Ma Ying-jeou pays tribute to natl hero against Japanese invasion in Chongqing, lays wreath, observes silence, bows and sheds tears
Published: Apr 04, 2023 02:09 PM Updated: Apr 04, 2023 03:39 PM

Former chairperson of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday paid a visit to the tomb of KMT general Zhang Zizhong in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Paying respects to a national hero who died for the country in War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, Ma could not hide his emotions and choked up several times, wiping away his tears.

General Zhang Zizhong, commander of the 33rd Army Group, was killed during the battle on May 16, 1940. Zhang was the highest-ranked officer killed during the war against Japanese aggression, which lasted from 1937 to 1945. There are roads named after him in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin in memorizing the national hero. 

Accompanied by Zhang's grandson Zhang Qingcheng, Ma and his delegation continued to trace the historical memories of the war against Japanese aggression between Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits in Chongqing, the provisional wartime capital of the Nationalist government.

In the memorial Hall of General Zhang Zizhong, Chinese calligraphy from late Chairman Mao Zedong "Serve the country with loyalty" is displayed.

After visiting the indoor exhibition which showcases Zhang's heroic and patriotic experiences, Ma went outdoors and laid wreath at Zhang Zizhong's tomb, bowed to pay respects and observed a minute of silence. He took out a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe away tears.

In addition to the original protocol of three bows, Ma paid another three bows, highlighting the contribution of general Zhang to Chinese nation and his weight in Ma's mind.

After paying tribute to general Zhang, Ma left his signature on a bookmark and gave it to grandson Zhang Qingcheng.

"General Zhang suffered a lot," Ma said, choking up as he talked to Zhang Qingcheng. "He died a great martyr." 

When asked about why the group visited so many historic sites related to the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression during Ma's mainland visits, Hsiao Hsu-tsen, the Director of Ma Ying-jeou Foundation told the Global Times that Ma had always attached great importance to that period of history. "He believes that our ancestors paid so much blood and laid down their lives for our people, and our later generations should not forget it."

Taiwan students were deeply touched, because of DPP policy, they could not see this history, but after visiting mainland with Ma, they received info that they never received, they are more reflective to real history, and memories of these past heroes and martyrs, Hsiao said. 

Chinese suffered much humiliation during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. General Zhang Zizhong showed Chinese national character in preserving and protecting our homeland, a student from Taiwan surnamed Zhan, a member of Ma's delegation, told the Global Times on Tuesday.  

Ma is also expected to visit the historical site of a university in which his parents had completed their university education during the war. 

Tales of heroism against invaders had been the subject of his bedside stories since childhood, Ma said during talk with Yuan Jiajun, secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Monday. 

Ma told Yuan that visiting historical sites related to anti-Japanese invasion is an important process of reconnecting the two sides of the Straits for young people with shared memories of Chinese people.