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CHINA: Killing Continues

3 minute read

The thunderous detonations of Japanese artillery and the merciless rattle of Japanese machine guns taught Chinese a bitter lesson last week. They learned once and for all that Imperial Japan will not permit Chinamen to carry on their incessant civil wars in Shantung, a Chinese province, but the home of numerous Japanese colonists. Tsinan is the capital of Shantung. From Tsinan efficient professional Japanese troops drove, last week, ten times their number of ragged, nondescript Chinese soldiery. Right or wrong, the Japanese Commander, General Fukuda, struck blow after crushing blow with a mailed fist constituted by 5,000 Japanese troops which he recently brought up from the seaport of Tsingtao (TIME, May 14). When 6,000 desperate Chinese took refuge in the old walled quarter of Tsinan, last week, and later attempted with great bravery to fight their way out, Japanese machine gunners mowed down every man of 20 successive Chinese charges which were launched by the besieged.

In an official manifesto General Fukuda declared: “The Chinese show an open stand of belligerency. Therefore, to punish the guilty and uphold the dignity of the Japanese Empire I am obliged to take such drastic measures as I deem necessary.”

The Chinese styled “guilty” by General Fukuda were troops of the South China Nationalist Government established at Nanking (TIME, April 25, 1927). They recently advanced northward into Shantung in the course of their civil war with the North China Government of Peking Dictator Chang Tso-lin. When the Southern Nationalists captured Tsinan, last fortnight, they became “guilty” in Japanese eyes, because they allegedly committed certain atrocities in Shantung. So omniscient is Japanese efficiency that last week the Government at Tokyo placed on display photographs alleged to have been taken (by General Fukuda’s order) of Japanese victims tortured to death at Tsinan. Male victims had been flayed alive from the waist upward,* females had been hacked and mutilated. Unquestionably such photographs could have been faked. They are part of the story to which Japan proposes to stick.

During the week General Baron Giichi Tanaka, Prime Minister of Japan, called General Viscount Shirakawa into his Cabinet as War Minister, whereupon the pugnacious Viscount, a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War, immediately despatched 15,000 additional troops to Shantung. Thus it appeared certain that the present Japanese occupation and intervention will continue for some time.

Observers recalled that part of Shantung was held by Germany prior to the World War, and thereafter seized by the Japanese who were eventually compelled by the Powers to relinquish Shantung and sign the Washington Treaties setting forth the sacredness of China’s territorial integrity.

*To flay a man alive in the classic Oriental fashion begin by making two long parallel cuts 21/2 inches apart. Loosen one end of the strip of skin between the cuts, grasp firmly, and then tear off the strip. Repeat until the victim is completely skinned.

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