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In a press release to foreign reporters, Tang Shengzhi announced the city would not surrender and would fight to the death.
Tang gathered about 100,000 soldiers, largely untrained, including Chinese troops who had participated in the Battle of Shanghai.
The second telegram was sent through Shanghai to Japanese military leaders, advocating for a three-day cease-fire so the Chinese could withdraw from the city.
The following day, on December 10, Rabe got his answer from the Generalissimo.
In 2000, historian Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi concurred with certain Japanese scholars who had argued that the contest was a concocted story, with the collusion of the soldiers themselves for the purpose of raising the national fighting spirit.
In 2005, a Tokyo district judge dismissed a suit by the families of the lieutenants, stating that "the lieutenants admitted the fact that they raced to kill 100 people" and that the story cannot be proven to be clearly false.
Nanjing had been constantly bombed for days and the Chinese troops that remained there were disheartened and had taken to drinking before the city's inevitable fall.
The defense force blocked roads, destroyed boats, and burnt nearby villages, preventing widespread evacuation.Many atrocities were reported to have been committed as the Japanese army advanced from Shanghai to Nanjing.According to one Japanese journalist embedded with Imperial forces at the time, "The reason that the [10th Army] is advancing to Nanking quite rapidly is due to the tacit consent among the officers and men that they could loot and rape as they wish." Novelist Tatsuzō Ishikawa vividly described how the 16th Division of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force committed atrocities on the march between Shanghai and Nanjing in his novel Ikiteiru Heitai (Living Soldiers), which was based on interviews that Ishikawa conducted with troops in Nanjing in January 1938.The Chinese government left for relocation on December 1, and the president left on December 7, leaving the fate of Nanking to an International Committee led by John Rabe.In an attempt to secure permission for this cease-fire from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, a German national by the name of John Rabe who was living in Nanjing and had been acting as the Chairman of the Nanjing International Safety Zone Committee, boarded the USS Panay on December 9. The first was through an American ambassador in Hankow to Chiang, asking that Chinese forces "undertake no military operations" within Nanjing.