Honoring the heroes of Songshan Mountain
Updated: 2013-09-04 09:46
By Hu Yongqi in Longling, Yunnan, and Hou Liqiang in Beijing (China Daily)
Hundreds of doves were released into the sky above Songshan Mountain in Yunnan province on Tuesday, marking the 68th anniversary of for the Chinese people's victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).
The anniversary was also marked by the official opening of a memorial park on top of the mountain, complete with 402 sculptures of soldiers from the Chinese Expeditionary Force, which helped defeat Japanese forces during the conflict.
Fu Xinde, 112, the oldest survivor of the Chinese Expeditionary Force, is taken care of by his daughter-in-law in his home in Longling county, Yunnan province, on Monday. Hu Yongqi / China Daily
Thirteen former soldiers attended the inauguration ceremony at the park, which covers 17,500 square meters. They were joined by members of younger generations, who admired the statues and honored the sacrifices made.
On Sept 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered to the United States, and since 1953 the Chinese government has held commemorative ceremonies on Sept 3 every year.
Songshan Mountain is considered an important location for such events, as it was the first place reclaimed by Chinese forces during the World War II.
During the fighting, western parts of Yunnan - particularly Tengchong and Longling counties - were occupied by the Japanese army, which aimed to effectively cut off the Yunnan-Burma Road into Yunnan, thus blocking supply routes from allying countries to China.
In May 1944, 200,000 soldiers from the Chinese Expeditionary Force advanced into Songshan Mountain and other locations in Longling county. Starting in June, more than 17,000 Chinese combatants defeated 3,000 Japanese soldiers in three months of fighting, regaining the mountain, the highest point in the western bank of the Nujiang River.
On Sept 7, Songshan Mountain was finally regained, at a cost of 7,600 Chinese soldiers and some 1,200 Japanese defenders.