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Special Series: "Comfort Women" Part 1. China

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3.1절 특집 기획시리즈: 위안부 1편. 중국

Changes in leadership here in Korea and in Japan may spark hopes for new beginnings but tense unresolved history including 'comfort women' or Japan's wartime sex slaves still strains relations.

In part one of a special series Moon Conn-young shows us how extensive the 'comfort women' network went around the world.
Tonight, she begins in China.

Wuhan, China.

As the capital of China's Hubei province, Wuhan is the most populous city in Central China.

It is to this city that the Imperial Japanese Army brought 16-year-old Ha Sang-suk to serve as a so-called "Comfort Woman," or sexual slave for the Japanese military.

That was 70 years ago and she hasn't been able to return home since.

"I didn't even write once to my family after I left home. What I was forced to do here is not something to be proud of. If my mother had ever found out, imagine how heartbroken she would have been."

What she had to endure seven decades ago still haunts her.

"On holidays, they would line up outside our doors like they were waiting to buy something at a store. We couldn't just serve one soldier. It was five, six in a row. For a young girl, it was so painful to sleep with so many men everyday. I cried so much."

Shanghai is one of the fastest growing cities the world has ever seen.

But, behind the nouveau riche exuberance is a history of shame.

"In the heart of downtown Shanghai stands this Western style building formerly known as the Daiichi Salon. It's the world's very first comfort station established by the Japanese military in late 1931. More than 70 years later, the facade of the building remains intact, even the chrysanthemum Imperial seal of Japan."

With stone fountains and ceramic tiles, this building used to be a luxurious brothel, reserved solely for officers.

Now it's home to low-income residents.

When we first moved in, there was a stage here instead of this wall.

I think women and officers sang and danced together here.

Professor Su Zhiliang is one of a few scholars in China investigating the history of "Comfort Women."

For the last two decades, Su has dedicated himself to digging up cases in China and he's found more than 150 "comfort stations" established by Japanese troops in this city alone.

"The "Comfort Women" system was set up by the Japanese government. Therefore, this constitutes war crimes."

At least 200-thousand women were forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese army.

The victims include women from Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Netherlands who were captured in Indonesia among others.

You can catch an hour-long documentary on Conn-young's report titled "Comfort Women", One Last Cry on March 1st at 11 a.m. Korea time.


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