War-claims activist warned

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 March, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 March, 1995, 12:00am

AN activist for war reparations against Japan has been told by the Government not to collaborate with national legislators and advisers to press for compensation.

Beijing-based Tong Zeng yesterday said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had passed on messages to tell him not to get in touch with delegates to the NPC and members of the CPPCC at the upcoming session.

'But I am sure that my friends at the NPC and CPPCC will initiate contacts with me when they are here for the meetings,' Mr Tong said.

A leading campaigner for reparations, Mr Tong noted that a number of NPC deputies and CPPCC members would put forward motions to demand from the Japanese compensation for mainland victims.

'This year is the 50th anniversary of Japan's surrender. There are still many victims on the mainland. Even if I do not take the lead, many others will surely organise activities and appeals for the reparations,' Mr Tong said.

However, he expected that the Government would step up controls over such activities because it was going to organise grand celebrations to mark the anniversary.

Mr Tong, a researcher with the China Research Centre on Ageing, had been forced to take study trips outside Beijing in the past when the NPC and CPPCC were in session.

The activist said although the Government did not put particular restrictions on reparation activities, the public security authorities would ban them from organising street protests or demonstrations outside the Japanese Embassy.

Civilian groups on the mainland have never given up their efforts to fight for compensation from the Japanese Government although the Chinese Government has officially offered not to claim war reparations from Tokyo.

Mr Tong said the Chinese Government was now adopting a wait-and-see approach over the issue.

He believes that Beijing may raise the issue with Tokyo when the opportunity arises.

However, a Taiwanese delegate to the NPC, Ms Liu Caipin, was not optimistic over the matter.

Ms Liu said despite previous attempts by NPC deputies to raise motions to push for reparations, the Government turned a deaf ear to the demand.

'It is hard to understand why the Government does not allow individual victims to claim compensation from Japan,' said Ms Liu, who has helped victims in Nanjing press their demands.

A veteran NPC deputy, Ms Liu criticised the Communist Party for taking a soft stand towards Japan on the matter of its atrocities in World War II.

'The Chinese authorities should let the people claim reparations. It will do good not only to the mainland victims, but also to the Japanese because lots of them do not know their country killed so many people,' she said.

Ms Liu added it was very sad that China had not kept a good record of that period of history, citing that the Government gave no substantial support to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.