Group sent to DPRK to honor mar­tyrs

China Daily - - TOP NEWS - By WANG XIAOYU wangx­i­aoyu@chi­

China re­cently sent a large del­e­ga­tion to the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea to hold a me­mo­rial cer­e­mony for Chi­nese sol­diers who died and were buried there, mark­ing the first over­seas me­mo­rial ac­tiv­ity in the wake of a law hon­or­ing fallen he­roes.

The visit by the del­e­ga­tion of 50, or­ga­nized by the Min­istry of Vet­eran Af­fairs, from Oct 24 to 29, marks the first of its kind since the min­istry was es­tab­lished in April and the Law on the Pro­tec­tion of He­roes and Mar­tyrs took ef­fect in May.

Li Guiguang, head of the del­e­ga­tion and deputy di­rec­tor of the de­part­ment in charge of ex­tol­ment and com­mem­o­ra­tion af­fairs of the min­istry, told PLA Daily that the visit is of “great sig­nif­i­cance in terms of en­hanc­ing China-DPRK friend­ship and strength­en­ing com­mem­o­ra­tion of mar­tyrs who were laid to rest in the DPRK”.

About 2.4 mil­lion sol­diers from the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Vol­un­teer Army fought in the Korean War (1950-53), and 105,000 out of 197,653 mar­tyrs were en­tombed in the DPRK, ac­cord­ing to Li. Af­ter the war, China built some 2,800 mar­tyrs’ ceme­ter­ies in the DPRK be­tween 1953 and 1958, but the ceme­ter­ies were re­lo­cated in the 1970s.

The two coun­tries have jointly lo­cated and in­spected 67 me­mo­rial fa­cil­i­ties in the DPRK, while four more have been lo­cated but not yet vis­ited, he said, adding that in­for­ma­tion about some 4,000 mar­tyrs has to be ver­i­fied. Five mar­tyrs’ ceme­ter­ies have been re­fur­bished since 2011, with two fin­ished this year.

Joint ef­forts will con­tinue to build, pro­tect and prop­erly man­age memo­ri­als built in honor of mar­tyrs, he said.

Also, con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start by year’s end on a new me­mo­rial in Zam­bia that brings to­gether three sep­a­rate ceme­ter­ies. Li said Zam­bia has agreed to al­lo­cate a 2-hectare lot near the Univer­sity of Zam­bia in Lusaka, the cap­i­tal, to com­mem­o­rate Chi­nese en­gi­neers and work­ers who died dur­ing for­eign aid projects.

The Chi­nese em­bassy in Zam­bia said 36 Chi­nese en­gi­neers and work­ers on mis­sions to help build in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing 18 who died dur­ing con­struc­tion of the Tan­za­ni­aZam­bia Rail­way in the 1970s, were laid to rest in Zam­bia.

An­other 51 Chi­nese who died dur­ing the rail­way’s con­struc­tion were buried in Tan­za­nia. One was buried at sea.

The Law on the Pro­tec­tion of He­roes and Mar­tyrs stip­u­lates that the coun­try will work with other coun­tries to look for and collect the re­mains and his­tor­i­cal records of he­roes and mar­tyrs, and strengthen main­te­nance and pro­tec­tion of me­mo­rial fa­cil­i­ties abroad.

The min­istry said there are 180 me­mo­rial fa­cil­i­ties for Chi­nese mar­tyrs in 27 for­eign coun­tries, in­clud­ing Viet­nam, In­dia, Myan­mar, Rus­sia and Tan­za­nia.

Li said new tech­nol­ogy will be used to present mar­tyr memo­ri­als on­line so those un­able to visit in per­son can send their wishes via vir­tual tools.

In ad­di­tion, a col­lab­o­ra­tive sys­tem in­clud­ing pub­lic se­cu­rity and pub­lic­ity au­thor­i­ties and tele­com and cy­berspace de­part­ments will crack down on deroga­tory be­hav­ior tar­get­ing mar­tyrs, he said.

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