30 veterans honored for victory roles

Updated: 2015-09-04 23:01

(China Daily)

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China honored 30 veterans on Wednesday for their contributions to the country’s victory against Japanese aggression.

The ceremony at the Great Hall of the People took place a day before the victory parade in Tian’anmen Square marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Receiving a salute from an honor guard, President Xi Jinping approached the veterans and awarded them commemorative medals. Many of them are aged about 100 and use wheelchairs, but some of them stood and saluted.

Ten of the medals were awarded to foreign veterans or relatives of foreign soldiers who died fighting for China during World War II.

After awarding the medals, Xi said that many heroes emerged during the 14 years of resistance against Japanese aggression, including fighters from overseas countries such as Canada and India.

“A promising nation cannot go without heroes or pioneers. The Chinese people will never forget the foreign soldiers who fought for China during World War II, and the 10 foreign veterans present today are their representatives,” he said.

TongRongfang,90, from Beijing said it was the happiest day of his life after he received his gold-gilt medal embossed with a design featuring the Yangtze River and an olive branch. Tong’s father, Tong Linge, was a senior general in the Kuomintang who fought during the Lugouqiao Incident, or the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.

This conflict, which broke out in a Beijing suburb in July 1937, led to fullscale war between China and Japan. Tong was the first senior general who died after China mounted all out resistance against the Japanese aggression.

The younger Tong said: “My father’s contribution has been officially recognized. I’m glad the leaders have attached unprecedented significance to the issue.”

Makhmut Gareev, a veteran of the Soviet Army, who fought against the Japanese with Chinese soldiers in Northeast China, said China was the main Eastern battlefield during the World Anti-Fascist War, and its people fought hard and heroically, playing a significant role in the victory.

“Local Chinese showed us such great hospitality, and I will never forget the scene as we were leaving when they waited to see us off.”

Shi Baodong, 90, from Jiangsu province, who fought for five years during the conflict, described the ceremony as “touching and unforgettable”. He felt his contribution had been recognized.

The medals ceremony was the first event in the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (193745) and the World Anti-Fascist War.

Xi, along with more than 30 foreign leaders, will attend the V-Day parade in Tian’anmen Square on Thursday morning.