Academics press for compensation
From CHRIS YEUNG in Beijing
A GROUP of Chinese academics has renewed pressure on the Government to seek war indemnities from Japan.
A total of 154 scholars and experts made the demand in a letter to the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are holding annual sessions in Beijing.
In the letter, they called on the Government to use a portion of the debts China owes Japan to compensate the mainland victims in the Japanese invasion.
They claimed the Japanese Government had no choice but to compensate the United States and Italy after they threatened to confiscate Japanese property in their countries.
Beijing, the academics argued, could also throw its weight behind the victims to set a ''case of precedence'' for seeking war indemnity.
Calling on deputies of the NPC and the CPPCC to discuss the legality of the move by civilian organisations to seek war indemnity at the current sessions, they said a nationwide commission should be formed to fight for their cause.
The compensation campaign gained momentum at last year's NPC and CPPCC plenums, which came a few months before the historic visit by Japanese Emperor Akihito last October.
More than 300,000 people have already signed in support of the movement, the academics said, adding that similar pressure was building up in Japan.
The petitioners also maintained their demand was in conformity with the aspirations of people in the two countries, and beneficial to the development of friendly ties.