Photo taken on July 23, 2022 shows that the Xuanzang Temple in Nanjing is closed to public visits. Photo: CGV
The government of Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, said local police arrested a woman named Wu Aping as she was inscribing Japanese war criminals’ memorial plaques at a local temple.
The move came after the incident sparked public outrage on Chinese social media platforms on Friday and netizens called on local authorities to find out who Wu Aping is and why she or he did it.
Amid public anger, the Nanjing government announced on Sunday that in December 2017, 32-year-old Wu brought to Xuanzang Temple in Nanjing the memorial plaques of five Japanese criminals involved in the Nanjing Massacre during the War of Resistance. against Japanese aggression (1931-1945). ), Iwane Matsui, Hisao Tani, Takeshi Noda, Gunkichi Tanaka and Toshikai Mukai at a price of 100 yuan per tablet per year. She also consecrated the tablet of an American missionary, Minnie Vautrin.
Iwane Matsui was the commander of the Japanese forces occupying Nanjing and a Class A war criminal, who was executed by hanging in 1948. Hisao Tani was the commander of the Japanese Army’s Sixth Division during the Resistance War against the Japanese aggression. Takeshi Noda and Toshikai Mukai had participated in the “100 people killing contest” in Nanjing. Gunkichi Tanaka was a senior captain and the company commander of the Sixth Division who killed over 300 civilians and POWs in the city.
On December 13, 1937, the Nanjing Massacre began, and over a six-week period, invading Japanese troops killed more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers, according to Chinese historians.
Wu told the temple monk the people were his friends and paid 3,000 yuan ($444) at one time to put the memorial plaques in the shrine for five years, according to the announcement.
Another woman, whose name has not been released, visited the temple in February and saw the tablets of Japanese criminals and took pictures. The temple monks then removed these tablets and informed the abbot of the problem. The abbot did not report the issue to relevant authorities and he did not come to public attention until the photos were posted on social media on Thursday, according to the Nanjing government announcement.
The Nanjing government said after an investigation they found the move was totally Wu’s individual action and there was no incitement or conspiracy with others.
Born in 1990 in Fujian, eastern China, Wu came to live in Nanjing with her parents in 2000. She went to Beijing to study at a medical school in 2009 and returned to Nanjing in 2013 to work in a hospital providing nursing services. She quit her job in 2019 and traveled to Mount Wutai, one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, to become a lay Buddhist.
Wu told authorities she suffered psychological trauma and was haunted by nightmares after coming to Nanjing and learning the story of Japanese war criminal atrocities. After coming into contact with Buddhism, she had the bad idea to “resolve grievances” and “get rid of suffering” by enshrining the five Japanese war criminals who invaded China, Wu confessed.
Wu honored Minnie Vautrin, whose Chinese name is Hua Qun, because she also wanted to help him.
Minnie Vautrin (1886-1941) taught at Nanjing Jinling Women’s College between 1919 and 1940, at the time of the Nanjing Massacre. She set up refugee camps at Jinling Women’s College during the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 and 1938, helping to save the lives of women and children. She committed suicide in America in 1941 due to the extreme stress and trauma she suffered during the Nanjing Massacre.
Wu has been hospitalized three times since March 2017 and was taking hypnotic sedatives, according to the investigation.
By selfish and mistaken initiative and understanding, she took the memorial plaques of five Japanese war criminals to religious places. This decision seriously violated the doctrine of Buddhism to promote good and punish evil, undermined public order and hurt the feelings of the people, who are suspected of having committed the crime of provoking quarrels and stir up trouble, the Nanjing government said.
The announcement says police have detained Wu and are still investigating the matter.
The government took care of the temple because it did not verify the identity of the names on the tablets and did not report the problem after discovering the names of the Japanese criminals. The temple’s abbot has been removed from his post and is under investigation.
The issue revealed flaws in the city’s management of religious places. Several officials have been disciplined, the statement said.
The issue has also led Buddhist associations in several Chinese cities, including Guangdong (southern China) and Jiangxi (eastern China), to ask local Buddhist sites to check the memorial plaques they house. and to report irregular situations.
Religious officials in parts of eastern China’s Zhejiang and northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have conducted examinations at local Buddhist temples, demanding clear registration of the person who dedicated the memorial plaques. The Buddhist Association of East China’s Jiangxi Province has asked local temples to report and rectify the abnormal tablets.