China: Xuan Wang

The bacteriological warfare of the Japanese army was not only a crime on the Chinese people, it was a war crime against humanity.

— Xuan Wang

In 1995, Wang Xuan joined the Japanese bacteriological warfare fact-finding mission. After a lawsuit of seven years, the Japanese court for the first time admitted the fact that Japan had used bacteriological weapons on the Chinese people during its invasion of China in Word War II. With her mission Wang Xuan upholds the dignity of victims, lives and the pride of the Chinese nation.

Wang Xuan was born in Shanghai in 1952. In 1987, she obtained a Master’s from Shubo University in Japan. In August 1995, a newspaper report on Japan’s bacteriological warfare changed the path of her life. Wang became the team leader and general representative of the bacteriological warfare plaintiff team. She gave up her lucrative job and her plans of being a mother. It was a purely people’s lawsuit, without any funding, and most plaintiffs are aged over 70. Yet the team had to deal with investigation, getting evidence, and other complex legal matters with legal implications as well as with the deliberate and organized cover-up and elimination of evidence by the Japanese during and after the war. For the investigation, Wang traveled frequently between China and Japan. In order to find convincing evidence, she went through all kinds of hardships and successfully invited some soldiers of the Japanese 731 Unit to come out as witnesses in the law court. In China, she traveled to over ten provincial cities and interviewed thousands of victims and witnesses. Exhibitions, conferences, and public lectures were held in different parts of the world, to expose the war crimes of Unit 731 and to solicit support from the international community. The plaintiffs submitted 430 legal evidences, and presented 46 persons in court, including 24 plaintiffs, four old soldiers of Unit 731, and 18 scholars and experts. On 27 August 2002, the Tokyo district court gave a verdict to confirm the Japanese army’s bacteriological war crimes in China, but rejected the demand for apology and compensation. Wang says that Chinese victims will carry on the appeal process until the Japanese government concedes these demands. The second appeal will be decided in mid-2005. Wang Xuan is convinced that the history of suffering has to be respected, and human dignity is inviolable.