In 1941 Moscow, Chi­nese boy felt ef­fects of Nazi in­va­sion

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO XU in Bei­jing zhaoxu@chi­

Life in Rus­sia — or the for­mer Soviet Union, to be pre­cise — rep­re­sented Li Shuhua’s en­tire child­hood. And the 79-year-old vividly re­mem­bers the day when news broke on June 22, 1941, that Nazi Ger­many had at­tacked the Sovi­ets.

“My whole fam­ily was in Moscow — my par­ents, my younger brother and me. My mother was about to take me to the park when the shock­ing news hit ev­ery­one through the ra­dio waves,” he said. “I re­mem­ber Dad said to us: ‘Don’t go any­where’.

On Tues­day af­ter­noon, Li, who left his adopted home only af­ter the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, shared sto­ries of his youth with the me­dia dur­ing a con­fer­ence in a down­town Bei­jing ho­tel.

Co-hosted by www.peo­ple. and Ros­siya Se­god­nya, a Moscow-based news agency, the event brought vet­er­ans and their descen­dants to­gether with his­to­ri­ans, re­searchers and mil­i­tary strate­gists, in an ef­fort to paint a pic­ture of the Si­noRus­sia co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes dur­ing World War II.

“In 1942, I was 5 and had no idea what a war was. But then I lived it, and lived through it,” he said. “Never get­ting to fight on the front line didn’t make me a wit­ness to the war. I was ev­ery bit a par­tic­i­pant, and the full ef­fect of the war is still sink­ing into me, even at this age.”

In the mid-1930s, Li’s par­ents went to the Soviet Union. The fam­ily moved to Moscow in 1939, three years af­ter Li’s birth. His fa­ther, a Com­mu­nist, worked at a Rus­sian ra­dio sta­tion broad­cast­ing to China and the rest of East Asia.

“At one time, the Ger­mans were loom­ing on the doorstep of Moscow. My fa­ther con­tin­ued his broad­cast­ing,” he said. “The Ger­mans never turned up, thanks to the sol­diers who made un­be­liev­able sac­ri­fices.”

“For those who were in­jured, we chil­dren were or­ga­nized to per­form for them,” he con­tin­ued. “And for do­ing this, the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment to­day gives me the medal,” he said with a grin.

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