The Global Asia Research Center holds an online workshop by Barak Kushner, Professor of East Asian History, University of Cambridge.

Title: The enemy of my enemy is my….enemy? War Criminals in the PRC and the Various Roads to Justice

Lecturer: Barak Kushner (Professor of East Asian History and Chair of Japanese Studies in the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge)

Date & Time: August 3(Tue), 2021, 16:00-18:00 (Japan Time)

Language: English

Eligible participant: student, faculty member, and public

Contact: globalasia-office [at]


In a well-publicized speech delivered in April 1956, just before the PRC trials of Japanese war criminals, Chairman Mao Zedong told his audience that killing prisoners of war was not productive. And he was not just talking about the Japanese in the Taiyuan and Fushun Prisons but the KMT war criminals as well. The little known story of why the CCP prosecuted some but then released all the Japanese war criminals by the early 1960s but kept KMT “war criminals” in jail longer and mostly without trials should draw our attention. Why was the Chinese Communist Party seemingly more benevolent toward the former enemy of the Japanese and less magnanimous toward its own Chinese citizens? How the two prisoner programs interacted and what that relationship reveals more broadly about Sino-Japanese relations from the 1950s-70s will be the focus of this talk.