Director of Education Simon Li visited the John Rabe House in Nanjing and met with the House’s director Mr Yang Shangyou. They had a fruitful discussion on pedagogical approaches to teaching about the rescuers during World War II in Asia such as John Rabe.
In Nanjing this summer, HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li interviewed one of the few remaining Nanjing Massacre survivors Ms Ai Yiying (艾義英), who witnessed the bloody atrocities in her village when she was 9. Since experiencing the atrocities in her childhood, she had nightmares about being chased by Japanese soldiers and got nowhere to hide. She still has wartime nightmares today 80 years later. There are now less than 100 registered Nanjing Massacre survivors today. Ai Yiying is one of them.
On July 17, HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li discussed about Minnie Vautrin and Ginling Women’s College (金陵女子大學) at the actual campus site with the college’s Nanjing Massacre expert researcher Prof Qi Chunfeng (齊春風教授).
During WWII, this women’s college harboured more than 10,000 women in buildings designed to accommodate between 200 and 300 people. Since they sheltered a majority of women, Japanese troops frequently haunted the college and attempted to rape the women inside. The college’s acting principal Minnie Vautrin guarded the college with the motto: “Whoever wants to go through this gate will have to do so over my dead body.”
Director of Education Simon Li visited the world’s first “comfort women” house in Shanghai. Former sex slaves would be a more historically accurate term as they were only euphemistically referred by the Japanese government as “comfort women”. It is now an apartment, but some remnants of the house such as the ticket booth for Japanese soldiers to get sex slaves are still there. Mr Li talked with some residents and heard painful stories from them. He also investigated the remnants, which were unfortunately not preserved by the authorities.
Director of Education Simon Li visited a major hospital in Quzhou, where the Japanese germ warfare took place in World War II. Many victims of the anthrax attack have suffered from rotten feet for decades. Mr Li met a 90-year-old victim, Chen Chunhua, and the chief doctor who took care of the germ warfare victims over the past few years.
HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li met with Professor Chen Lifei (co-author of Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves, UBC Press, 2014) of the Chinese “Comfort Women” History Museum at the Shanghai Normal University in July. Professor Chen gave Mr Li a tour of the moving exhibition on comfort women victims. They then had a meaningful exchange on how to approach the comfort women issue in classroom.