The Japanese Germ Warfare Experimental Base (Qīnhuá Rìjūn Dì Qī Sān Yāo Bùduì Yízhǐ, 侵华日军第731部队遗址) now shows little evidence of the atrocities of its recent past. Established in 1939 by Japanese troops to "research the capabilities of the soul and the endurance of the human body," the site is said to have witnessed the execution of over 3,000 POWs and the experimentation on 10,000 POWs and civilians from China, Korea, Mongolia, Britain and the former Soviet Union.
Before the Soviets reclaimed the city in 1945, the Japanese army burned the site and destroyed all evidence of what had taken place. This ongoing denial has left deep scabs that resist healing. In the 1980s, the truth came out, when a Japanese journalist published his findings about the role of the army in Harbin.
The museum commemorating the site is close to the location of the original base, 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Harbin, near the town of Pingfang (Píngfáng, 平房). The museum is small and has little evidence of the true past, but it is worth a visit if you are interested in learning more about the history of the largest germ warfare experimentation site to have ever existed.
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