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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Nanking survivor in legal victory
Bodies in a ditch, Nanking
Thousands of bodies were dumped in ditches
A Chinese court has ordered two Japanese historians to pay damages to a woman who survived the Nanking massacre by imperial Japanese troops in 1937-8.

The court said the historians should pay 1.2m yuan ($200,000; 105,500) to Xia Shuqin for wrongly accusing her of fabricating her story of the massacre.

The historians were not present in court and their publisher rejected the ruling as an attack on free speech.

China says Japanese troops killed some 300,000 people in Nanking.

Most historians say at least 150,000 people died when Japanese soldiers occupied the eastern Chinese city in 1937.

But many nationalist Japanese politicians and academics deny any massacre took place or say the numbers have been exaggerated, angering Chinese leaders.

'No jurisdiction'

Ms Xia has said a group of Japanese forcibly entered her family's home in 1937 and murdered seven of her relatives.

Ms Xia, who was eight at the time, and her four-year-old sister survived the assault but were seriously injured.

The Chinese court ruled that the Japanese historians had damaged Ms Xia's reputation and traumatised her by claiming her account of the massacre was untrue.

Two books by Shudo Higashinakano and Toshio Matsumura had accused Ms Xia and other witnesses of lying and said claims of a massacre by Japanese troops were unfounded.

"I will seek redress as long as I live", Ms Xia told China's Xinhua news agency.

"Today I finally won this case at home, but that's not enough. I want to sue them in Japan".

Mr Higashinakano, who teaches at Tokyo's Asia University, has been quoted by Reuters news agency as saying the Chinese court had no right to try the case.

"Under Chinese law, it is the court in the area where an illegal act has taken place that has the power to conduct a trial," he said.

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