Fallen foreign heroes not forgotten

Fallen foreign heroes not forgotten

Chinese people visit the grave of a departed loved one at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing. The cemetery is reserved for national heroes, which includes American doctor George Hatem. [China Daily]

After many decades, foreigners who died for China still live in the memories of Chinese

As Chinese prepare to pay their respects to departed loved ones during Qingming Festival - Tomb-sweeping Day - on Monday, it is traditionally a time to remember the heroes who helped shape modern China.

But it is not just Chinese martyrs who are in people's thoughts; it is also the likes of Dwarkanath Kotnis and the brave Flying Tigers, who have remained not only firm fixtures in school textbooks, but also in the hearts and minds of Chinese.

Like the words on a tombstone, the actions of the past are engraved in history, and for Chinese, Qingming Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day after the spring equinox, is one of the most important days.

People have offered sacrifices to their ancestors for more than 2,500 years since the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC). Nowadays, people clean their ancestors' tombs and eat cold food. Weeds are pulled and dirt swept away, and the family makes offerings and burns special "money".

Although largely a festival for families, many still take time to remember the actions of a few. However, experts have discovered that some heroes' tombs have fallen into disrepair due to a lack of care.

Today, students still learn about legendary author and former Peking University scholar Edgar Snow, and budding medics still celebrate the dedication of George Hatem. But the tombs of others, such as the Flying Tigers, who bolstered China's war effort, have either been forgotten or lost due to the nation's rapid development.

To mark Tomb-sweeping Day, China Daily reporters went to four cemeteries across China to not only visit the tombs of some of China's most important and influential foreign heroes, but also talk to the people who honor and preserve their memory.

   1 2 3 4   

Image gallery

Highlights of Jia Qinglin's work report

China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin delivered a report on the work of the country's top political advisory body at the opening meeting of its annual full session which started in the Great Hall of the People Thursday afternoon.

China vows to boost partnership with Brazil

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in Beijing on Thursday, vowing joint efforts with Brazil' s new leadership to promote their strategic partnership.

CPPCC members arrive for annual session

Members of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) walk to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 3, 2011.