Vow to continue campaign

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 August, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 August, 1995, 12:00am

AS the world remembers the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima, Tong Zeng, a researcher who spearheaded the war reparation movement in China for six years, will be at home in Beijing.

Mr Tong wanted to attend today's ceremony in Tokyo, but was refused a visa and had his passport confiscated.

For the past six years, Mr Tong has devoted much of his time to the war reparation campaign. But he often ran into trouble with the authorities, who feared his activities might jeopardise delicate Sino-Japanese relations.

This year, hopes were high that Beijing would accept his mission when the Foreign Ministry endorsed the campaign by Mr Tong and his comrades.

His hopes were dashed a week ago when the authorities withdrew his passport and later told him to stay away from the World Women's Conference in Beijing. Mr Tong told the Sunday Morning Post he still believed in his dream.

'What we've lost is only one of the many channels to fight for the tens of millions of war victims in our country,' the head of the Chinese Committee for Demanding War Reparations said.

'The so-called blows were not important at all compared to the painful memories of numerous comfort women, slave labourers and tens of millions of our compatriots who fell in the Anti-Japanese War,' said Mr Tong.

The activist originally planned to head a 12-member delegation to Tokyo today to demand the Japanese Government pay war reparations to the Chinese victims.

Not one member of the delegation has been issued a visa by the Japanese Embassy, which was reportedly told by Chinese Foreign Affairs officials not to grant any.

Mr Tong had his passport confiscated 'for an unspecified period' by the police about a week ago. The delegation had planned to ask Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to grant compensation to Chinese victims of the Sino-Japanese War and to ask the curator of a Tokyo museum to return numerous Chinese antiques seized by Japanese soldiers.

But Mr Tong said friends in overseas Chinese groups and United Nations human rights organisations would carry his appeals to Tokyo.

'Behind us is the whole of the Chinese nation,' he said.

'Our confidence has not been shaken.

'We believe breakthroughs will come as soon as we strengthen the unity with overseas Chinese.'