Japanese on Trial in Beijing, September 1950

Amid the highly-charged atmosphere of autumn 1950 in Beijing, seeking out any and all “enemies of the people,” the city courts put a Japanese on trial for espionage.  Almost fifty-nine years later (e.g., this past June) I happened to meet a bureau chief of a major Japanese news agency who was doing some research on a similar topic in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive.  One of the beautiful and yet frustrating things about the archives is that often one is reduced to copying sources by hand or typing them in the archive onesself, because, as in the case of this document, it has been handled by a ministry other than the MFA.

Enjoy!

MFA File #105-00076-01, “Materials Regarding Japanese Devil Special Agents and the Shangcun Xilai Incident” 关于日魔特务上村喜赖案材料Guanyu Rimo tewu Shangcun Xilai an cailiao, Sept. 11, 1950, 15 pp. [pp. 4-5 are here excerpted]

簽呈

一九五0年八月二日

於條約委員會

案由:北京市人民法院對日寇特務殺人犯上村喜頼擬判死刑事;

章副部長:此件我已和梅先生研究過,提出下述意見,請裁奪;

一、日寇特務上村喜頼罪行累累,死有餘辜,判處極刑,允飛過當;

二、惟該寇所犯罪行大部分為戰行在日寇佔領區內所犯,似屬于廣義的戰犯範圍。按戰犯定義,不僅包括武裝部隊之違法的戰開行為,而亦包括戰時敵人在其作戰區或占領區之內之一切對和平居民之特務間諜活動,以及其他種種違反國際法或人道主義之暴行。準此而論,日寇上村似應以戰犯受審較爲妥當。

三、按國際慣例戰犯審判,大都由特別組織之國際的或國內的軍事法庭行之。由普通地方法院處決者,特殊不多見。

四、因此,君我國異日仍有組織軍事法庭審判戰犯子可能(報載,蘇聯現已扣留對華戰犯數百名,將解我國處理),則上村一案,似以暫予保留,以待異日,移交軍事法庭一幷處理,較爲適宜。

五、倘我方亟於處理該案,使該犯早日明正典刑,則下列數奌似應應顧忌:

甲、判决書中應特別强調普通罪行(尤其是停戰後該犯之幫凶殺人,間諜特務之種種罪惡活動),而不必過分強調“戰犯”字樣。

乙、判處敵國人民死刑,在北京地方法院尚屬創舉,爲正國際視聽起見,似應有公開審判,至少應有自聘或由我政府指定之辯護人。給被告以辯護之權利。(尤其是在此類判處死刑之案件,且被告爲外國人)乃文明國家所應盡,吾人至少在形式上不應該忽視此奌,致貽外人對我司法制度粗野或對我僅懐狹義的報復主義之批評。(蘇聯審訊日本細菌戰犯均舉行公開庭,幷指定有辯護律師多名,辯護律師於審訊總結時并曾分別起立發言,爲各被告請求庭上從輕發落。)

六、總之,此案可大可小,權益處决,固可大快人心,但既有驚動國際與倫觀感及影響我政府威信聲譽之可能,似仍以鄭重處理為宜。

"Propaganda Source Materials," 1950
"Propaganda Source Materials," 1950, Hunter Collection, Center for Research Libraries, Chicago

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