Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

This Article

Why PRC President Cannot Respond to Open Questions concerning the “Nanking Massacre”

By Moteki Hiromichi,

Moteki Hiromichi
Deputy Chairman
On December 13, 1937, the Japanese captured Nanking, the capital of the Republic of China. Subsequently (although not until well after World War II had ended), accusations were leveled to the effect that Japanese military personnel had committed atrocities, including the massacre of 300,000 Chinese, in connection with their occupation of Nanking. Those accusations were brought before the IMTFE (International Military Tribune for the Far East, commonly known as the Tokyo Trials) and the Nanking Public Prosecutor’s Office. To make matters worse, even today, the PRC government stubbornly insists that there was a massacre in Nanking. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Nanking “massacre,” the Chinese renovated the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in 2007, expanding it to three times its former size. Exhibits on display there still bear extravagant allegations of “300,000 victims.”
However, we can now state with assurance that those allegations are patently fallacious. Let us backtrack a bit, to 1938, when the Chinese Nationalist government attempted to persuade the League of Nations to issue a resolution denouncing Japanese encroachment. Please note that that same government never passed a resolution condemning a massacre in Nanking, nor did it pursue a resolution condemning the Japanese for perpetrating a massacre in that city. Furthermore, over a one-year period (a time frame that straddled the Battle of Nanking), the Nationalist Party’s International Propaganda Section, which had relocated from Nanking to Hankou, held 300 press conferences for Western journalists. Not once during any of those conferences, did the Chinese tell reporters that the Japanese murdered civilians in Nanking, or conducted unlawful executions of prisoners of war. In the face of such evidence, it would be preposterous to claim that the news of the massacre of the century perpetrated in China’s capital would not have traveled to Hankou, located less than 500 kilometers away from Nanking. It would be even more preposterous to claim that officials in Hankou were aware of the massacre, but neglected to mention it to members of the foreign press, especially since the very purpose of the press conferences was to elicit sympathy from the nations of Europe and the United States by spouting hyperbole about the Japanese and their evil deeds.
Incredible as it may seem, Communist China maintained its stranglehold on information even into the 21st century, and continued to make these ridiculous allegations. But that stranglehold has now been broken, and definitively so.
PRC Premier Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to Japan in April 2007, followed by President Hu Jintao in May, 2008. On both occasions, the Committee for the Examination of the Facts about Nanking (chaired by Kase Hideaki) submitted open questions compiled by eminent historians to the visiting dignitaries. We have appended the open questions posed to Hu Jintao at the end of this essay. There are five of them, all of which deal with matters of the utmost importance.
President Hu did not respond to our questions (nor did Premier Wen before him). It is possible
that both men ignored them, which we find exceedingly unfortunate in that they were accompanied by a very courteous letter. However, it is more likely that Mr. Hu was unable to respond. He can build a mammoth museum to commemorate a myth, but he cannot provide underpinning for the myth — historical fact. Anyone who reads the open questions will immediately see our point, but we would like to add some explanations and background information.
1. Mao Zedong never mentioned a massacre in Nanking
The authors of Mao: The Unknown Story are critical of Mao Zedong because “not once in his long life did he mention another event that took place at exactly the same time: a huge massacre in Nanjing.”1 In fact, Mao does refer to the Battle of Nanking in an essay entitled “On Protracted War.” He faults the Japanese for a strategic blunder, writing that they surrounded many Chinese but killed few. Mao failed to mention a massacre in Nanking because there was no massacre. When we asked an American scholar, a firm believer in the massacre myth, to explain Mao’s silence on Nanking, he replied that Mao Zedong was delighted by the deaths of so many Nationalists, both military men and civilians.” We pointed out that by December 1937, the Communists and Nationalists had already agreed to work together (the Second United Front), and that Zhou Enlai was second in command of one of the Nationalist propaganda organizations. The American’s curious response was “That’s because Mao Zedong was cruel.” Incidentally, Zhou Enlai never even hinted at anything resembling a massacre in Nanking. We are not surprised that Hu Jintao could offer no response to this question.
2. No reference to Nanking “massacre” at 300 press conferences
In 2005, Asia University Professor Higashinakano Shudo found top-secret documents compiled under the title “Outline of International Propaganda Operations” at the Museum of Chinese Nationalist Party History in Taipei. On the basis of these primary references, Prof. Higashinakano wrote a book entitled Top-Secret Chinese Nationalist Documents Reveal the Truth about Nanking Incident2 (see ). The documents contain detailed descriptions of 300 press conferences for foreign journalists held during the 11-month period between December 1, 1937 and October 24, 1938. However, as we mentioned earlier, no announcement was made about a massacre in Nanking at any of those press conferences. The Chinese Nationalist Party (in other words, the Chinese government) never made any formal reference to a massacre at that time and, understandably, did not condemn the Japanese for having perpetrated a massacre. Confronted with these facts, Mr. Hu could not respond to this question, either.
1 Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (New York: Knopf, 2005), p. 207.
2 Higashinakano Shudo, Nankin jiken: Kokuminto gokuhi bunsho kara kaimei suru (Tokyo: Soshisha, 2006).
Our efforts to explode a myth that has persisted far too long have prompted many to label us Holocaust deniers. (Of course, the accusers never offer a rebuttal based on facts or logic.) But the facts demonstrate that if we are Holocaust deniers, then so were Mao Zedong and the Chinese Nationalist Party in the late 1930s. Like the authors of Mao: The Unknown Story, we must also censure Mao Zedong. However, since there was no Nanking massacre, such censure would be misplaced.
3. Nanking’s population increases during Japanese occupation
Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone is a compilation of records describing the activities of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. It was issued in book form by the Shanghai publisher Kelly & Walsh in 1939, under the supervision of the Nationalist government’s Council of International Affairs. Prior to the Japanese invasion, Tang Shengzhi, commander in chief of the Nanking Defense Corps, had ordered all civilians to assemble in a safety zone. However, it was 15 foreign nationals (Americans, Germans, etc.) who formed the International Committee and saw to those civilians’ needs. Therefore, its members were in a better position than anyone to observe the situation there.
According to the records in Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone, Nanking’s population was 200,000 immediately before the city fell to the Japanese. Statistics dated December 17, 18, 21 and 27 show that the population was, again, 200,000.3 Obviously, there was no decrease in December 1937, and certainly none numbering in the tens of thousands. Moreover, by January 14, 1938, the population had increased to 250,000.4 Note that these are records kept by the members of the International Committee, the overseers of the Safety Zone; we can assume that they are reasonably accurate. They alone soundly discredit the claim that 300,000 Chinese were massacred in Nanking.
4. Witnesses in only one of 26 murder cases
Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone contains accounts of crimes reported by Chinese civilians and attributed to Japanese military personnel. These records contain reports of 26 murders, but only one of them mentions a witness. Furthermore, a case involving a Chinese soldier shot while attempting to escape is described as a lawful killing. In other words, the records kept by the International Committee list absolutely no witnessed unlawful killings. Committee members prepared case records for every crime reported by civilians; they did not, however, investigate the crimes, which makes the records less than reliable. Of the 25 remaining murders, in only three cases was there a body at the alleged crime scene. Therefore, the other 22 reports may have been hearsay.
3 Hsü Shuhsi, ed., Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone (Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 1939), pp.17, 18-20, 48, 57.
4 Ibid., p. 84.
Nanking is smaller than the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. Two hundred thousand people were crowded into the Safety Zone, which was about the size of Central Park (843 acres). The number of murder cases recorded in Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone corresponds well with the lack of a decrease in population (see 3. above). Hu Jintao could not possibly explain how a 300,000-victim massacre occurred in Nanking.
5. Photographs purportedly substantiating massacre claim are fakes
Books asserting that there was a massacre in Nanking (including Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking) and the exhibits at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall include a large number of photographs that purportedly substantiate their position. However, scientific investigations have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that not one of those photographs is authentic. For details, please refer to Analyzing the “Photographic Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre,5 available at Most of the photographs can be traced to two propaganda books produced by the Nationalist government’s Propaganda Bureau: Japanese Atrocities Witnessed by Foreigners and Record of Atrocities Committed by the Japanese Enemy. All of them are fakes, some of which have been “transformed” by simply rewriting their captions. One of them appears to show a Japanese soldier about to behead a Chinese. Even a cursory examination reveals inconsistencies in the way shadows of the men are cast; the photograph is a composite. Furthermore, no one but a member of the Japanese military, or someone authorized by the Japanese military, would have been permitted to take such a photograph. But the Japanese military would never have had any reason to engage in such an act, much less photograph it. And indeed, no photograph even remotely resembling this one has been found in Japan. This is, pure and simple, a photograph that was staged for propaganda purposes. A summary of the aforementioned book can be found at
In the open questions addressed to President Hu Jintao, we urged him to produce photographic evidence of a massacre in Nanking so that we can analyze it scientifically. We doubt that Mr. Hu is not foolish enough to hand over more counterfeit photographs for our scrutiny.
Our open questions prove, in the most basic ways, that there was no massacre in Nanking. Primary contemporary sources like Documents of the Safety Zone negate counterfeit photographs and specious testimonies, no matter how numerous. And only in a propagandist scenario can there be a massacre without a decrease in population.
* * * * *
5 Higashinakano Shudo et al., Nankin no gyakusatsu no “shoko shashin” wo kensho suru (Analyzing the Aphotographic evidence@ of the Nanking massacre) (Tokyo: Soshisha, 2005).
May 5, 2008
As enthusiastic supporters of friendly relations between Japan and the PRC, we would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to President Hu Jintao on the occasion of Your Excellency’s visit to Japan.
For some years, our organization has been engaged in an investigation into the events that transpired in Nanking in connection with the Battle of Nanking, which took place in December 1937. We are profoundly concerned about the PRC’s position on and approach to these events. Additionally, we are exceedingly uncomfortable with the duplicity of the PRC in its pursuit of friendship with Japan on the one hand, and actions that are most unfriendly in nature — the expansion and renovation of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in 2007 — on the other. Recent research has proven that there is absolutely no basis for the claim that there was a massacre in that city. We respectfully request Your Excellency’s responses to five important questions, which follow.
1. Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong never referred to a massacre in Nanking. He made exactly one mention of the Battle of Nanking during a lecture delivered at Yan’an six months after the conflict, reproduced in On Protracted War. Chairman Mao criticized the Japanese for failing to annihilate Chinese troops after having surrounded them. If there had been slaughter in Nanking of a magnitude so great (300,000 civilian victims) as to prompt the description “holocaust of the century,” there is not the slightest chance that he would have been silent on the matter. What are Your Excellency’s thoughts on the facts presented here?
2. In November 1937, during the Second United Front and prior to the Battle of Nanking, the Nationalist Party established a new section at the Central Propaganda Bureau — the International Propaganda Section. We would like to direct Your Excellency’s attention to a top-secret document entitled “Outline of International Propaganda Operations,” which states that the International Propaganda Section held 300 press conferences in Hankou between December 1, 1937 and October 24, 1938 (a period that includes the Battle of Nanking); they were attended by 35 foreign journalists and diplomats, on the average. How does Your Excellency explain the fact that not once during any of these 300 conferences was a statement or announcement made to the effect that a massacre had been perpetrated, or that prisoners of war had been unlawfully killed in Nanking? Does Your Excellency, too, find these circumstances extraordinary?
3. The International Committee administered to the civilians remaining in Nanking, who were gathered in the Safety Zone. Records of the International Committee’s activities were published in 1939 as Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone by a British company in Shanghai, under the auspices of the Nationalist Government’s Council of International Affairs. According to those records, the population of Nanking prior to its occupation by the
Japanese was 200,000. That figure remained unchanged, at 200,000, throughout the remainder of 1937. By the end of January, it had increased to 250,000. These statistics completely and utterly destroy the credibility of any accusation of a massacre that claimed 300,000 victims. What are Your Excellency’s views on this matter?
4. Among the records in the aforementioned Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone are detailed complaints about misconduct attributed to Japanese military personnel. They include a total of 26 murders, only one of which was witnessed (to that account is appended a note describing the “murder” as a lawful execution). Can Your Excellency reconcile these records with the PRC’s claim of a massacre with 300,000 victims?
5. Photographs purported to be evidence of a massacre in Nanking are on display at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, at other exhibitions, and in printed publications. However, Analyzing Photographic “Evidence” of the Nanking Massacre by Higashinakano Shudo (Soshisha, 2005) and other recent scientific research reveal that there are no photographs attesting to a massacre in Nanking. If Your Excellency is aware of photographic evidence of a massacre, please have it forwarded to us so that we may examine it.
On the basis of the factual information contained in these five questions, we are completely and totally convinced that there was no massacre in Nanking. We would greatly appreciate Your Excellency’s responses to our questions. Please note that we have selected the open-question format precisely because the matter at hand is clearly one of the prime concerns of many citizens of Japan and the PRC. Our hopes for friendly relations between our two nations, for all generations to come, rest in Your Excellency’s hands.
Chairman: KASE Hideaki
Secretary-General: FUJIOKA Nobukatsu
Auditors: TOMIZAWA Shigenobu, MOTEKI Hiromichi
Members: ARA Kenichi, UESUGI Chitoshi, KOBAYASHI Taigan,
SUGIHARA Seishiro SUGIYAMA Kouichi, TAKAIKE Katsuhiko, TAKAYAMA Masayuki, HANAOKA Nobuaki,