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Wartime crimes through western eyes unveiled
2016-09-14

  A four-book series, Death on the Hellships: Japanese War Crimes in the Far East (1942-1945), focuses on the mistreatment of Allied prisoners of war. (Photo provided to China Daily)Translations of four books by American and British authors reflect on Japanese barbarity during World War II.

  On Sunday, 17 survivors attended a solemn ceremony marking the country's second National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims in Jiangsu's provincial capital to commemorate the loss of more than 300,000 lives.

  The massacre by invading Japanese troops is among the three most notorious war crimes that Japan committed during World War II.

  However, the other two crimes listed by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East-the building of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway and Bataan Death March-are not very familiar to the Chinese public, due to a lack of published material in the country, according to history professor Zhang Lianhong from Nanjing Normal University.

  To build the railway in 1942, Japan deployed 61,000 Allied prisoners of war. The POWs included Americans, Britons and Australians, and one out of every five of them died.

  The construction also cost the lives of more than 100,000 of the more than 200,000 slave laborers from Southeast Asian countries.

  Every kilometer of the railway is soaked with the blood of 250 innocent people, American scholar Kelly E Crager says in his book Hell Under the Rising Sun: Texan POWs and The Building of The Burma-Thailand Death Railway.

  Published in 2008, the book is based on oral accounts from surviving American POWs originally from Texas.

  Crager says that the brutality that Japanese captors inflicted on the Texan POWs is little-known even in the United States, their home country.

  "The book is a powerful counterpunch to Japan's denial of war crimes," says Zhang.