Survivor of Nanjing Massacre describes ordeal

A 77-year-old Chinese woman who survived the 1937 Nanjing Massacre testified in court Feb. 12 that Japanese soldiers stabbed her 37 times when she resisted their attempt to rape her.

Li Xiuying, from Nanjing, is one of 10 people seeking a total of about 100 million yen in damages in a lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court in August 1995. She is the only plaintiff suing the government over injuries inflicted during the Japanese killing spree 60 years ago.

Li claimed in court that on the morning of Dec. 19, 1937, Japanese soldiers came to an underground shelter where about 70 locals were hiding. The soldiers abducted young women from the shelter, apparently intent on raping them.

Li, seven months pregnant at the time, felt she would rather kill herself than be raped, so she slammed her head into a wall and fell unconscious. The Japanese thought she was dead, and did not take her, she said.

But the soldiers came back in the afternoon and tried to assault Li, who was lying in a bed recovering from the earlier incident. This time she fought back, grabbing the knife of a soldier as he tried to rip her clothes off. The two other soldiers joined in the struggle, slashing her face, neck, legs and abdomen, Li said. “When I turned right, they stabbed me in the right cheek, and when I turned left, they stabbed me in the left cheek,” Li said, touching the scars on her face.

She added that she miraculously survived the attack and was taken to a hospital after the soldiers left. Her fetus was aborted the next day, however. She sustained severe injuries to her face and could not go out or get a job for many years due to her embarrassment and shame. “My wounds were very conspicuous,” Li testified. “People used to say I was pretty, but after the attack I was considered strange everywhere I went.”