railway. The next morning, the heartbroken family buried their dead boy when the artillery and gun shots stopped. Hu's grandfather who had returned from Shenyang said that the whole city was covered with Japan's national flag.

"My mother's lungs were damaged when the house collapsed and she kept coughing," Hu recalled. "She died not long after the blast."

Hu's village, Liutiaohu, is located northeast of Shenyang. The railway linking Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province in the northeast, and Dalian, a coastal city in Liaoning Province, passed by the village.

The once quiet village was turned into hell by Japanese invaders traveling along the railway in the following 10 years.

Hu said that all villagers were forced to turn in all their food. People had to eat acorns to allay their hunger.

"Villagers often died of hunger and malnutrition," Hu said, adding "some went missing mysteriously." Hu's father was caught by Japanese soldiers and forced to do labor in 1941.

By 1944, all members of the Hus except Hu Guangwen had died of Japanese enslavement one after another.

Hu first became a government staff member and then worked for an insurance company after New China was founded in 1949. He has been concentrating on history study since retiring in 1988.

Hu often talked about the family's history to his offspring, telling them never to forget the past.

To remind the Chinese people of the national humiliation, September 18 was decided as a day to mark the incident.

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Though he was only three years old 70 years ago, Hu Guangwen can still remember it clearly: the September 18 Incident.

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