The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, 1997, Excerpts
After the Chinese soldiers surrendered in masses, there was virtually no one left to protect the citizens of the city. The Japanese poured into Nanking on December 13, 1937, occupying government buildings, banks, and warehouses, shooting people randomly in the streets, many of them in the back as they ran away.
By the time the Japanese passed through the gates of the city, all those residents who possessed any degree of money, power, or foresight had already left for parts unknown. Approximately half the original population departed: before the war, the native population of the city exceeded 1 million people, and by December it had fallen to about half a million. Without protection, without personal resources, without a plan, al these people had was hope that the Japanese would treat them well. But the welcome was short lived.
The Japanese systematically killed the city dwellers as they conducted house-to-house searches for Chinese soldiers n Nanking. They also massacred the Chinese in the nearby suburbs and countryside. Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river, by ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains. The Japanese shot down any young man who passed, under the presumption that he was likely to be a former Chinese soldier. But they also murdered people who could not possibly be Chinese soldiers – elderly men and women, for instance.
Tens of thousands of young men were rounded up and herded to the outer area of the city; where they were mowed down by machine guns, used for bayonet practice, or soaked with gasoline and burned alive. For months the streets of the city were heaped with corpses and reeked with the stench of rotting human flesh.
The Japanese disemboweled, decapitated, and dismembered victims but performed more excruciating varieties of torture. Throughout the city they nailed prisoners to wooden boards and ran over them with tanks, crucified them to trees and electrical posts, carved long strips of flesh from them, and used them for bayonet practice.
Not only did live burials, castration, the carving of organs, and the roasting of people become routine, but more diabolical tortures were practiced, such as hanging people by their tongues on iron hooks or burying people to their waists and watching them get torn apart by German shepherds. Witnesses saw Japanese soldiers strip a victim naked and direct German shepherds to bite the sensitive areas of his body. The dogs not only ripped open his belly but jerked out his intestines along the ground for a distance.