"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chinese to Produce Film on Rape of Nanking

Rape of Nanking book cover artReuters reported on Monday that a Chinese film producer has announced plans for a $25 million film about the 1937 Rape of Nanking, a truly horrific atrocity in which Japanese troops brutally murdered tens of thousands of Chinese civilians.

The soldiers went on an appallingly vicious rampage through the captive Chinese city, and the things they did show the very worst of what human beings are capable of doing, including countless rapes, tossing live infants into the air and catching them on the ends of bayonets, and other such astonishingly barbaric behavior. The incident has been documented thoroughly by historians, but the subject has never received much attention. This movie should remedy that. As Reuters reports,

The movie of the massacres of tens of thousands of Chinese civilians by Japanese troops will be based on Iris Chang's bestseller, "The Rape of Nanking," Xinhua news agency said, adding it would involve a U.S. production company and British investors.

"We hope we can make the film a classic on a massacre in the Second World War, just like 'Schindler's List' about the miserable experience of Jewish people during the war," Xinhua quoted Gerald Green, the American producer of the movie, as saying.

China says 300,000 Chinese men, women and children were slaughtered by invading Japanese troops in war-time capital Nanjing, formerly known as Nanking.

Japan claims that the death toll was about half what the Chinese say, but either way it consitutes an extreme outrage. Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, is a very impressive document of the events and the mindset that was put into the soldiers who commited the atrocities.

Reuters reports that the producers are going after some big-name performers to tell this story:

China actress Zhang Ziyi and Malaysia's Michelle Yeoh, stars of Oscar-winning martial arts film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," were on the investors' wish list, Xinhua said.

The movie is scheduled to start shooting in "weeks to come" and would debut in China next year, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, Xinhua said.

This is a piece of history that more people should know more about, in America as much as anywhere else. It is a measure of what human beings in groups are capable of doing to one another, and as such it is something we really need to know.

From Karnick on Culture.

9 comments:

James Elliott said...

There's an excellent documentary about The Rape of Nanking being shown in San Francisco.

Tom Van Dyke said...

It seems impolitic to rub the Japanese' noses in it, since they seem to have joined the ranks of the good guys.

But the Rape of Nanking definitely gives context to the barbarity and desperation that characterized the War in the Pacific, and somewhat to the decision to drop the nukes.

America ignored the rape of Nanking, of course; she admittedly was not ready for war in 1938. Still, barbarism ignored is simply barbarism postponed at one's doorstep, as we learned to our rue.

And may be forced to learn once again.

Tlaloc said...

"It seems impolitic to rub the Japanese' noses in it, since they seem to have joined the ranks of the good guys."

I don;t think rubbing the nose is the point. Nor is their "good guy"-ness relevant. What matters is to remember what has been done by way of preventing it in the future.

The same thing with understanding and remembering the atrocities that the US has had a hand in. We are one of the better countries on earth but we also have terrible horrors we have authored and we need to confront that to have any chance of being better and of maybe someday really being noble.

It seems that the primary difference between conservative and liberal viewpoint- liberals are more interested in find their own faults than someone elses, conservatives the opposite. So when something like Abu Ghraib happens Liberals are horrified because it is a huge black mark ON US. Conservatives instead point at our enemies and identify things they have done that are worse.

Yes Saddam's Abu Ghraib was worse than the US Abu Ghraib. The Soviet Gulags were worse than Guantanamo. But- we didn't run the Soviet Gulags. They didn't reflect on us. Guantanamo does. It is our responsibility. It is our FAULT. Therefor it is our concern, much more so than the Gulags (from the liberal persepective).

The problem is that without the introspection that is denigrated by the conservative view you inevitably are lead off the path and into monstrosity, as the GOP is discovering. They have been thoroughly corrupted so that the party now stands for the very opposite of the original claims, and good conscienced conservatives are left to wonder how it happened.

They should ask the liberals who were paying attention.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

It seems that the primary difference between conservative and liberal viewpoint- liberals are more interested in find their own faults than someone elses, conservatives the opposite.

Are you serious?

Liberals are horrified because it is a huge black mark ON US. Conservatives instead point at our enemies and identify things they have done that are worse.

This tripe doesn't even pass the sniff test.


Not that it matters, but I've been disappointed with TRC lately. It seems that TRC is at its best when there is valid (and thinking) opposition and true debate.

If "liberals are better than conservatives" is as deep as the debate gets, this place is doomed.

Tlaloc said...

"Are you serious?"

Absolutely.



"If "liberals are better than conservatives" is as deep as the debate gets, this place is doomed."

Part of my point was that both view points have valid contentions, it's just that what has come to be known as the liberal view is much more sorely needed. Pointing out the faults in others has always been the easy path.

Tlaloc said...

"This tripe doesn't even pass the sniff test."

Funny, since the segment you quoted is factual. I can point you to any number of conservative blogs whose response to Abu Ghraib was an endless litany of so and so is/was worse.

James Elliott said...

"Not that it matters, but I've been disappointed with TRC lately. It seems that TRC is at its best when there is valid (and thinking) opposition and true debate."

That I'll agree with.

Otherwise, I'm with Tlaloc.

S. T. Karnick said...

I know that there has been a paucity of political posts lately as I have left that beat and returned to my metier, the culture area, on which I have been writing extensively at Karnick on Culture with some cross-posts here. In addition, Hunter Baker has moved to other blogs to work the religion and politics beat. Tom Van Dyke is working to remedy the lack of political writers on the site, which should make things more lively on that front. We aim to please . . . and provoke.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You're unfortunately right, CLA. It's been our policy not to delete comments for content. However, the US' involvement at Abu Ghraib has nothing to do with the Rape of Nanking. We could mention virtually any crime against humanity in this space, and it could be perverted into Abu Ghraib. Word up.

It's good to see you back though. You certainly raise the level of discourse.