Chinese Forced Labor, the Japanese Government and the Prospects for Redress

The practice was known as “laborer hunting,” and on that June 1944 afternoon 28-year-old Liu Zhongtang became the prey. Abducted at bayonet point by Japanese Army soldiers from his North China farm field, Liu was first taken to their local base camp for torture and interrogation, and then plunged into the brutal feeder system for Chinese forced labor in Japan. At one point he was held in an underground pit covered with wooden boards before ending up in the wretched Tanggu concentration camp on the coast. Detention conditions were so bad that 812 captives died between the Chinese coast and their intended work sites in Japan, in Liu’s case the Ashio coal mine in Tochigi Prefecture.

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