Chinese lament ravaged cemetery of WWII heroes

Updated: 2013-08-16 08:03

(China Daily)

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No flowers, no monuments, not even gravestones were to be found at a cemetery of more than 400 Chinese airmen who fell in battle against Japanese invaders during World War II.

On Saturday, the Chinese magazine People posted an article on its micro blog revealing the dilapidated condition of the cemetery on the outskirts of Kunming, Yunnan province.

The article sparked online fury among netizens and has been forwarded some 21,000 times, drawing about 2,000 comments.

Micro-bloggers paid tribute to the martyrs by posting images of candles and lamented their deplorable treatment, accusing the local government of negligence and disrespect for history.

"Look how they are suffering! This is truly a great sorrow for our nation and our times," weibo user "Kekelifang" commented.

"We simply want a place to mourn them, so please restore the cemetery and take care of it," said Xu Jiabao, 80, a Kunming resident.

Civil affairs authorities in Kunming said on Wednesday that they intended to repair and protect the cemetery "as soon as possible".

Thursday marked the 68th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

Forgotten heroes

On Changchun Hill, 16 km from downtown Kunming, the graveyard is covered with a thicket of weeds and shrubs. Some tombs have sunk or been dug up, and coffins have been broken.

The 1,300-square-meter plot holds the remains of young Kuomintang soldiers who died defending China's southwestern border, said Wei Ligong, deputy director of Kunming's civil affairs bureau.

Those buried at the site include translators and ground staff who worked for the famed "Flying Tigers", a band of volunteer United States fighter pilots sent to China to help repel the Japanese invaders.

Originally located in nearby Xiaomaju village in 1938, the cemetery was moved to Changchun Hill in 1953.

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