Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Warning From History – In 1952 China Claimed the USA Spread Germs to Weaken the Chinese War Effort in Korea

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In 1952, China blamed the Yanks for spreading germs to weaken the Chinese war effort in the Korean War (a claim backed at the time by many experts, including my teacher Joseph Needham, an eminent Sinologist and friend of China who specialised in Chinese science). Here’s a poster from the period, with contemporary reference to the foul-breathed Trump, who spreads pestilence just by opening his vile mouth

Gregor Benton

Tariq Ali Offers Extra Evidence :

Gregor Benton just posted a Chinese poster from 1953 re the use of germ warfare by the US in Korea…..here’s a letter sent to the LRB that confirms its use:

I was struck by Tariq Ali’s mention of allegations that the US had used germ warfare in Korea (LRB, 26 January). I was teaching in China for a year in 1987 at the West China University of Medical Science in Chengdu. We had an elderly friend there, Stephen Yang, who was head of the department of thoracic surgery and whom we visited often. I quote from my diary written at the time:

“Supper at Stephen’s and we look at old photos. Quietly he shows us an album of poor black and white snaps, his record of 1953-54 when he was a member of a small medical team in what is today North Korea. He described how they were constantly bombed by the US but the hospital was built in caves along the sides of minor tributary valleys, and the bombs were directed to the main valley so they were spared. He recalls two young American prisoners being brought in, trembling with fear, anticipating torture and death; he was able to reassure them and amazed them by recalling his days as a student in the US. In one or two pictures, there were strange sets of what looked like small metal cages. ‘Oh yes, those are the cages that contained plague infested animals dropped by the Americans. Luckily it was very cold weather and animals and viruses quickly froze to death’ was his calm explanation.”

Stephen was a Quaker, a life-long pacifist, who did his medical studies in the US and Canada and returned to China in 1951. He is dead now, and I do not know what happened to his photographs.

Pat Stapleton
Beaumont du Ventoux, France

Vol. 34 No. 4 · 23 February 2012

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