The west's dismissal of the khabarovsk trial as 'communist propaganda': Ideology, evidence and international bioethics [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 1 (1):32-42 (2004)
In late 1949 the former Soviet Union conducted an open trial of eight Japanese physicians and researchers and four other military servicemen in Khabarovsk, a city in eastern Siberia. Despite its strong ideological tone and many obvious shortcomings such as the lack of international participation, the trial established beyond reasonable doubt that the Japanese army had prepared and deployed bacteriological weapons and that Japanese researchers had conducted cruel experiments on living human beings. However, the trial, together with the evidence presented to the court and its major findings — which have proved remarkably accurate — was dismissed as communist propaganda and totally ignored in the West until the 1980s. This paper reviews the 1949 Khabarovsk trial, examines the West's dismissal of the proceedings as mere propaganda and draws some moral lessons for bioethics today. As an important historical case, set in the unique socio-political context of the Cold War, the West's dismissal of the trial powerfully illustrates some perennial ethical issues such as the ambivalence of evidence and the power of ideology in making (or failing to make) cross-national and cross-cultural factual and moral judgments.
|Keywords||Human experimentation Japanese war crimes Khabarovsk Trial ideology cross-cultural bioethics|
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References found in this work BETA
Karl Mannheim (1940). Ideology and Utopia. Philosophical Review 49 (2):265-268.
Paul M. McNeill (1993). The Ethics and Politics of Human Experimentation. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Katrien Devolder (2015). U.S. Complicity and Japan's Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response. American Journal of Bioethics 15 (6):40-49.
Jing-Bao Nie (2006). The United States Cover-Up of Japanese Wartime Medical Atrocities: Complicity Committed in the National Interest and Two Proposals for Contemporary Action. American Journal of Bioethics 6 (3):W21-W33.
Maureen H. Fitzgerald (2005). Punctuated Equilibrium, Moral Panics and the Ethics Review Process. Journal of Academic Ethics 2 (4):315-338.
Jing-Bao Nie & Alastair V. Campbell (2007). Multiculturalism and Asian Bioethics: Cultural War or Creative Dialogue? [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 4 (3):163-167.
Jing-Bao Nie (2015). The U.S. Complicity in Japan's Medical War Crimes: A Restatement on Why the U.S. Government Should Apologize and the U.S. Community of Bioethics Should Respond. [REVIEW] American Journal of Bioethics 15 (6):50-52.
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