The dead for the nation remembered

China Daily
Huang Panyue
2019-04-08 08:17:52

Soldiers escort coffins containing the remains of Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War during a burial ceremony in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, April 4, 2019. Remains of 10 Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War were reburied Thursday in China after they were returned from the Republic of Korea (ROK). [Photo/Xinhua]

ON THURSDAY, the remains of 10 Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War were reburied with a mourning ceremony in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

More than six decades after they died on foreign soil, the soldiers have finally come home.

When China and the Republic of Korea negotiated on the issue in 2013, there were voices on social media platforms that doubted whether it was necessary to bring the remains of those who had died in the war home, saying the cost might be too high. Yet during the past years, with the remains of one soldier after another coming home, these doubts have been erased and there is consensus that the country should honor and pay tribute to them.

Actually, it is common practice for nations to honor and pay their respects to their war dead. The military profession is a highly risky one and those who join it face the possibility of being killed in action.

Even in peace, there are servicemen who die in missions such as training, peacekeeping and disaster relief. And it is not just military personnel who are honored for giving their lives in service to the country. Last month, 30 people died in trying to extinguish a forest fire in Muli county, Southwest China's Sichuan province, 27 of whom were professional firefighters. They were honored in a ceremony on Thursday.

By honoring those who die in service to the country, the nation is telling everyone it won't forget those who died for the public good.

The "no forgetting" means more than just spiritual comfort for the families of those who die, as the State has continually raised the subsidies for the families of those who die doing military service, so as to prevent them from falling into poverty after having already lost their loved ones.

And it is not just the dead who are remembered, but also for the living. In 2018, the Ministry of Veteran Affairs was established to provide assistance to veterans.

On Sunday, in Shenyang, the same city where the remains of the 10 Chinese soldiers who fell in the Korean War were buried, a mourning service was held to commemorate those who died fighting the invading Japanese forces (1931-45). No matter when they died, those who did so fighting for the country will always be remembered.


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