CHINA / SOCIETY
Strong patriotism and solidarity as Chinese remember martyrs in Indian border clash, NATO bombing
Published: Apr 05, 2021 11:54 PM
Primary school students pay tribute to martyrs at a cemetery in Huaying City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, April 1, 2021. The Tomb-sweeping Day, also known as Qingming Festival, which falls on April 4 this year, is a Chinese festival when people pay tribute to the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. (Photo by Zhou Songlin/Xinhua)

Primary school students pay tribute to martyrs at a cemetery in Huaying City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, April 1, 2021. The Tomb-sweeping Day, also known as Qingming Festival, which falls on April 4 this year, is a Chinese festival when people pay tribute to the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. (Photo by Zhou Songlin/Xinhua)



This year's Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-sweeping Day, has seen an even stronger atmosphere, with more Chinese people across the country joining together to express their respect for the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to safeguard the country.

From the grey-haired to young students, members of the Communist Party of China (CPC), government officials, ordinary residents, diplomats posted overseas, and people from different sectors came together at this special moment to express their grief for the martyrs in a variety of ways, online and offline.

The strong memorial atmosphere this year came after four Chinese soldiers sacrificed their lives in the China-India border clash last year, and amid the US' continuous military provocations and suppression of China in various aspects, experts said.

During Qingming, streams of local students and villagers from the hometowns of the martyrs visited the cemeteries of the fallen heroes.

"I came here voluntarily to pay my respects, and we are proud of him," a teacher surnamed Zhi in Luohe, Henan Province, who visited the tomb of Wang Zhuoran, one of the fallen heroes in the clash with Indian soldiers, told the Global Times.

Meanwhile in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, activities in various forms have been carried out in many cities to honor martyrs, with many Party members, government officials, residents and border police joining to offer tributes and memories.

The funeral service center in Urumqi, Xinjiang offered an online memorial service, where people can light candles and send flowers and messages to the martyrs.

From Friday to Sunday, Chinese embassies overseas, including those in Serbia, North Korea, Vietnam and Albania, also held ceremonies.

On Saturday local time, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo and other officials and diplomats visited the old site of the Chinese Embassy to the former Yugoslavia and laid wreaths to commemorate three Chinese reporters killed in a bombing by the NATO forces 22 years ago.

On Sunday, all the staff of the Chinese Embassy in North Korea and representatives of Chinese institutions in the country visited the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower in Pyongyang and observed in silence to pay deep tribute to the martyrs of the Chinese People's Volunteers Army.

Schools and colleges across China organized memorial activities to educate the young on the hard efforts that the country and the Party have made to achieve peace and development.

Apart from organized events, more Chinese people have paid respects to fallen heroes spontaneously. A resident surnamed Xu in Shangrao, East China's Jiangxi Province, told the Global Times she and her family visited the Shangrao concentration camp of the Kuomintang era, now a memorial hall commemorating heroes who died in the 1940s.

"Many of the martyrs were Chinese who lived in good conditions overseas, and they returned to the homeland and devoted their lives to the country and did not give up their faith despite the torture at that time. So in times of peace, we need to fight harder and firmly follow the lead of the Party," Xu said.

The memorial for martyrs started on April 1 this year, when Chinese people from different sectors spontaneously mourned the loss of Wang Wei, a Chinese air force pilot who died when his fighter jet collided with a US military reconnaissance aircraft in the South China Sea in 2001, Qi Xingfa, an associate professor at the Department of Politics in East China Normal University, told the Global Times.

"Such a spontaneous memorial from the public is to express their respect for the people who have made contributions to the country, and also to express their patriotism and unity when the country is faced with pressure from the international community," Qi said.

As China becomes stronger, it is inevitable to see some conflicts with the US and its allies, which have been seeking to suppress China in multiple fields for their own interests, Qi said. "In such a context, Chinese people have grown more united."

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, and it is also an occasion for schools and universities to conduct in-depth study on Party and military history. The Qingming activities are a prelude of the patriotic education, experts said.

"The memorial activities are both an annual tradition for Chinese people to remember history and know that peace is hard-won, but also part of national defense education," Mao Shoulong, executive dean of the Academy of Public Policy at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

Such education can help deepen the younger generation's cognition of the Party and the country's history and help them establish a correct view, Mao said.

Qi noted that in addition to memorial ceremonies, China should also strengthen the education of the younger generation about the policies of some countries toward China, so they can have a deep understanding of the complex international environment China is facing, to promote patriotic education and solidarity.


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