KUNMING, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- A commemorative event for overseas Chinese who contributed to safeguarding a crucial wartime lifeline was held in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Thursday.
Children of drivers and technicians, members of the public and troops, as well as local officials, paid silent tribute and offered wreaths in front of a monument at a national forest park in Ruili City.
"During the time, many of my friends died from illness, accidents, or bombings," said 102-year-old Weng Jiagui.
During the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), more than 3,000 drivers and maintenance workers left their homes in southeastern Asian countries and returned to China, according to Zhao Jin, publicity head of Yunnan.
They transported munitions and wounded soldiers on the Burma Road, a lifeline that linked the Chinese battlefield with allied forces during World War II.
The road begins in northeast Myanmar and winds across mountainous terrain to Kunming, capital city of Yunnan. It was open in 1938 and cut off by the Japanese troops in 1942.
Historical data show about a third of the drivers and technicians died in China during the war. So far, only 12 of them are still alive, including five in China.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II and the victory of China's resistance against Japanese invasion.