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Ex-slave laborers seek justice

[ 2009-08-14 11:00]     字号 [] [] []  
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Chinese people who were forced by the Japanese to work as laborers during World War II stepped up their campaign for compensation on Wednesday. Lawyer's letters have been sent to 20 corporations in Japan that benefited from their exploitation.

The workers are asking the companies for a minimum of $20,000 in compensation for each person as well as a formal apology, said Deng Jianguo, their chief lawyer. Deng is among a team drawn from 120 Chinese law firms representing the workers.

More than 300 Japanese lawyers are also helping the cause.

Global giants including Mitsubishi Corporation, Sumitomo Electric and Nippon Mining Holdings, are among the 20 Japanese companies that have received the lawyer's letters. Some of the companies have already contacted a Japan-based Chinese NGO looking to start negotiations with the ex-workers, Beijing News reported yesterday.

To date, lawsuits against the Japanese connected to the use of forced labor have been brought but have not resulted in compensation. Survivors have said they will not give up.

Between 1943 and 1945, a large number of Chinese - 40,000 by Deng's estimation - were captured and taken to Japan. They were made to work in mines and on construction sites connected to 35 Japanese companies. About 7,000 forced laborers died after being made to work in appalling conditions. The rest were repatriated after the war.

The laborers began the push for compensation in the early 1990s. Today, around 700 former forced laborers remain.

Li Liangjie, a former forced laborer, said the issue was not about money.

"We're not short of a few bucks but we must let them apologize," said Li, 81.


1. What are three of the companies that have received the lawyer’s letters?

2. Where in Japan were the captured Chinese forced to work during WWII?

3. When did the laborers begin their push for compensation?


1. Mitsubishi Corporation, Sumitomo Electric and Nippon Mining Holdings.

2. In mines and on construction sites connected to 35 Japanese companies.

3. In the early 1990s.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Ex-slave laborers seek justice

About the broadcaster:

Ex-slave laborers seek justice

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.