A veteran of the famous Flying Tigers jet fighters squadron during World War II has sent an open letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, urging him to apologize to the Chinese people for the atrocities committed by Japanese imperial army during the war.
John Yee, who was born in China and is now living in the United States, said in the letter that the Dec. 27 visit to Pearl Harbor by Abe is “more USA-Japan theater.”
“The first people the Japanese should apologize to are the Chinese — for the Rape of Nanking, for invading China, for murdering millions of Chinese people,” said Yee, who added that he intends to send this letter through Xinhua.
“I was 17-year old and living in Kunming when the Japanese slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Nanking, 1,340 miles (2,156 km) away,” Yee said at the beginning of the letter.
“Japan tried to take over Asia and Germany tried to take over Europe. Same thing, and just like Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews in Europe, the Japanese committed a genocide against the Chinese. But Western educators and media have yet to recognize the extent of the atrocities committed by Japan,” he said.
Yee was born on Nov. 29, 1921 in Zhaotong, Yunnan Province of China. He served as an interpreter for the Flying Tigers until 1942. The Flying Tigers was composed of members of the U.S. Army Air Corps fighting under the Chinese Air Force.
He later studied at Denver University in the United States and taught Chinese language and East Asian history in both high schools and colleges in Colorado.
In 2012, the Colorado State government declared July 17 “John Yee Day” to highlight his contributions to winning World War II, in particular his service to the Flying Tigers, headed by Claire Chennault.
In the letter, Yee also recalled that Western countries failed to act when Japan invaded China.
“Japan invaded Manchuria (Northeast China) in 1931, and when China appealed in the League of Nations, the Japanese contingent got up and walked out of the room. And the world’s big Western powers — England, France, Germany, Italy and America — did nothing,” he said.
“Had they intervened, in any capacity, the slaughter of millions of Chinese might have been averted. The Japanese have no more excuse than Hitler had. There are several countries that Japan should apologize to, and China is at the top of the list. Not the USA,” said Yee.
“More Japanese and American back-rubbing seems to be on show in Pearl Harbor this week,” he closed.