Comfort women and pyramid scheme cults – China’s latest top news

Jeremy Goldkorn’s selection of the top stories from China on August 15, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Last Chinese sex slave to sue Japan dies

On August 12, Huang Youliang 黄有良 — the last surviving Chinese woman to sue the Japanese government for sex slavery during the Japanese occupation — died at her home in the village of Yidui on Hainan Island, according to media reports (in Chinese).

  • Huang was one of 200,000 to 400,000 so-called “comfort women” (慰安妇 wèi’ān fù) in China, Korea, and Southeast Asia who were forced into giving sexual services to Japanese soldiers during World War II.
  • Huang was 15 in 1941 when she was first raped by Japanese soldiers, and spent two years in a brothel run by the Japanese army.
  • The South China Morning Post notes that she was the last of 24 Chinese women who had “sued the Japanese government for the psychological and physical trauma they suffered as wartime sex slaves for the Japanese military.” The first of four suits was filed in 1995. In 2001, Huang and seven other “comfort women” traveled to Tokyo to file one of the cases, demanding a formal apology and a total of 24 million yen ($217,000) in compensation. All four court suits were rejected by Japanese courts.
  • The SCMP quotes a spokeswoman for Hong Kong History Watch (see Chinese Facebook page), who said that Huang’s death left China with “no witness who is willing to speak for this part of history.”
  • Huang’s son told the Hainan Daily (in Chinese) that he plans to pursue the lawsuit against Japan.
  • In the New York Times, Ilaria Maria Sala argues (paywall) that the stories of these women have “become both increasingly visible and increasingly vulnerable to being appropriated in the service of other, often nationalistic, agendas,” although the focus of the piece is on the politics of South Korea.
  • Sixth Tone has a piece about a documentary film about the surviving Chinese “comfort women.” The film is called 22 because there were 22 survivors, including Huang Youliang, when filming started in 2014. It premiered in mainland movie theaters on August 14.

A gallimaufry of links

Some reading to take your mind off Nazis:

Botox nation

The China Daily says that there are now more than 9,000 clinics in China offering “micro cosmetic surgery” such as injections of Botox and hyaluronic acid, double the number five years ago.

Robot carries out rectal cancer surgery

The China Daily also reports that for the first time, an operation for rectal cancer has been performed by a “robotic surgical system made by the American company Intuitive Surgical” at a hospital in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.

You know umami, now learn about “gan”

The Cleaver Quarterly, an excellent magazine on Chinese cuisine, has a story on pu’er tea and the Chinese flavor known gān 甘, a “sweet-tasting, air-chilled sensation that follows an initial sting of bitterness.”

Nigerian community justice system in China

The Republic has an interesting piece on community organizing by China’s large expatriate Nigerian population: “They have a constitution, an elected President General, an informal justice system with elected and respected judges, a task force, as well as well-organized procedures for issues like complaints and dispute resolution within the community.”

China’s quantum satellites will not be unhackable

Naked Security debunks a story that has been in the news in the last month that a new quantum communications system pioneered by China is highly secure: “Headline writers got carried away with the idea that what the Chinese have built is some kind of ‘unhackable’ communications system which, of course, is utter nonsense — though actually, it’s far more interesting than that.”

Xi poverty alleviation tour

On August 15, President Xi Jinping was once again the subject of Xinhua News Agency’s top story (in Chinese) — a piece on China’s goal to eliminate poverty by 2020 and about Xi’s visits to 14 areas around the country where poverty is most “concentrated.”