Nanjing woman held for commemorating Japanese war criminals

Ke Jiayun
Wu Aping, a woman who commemorated five Japanese war criminals with Buddhist tablets at a temple in Nanjing, has been detained by police for causing a public disturbance.
Ke Jiayun

Wu Aping, a 31-year-old woman who commemorated five Japanese war criminals with Buddhist tablets at a temple in Nanjing, has been detained by police for disturbing public order.

The Nanjing massacre, when Japanese invaders slaughtered hundreds of thousands of civilians in six weeks from December 1937, is one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th Century. It remains a deeply emotional memory in China.

A visitor to the temple posted photos of the tablets in July, sparking a national outrage, which led to the police investigation.

Wu told police that after arriving in Nanjing from Fujian Province she learned what the Japanese invaders did to China and the crimes committed by the five Japanese war criminals.

She was haunted by nightmares of them for a long time.

But when she became Buddhist,she thought commemorating the killers would end her nightmares. So she set out Buddhist tablets to them at the Xuanzang Temple.

She also set a tablet for Wilhelmina "Minnie" Vautrin, an American missionary famous for the care and protection of as many as 10,000 Chinese refugees during the massacre, which is also known as the Rape of Nanking.

Wu said that when she learned of Vautrin's kindness and later suicide after she returned home to the United States, she wanted to free this noble woman's spirit.

An investigation showed that Wu had visited a doctor three times since March 2017 for insomnia and anxiety and took sedatives and sleeping pills.

In a video released on Monday, Wu said she wanted to apologize to all those hurt by what she did and accepted her penalty.

On Sunday night, the investigation team organized by Nanjing government reported that Wu, who is from Fujian's Jinjiang, moved to Nanjing in 2000 with her parents and worked as a nurse at a local hospital.

In September 2019, she quit to become a laywoman in a temple on Mount Wutai.

On December 18, 2017, she went to the Xuanzang Temple and asked to set some tablets with the names of Japanese war criminals and Vautrin. When the monk asked her who these people are, she said they were her friends.

She paid 3,000 yuan (US$444) to keep the tablets at the temple from 2018 to 2022.

On February 22 this year, a visitor noticed the tablets and took photos of them when joining the monks and some other visitors to help a woman to find the tablet she set. Then the tablets were removed from the shrine.

But on July 21, the visitor posted the photos on social media and these sparked outrage.

The investigation team said Wu's deeds severely violated the principle of Buddhism.

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