December 27, 2003

NICHOLAS KRISTOF is fact-checked in this letter to the Times:

In his Dec. 20 column (“The China Threat?”), Nicholas D. Kristof dismissed China’s estimate of 300,000 deaths in the Rape of Nanjing in 1937 and 1938 as “hyperbole,” implying that the People’s Republic of China had deliberately inflated the number to create “a new national glue to hold the country together.”

However, the 300,000 death-toll figure for Nanjing was cited by Chinese and American investigators long before the People’s Republic of China came into existence. . . .

In 1946, the chief prosecutor of the Nanjing District Court concluded that 260,000 Chinese had died from the massacre, while a summary report prepared by the head procurator of the same district court placed the number at more than 300,000.

Ouch.