5:00AM Saturday May 19, 2007
Lei Guiying, a Chinese woman who testified that she was forced to work in a brothel run by Japan's Imperial Army during World War II, has died at age 79.
Her death marks the passing of one of the few remaining known victims of sexual slavery during Japan's brutal invasion and occupation of much of China, Xinhua News Agency said.
Lei had said she was 13 when she was abducted and raped by Japanese soldiers, who four years earlier had sacked her hometown of Nanjing in the war's worst single atrocity.
She escaped after two years, but was unable to have children and remained silent about her experience for more than six decades.
Researchers say about 200,000 women, mainly from Korea, were forced to serve Japanese troops as prostitutes in army brothels during World War II.
In 1993 Japan's government issued an apology for running the brothels and two years later established a private fund to support the former slaves without conceding official responsibility.
Like most of the former slaves, Lei said she would reject any payment that did not include an official admission of guilt