Mainstream media hit back at defamation of war heroes

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-22 0:53:02

Debate has raged recently between popular online celebrities, public intellectuals and the mainstream Chinese media over the credibility of stories about Chinese war heroes, as analysts condemn such doubts as attempts to destroy public beliefs.

Voices skeptical about the truth of stories about Chinese war heroes appeared in late March when some cadres said that the story of Qiu Shaoyun - who is described as a hero who chose to burn to death to protect his unit's location during an ambush attempt in the Korean War (1950-53) - seemed to defy their understanding of human physiology, according to the PLA Daily. 

In particular, an online celebrity known as "Zuoyeben," who has eight million followers on the Sina Weibo, crudely described Qiu as "roasted meat," a comment which went viral online.

The story of Huang Jiguang, who died in the Korean War while hurling himself against an enemy machine gun to block its fire, faced similar doubts as some questioned if it is really possible for a human body to block machine gun fire.

In response to these comments, the PLA Daily argued in an article on April 10 that such heroes were "born to fight" and their acts during the war could beyond one's scientific understanding.

The article added that while students may know about human physiology, they did not understand "soldiers' physiology."

Doubts were also raised about other famous historical figures, including Liu Hulan, who was executed by the Kuomintang in 1947 for mobilizing villagers to support the Communist Party of China as a 15-year-old. 

"During the new media era, some eye-catching topics like this skepticism could be quickly spread online and influence the public, especially those who suffer from moral decay," Gong Fangbin, a professor at the PLA's National Defense University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Such questions being raised shows that negative voices are trying to destroy the peoples' political beliefs by deconstructing heroism, he added.

Gong warned that the authorities should pay attention to the trend of historical nihilism which attempts to disturb public beliefs by denying the revolution. "Their views will not be widely accepted by the public and won't affect society in a major way," he said.

Ma Yong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday that these questions should be paid attention to as they may remind the Chinese authorities to consider how to spread tales of heroism in a new way.

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