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Last Chinese 'comfort woman' who sued Japan dies at 89

(People's Daily Online)    13:10, November 13, 2015
Last Chinese 'comfort woman' who sued Japan dies at 89
Zhang Xiantu, a former "comfort woman". (Photo/CNS)

Zhang Xiantu, a former "comfort woman" passed away at the age of 89 in her home in Yu county of north China's Shanxi province on Nov. 12.

"Comfort women" is the Japanese euphemism for women who were forced into prostitution and sexually abused at Japanese military brothels before and during World War Two.

Zhang Xiantu was the only surviving "comfort woman" of the 16 plaintiffs in Shanxi who sued the Japanese government in 1995 for abducting girls and using them as "comfort women" during World War Two. They asked the Japanese government to apologize for the atrocity and pay compensation. In 2000, Zhang Xiantu testified in Japan for the first time. In 2007, the supreme court of Japan made the final judgment: they admit the historical fact but would not compensate, because firstly, the limitation of action for this lawsuit had passed and secondly, according to Japanese law, individuals can't sue the government. 

Wan Aihua, the first Chinese "comfort woman" who testified against Japanese army's sex violence during World War Two passed away at the age of 84 on Sept. 5, 2013. And Li Xiumei, another Chinese "comfort woman" who was one of the 16 plaintiffs who sued the Japanese government in 1995 passed away at the age of 88 in April 2014. After that, Zhang Xiantu had been the only surviving victim among the 16 plaintiffs of the 1995 lawsuit. Now, Zhang also passed away. 

According to Zhang Shuangbing, a volunteer dedicating to research on the oral history of "comfort women", told the reporter that in the last days of Zhang Xiantu, she never forgot the lawsuit against Japanese government. It was a regret of her forever. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Liang Jun)

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