One of the greatest atrocities in history was the rape of Nanking. Most humans are capable of great evil and this is one horrific example. Several hundred thousand were raped, murdered and tossed into the Yangtze River. There were so many bodies, the water turned red. Others were buried alive after digging their own graves.
For her book, Iris Chang went to China and interviewed the few hundred survivors still living to document the horrible crimes the Japanese committed. She talked to one man who, as a child, watched his mother and little brothers being murdered.
Another witness tells Chang how she found her dead grandparents, mother and little sisters naked and raped.
There is a scene showing Chang transcribing taped interviews, and it is mentioned that she had nightmares from this project. Chang said someone had to listen, to record and validate the experience of the survivors and make it public.
Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking was published November 1997 and became a bestseller while Japan tried to discredit the book. Iris Chang committed suicide on November 10, 2004. She was 36 and left behind a husband and two-year-old child.
Then in 2011, The Flowers of War was released, a movie that focuses on the rape of Nanking, starring Christian Bale.
Roger Ebert wrote in his movie review, “The Rape of Nanking (1937-38), one of the most horrifying atrocities in history, during which the Imperial Japanese Army invaded the Chinese capital city and slaughtered an estimated 300,000 civilians, usually raping the women first. It is one thing for civilians to die in the course of a war, and another for them to be hunted down and wiped out on a personal basis for the crime of their race. … “The Flowers of War” is in many ways a good film, as we expect from Zhang Yimou (a Chinese director who has won more than 58 international awards that included two at the Cannes Film Festival and one at the Sundance Film Festival.)”
What bothered me about Ebert’s review is the ignorance of his conclusion.
Ebert wrote, “Now let me ask you: Can you think of any reason the character John Miller is needed to tell his story? Was any consideration given to the possibility of a Chinese priest? Would that be asking for too much?”
Yes, it would be asking too much because if the priest had been Chinese, he would have been shot down the moment the Japanese troops came into the church and the young girls would have been raped and murdered followed by the rape and murder of the prostitutes once they were discovered. Then the church probably would have been destroyed. Without an American as the Christian priest, there would have been no story to tell.
My wife and I enjoyed this movie, felt it was well done and highly recommend it.
Is there a reason why the Western media continues to avoid and even ignore what happened in Nanking while continuing to remind the world of the so-called massacre of a few hundred students in Tiananmen Square in 1989 that did not happen? The protests in Tiananmen Square did take place but there is no evidence of students being killed, as the Western media continues to remind us.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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