China's "Comfort Women" Exposed in New Film
by Amanda Kloer · 2009-08-09 09:00:00 UTC
Topics: Prostitution · Sex Trafficking
The topic of "comfort women", women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II, recently got a lot of publicity when the U.S. House of Representative passed a resolution on the topic. But lesser known is the story of the thousands of Chinese women who were trafficked into prostitution and forced marriage in the early 1950s. A new Chinese film, 8,000 Girls Ascend the Heavenly Mountain, tells their story.
In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, the Chinese government sent around 200,000 soldiers and 40,000 young women and girls to the far Western provinces of China, which at the time were heavily Muslim areas. The communist government's goal was to marry off the girls to the army's officers (often arranged as a reward for service and seniority), and thus populate the region with the children of patriots and communists, who would soon outnumber the Muslims. The women were claimed via force, deception, and coercion and then forced to marry whichever officer chose them. Some were brainwashed and convinced they were doing a patriotic duty to create a "new China" for their children.
Xiao Yequn was 15 when she was first brought to the military camp. First, she refused to marry the significantly older man she had been assigned to.
When I found out he was nine years older than me I was unwilling to be his wife. He immediately took out his pistol and put a bullet in the chamber. I dared not resist and the next year we got married.
Simultaneously, Chairman Mao was ordering women in prostitution to be sent in forced service to Chinese troops to undergo "thought reform." The accounts of rape, suicide, forced marriage, forced prostitution, and other abuses from the survivors of this period of Chinese history are not terribly unlike those of the Japanese and Korean comfort women. Yet, the plight of these trafficked Chinese women is much less understood or publicized. Perhaps the lack of information on this issue is due to the Chinese government's reluctance to examine historical (and current) human rights violations.
While it is unclear exactly how 8,000 Girls Ascend the Heavenly Mountain will address the issue, it will hopefully bring a better understanding of the experience of women trafficked into forced marriage in China to Chinese and international audiences. And more importantly, it will hopefully bring a greater sense of peace and justice to the women who survived the ordeal.
Image from theonlinephotographer.typepad.com
Amanda Kloer is a Change.org Editor and has been a full-time abolitionist in several capacities for seven years. Follow her on Twitter @endhumantraffic
Hey, Change.org, before you start a petition, learn Asian's true history first. Don't learn from Korean publications. They are desperate to distort the true history to their own fake favorite one.
The photo you used here is not a Chinese photo. It was taken in Korea before its annexation to Japan. Japan freed them after the annexation in 1910. Look at their cloths, it's Korean traditional cloths.
Almost all Korean comfort women were prostitutes. They were paid when they provided sexual service. Most people think that it is a prostitution, not a slavery, when women are paid for their sexual service. They earned huge money, far more than the Japanese soldiers could earn at that time who thought would be killed tomorrow in battles.
Why Japanese don't say this clearly? We do not want to humiliate any people basically. Talking about sexual things is a taboo in Japan. We basically want to be polite to any people. The problems are already solved between 2 nations, Japan and Korea. We paid significant amount of money to Korea already. Twice as much as our annual nation's budget when we paid. Japanese government apologized already so many times for historical problems between 2 nations. We have a treaty between 2 nations that historical problems between the annexation and the end of WWII were solved (Watch this: http://youtu.be/oU7hJVeixCg). But, they still try to take more money from Japan. It is Korean government who did not distribute the money from Japan to Korean people. The Korean government is to be blamed.
Japan had the similar problem with other neighboring nations. Why only Koreans stick to us so heavily and still ask more money?
Since Koreans demand too much, some Japanese cannot bear anymore. Some decided to speak out.
Think about this: Jesus Christ is Korean according to Korean, Pizza was invented in Korea, British people are descendents of Korean, Genghis Khan is Korean according to Korean, etc.
about 1 month ago
well,i think the picture wooden board which fixed three women's neck was taken in China or Manchuria surely. however same customs were existed in korea,too. North korea is using the medievalism customs even in today.
incidentally,there had not been in japan such the custom that fixing the criminal neck,also the existence of slaves although US and EU people had made slaves to African people till recently.