China, Taiwan: Ching Feng Wang

Life is too short, we should try to do something meaningful with it. If we can help others, and that is considered an achievement, then this is already a reward.

— Ching Feng Wang

Since 1996, Wang Ching Feng has proactively helped Taiwanese "comfort women", who were forced to perform sexual services within Japanese camps during World War II. She crisscrossed Taiwan with Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation social workers and interviewed over 60 "comfort women". She travelled to Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Chinese Mailand, the USA and Europe to gain support and seek compensation and formal apologies from the Japanese government.

Wang Ching Feng, a lawyer by profession, a legislator and vice-presidential candidate in 1996, remembers when she started demanding apologies. She went to Tokyo with two of the "grannies" to the International Hearing for the Compensation of Wartime Atrocities. Korean and Mainland Chinese elderly "comfort women" were outspoken, while their Taiwanese counterparts tried to hide their identity. They gave their testimonies behind a screen. Thereafter, with Wang's effort, they finally dressed up and stopped seeking protection from a screen; they faced the audience and spoke out: “The Japanese are the ones to be ashamed, not us." Wang was deeply moved by their new-found courage and said: “Japan used its military, administrative and financial power to humiliate women from occupied areas. This was a government-sponsored action, therefore the Japanese government must apologize and compensate its victims. Wartime crimes are legal violations, not just ethical ones." Wang has spent several million Taiwan dollars of her own money to support the work. In 13 years, her efforts on the issue of "comfort women" coupled with those of the Foundation have yielded results. The government agreed to give a monthly subsidy to the elderly women. Through the years, she has selflessly worked for the Foundation. “Life is too short, we should try to do something meaningful with it. If we can help others, that is already an achievement, a rewarding one," she says.

Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation