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China's forgotten army

Time:2015-08-28 14:12:18 Source: China Daily China Youth International



  The Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, a communist-led guerrilla force, offered the largest resistance to Japan's occupation of northeastern China and the Manchukuo puppet regime it established in the area. Provided to China Daily

  During the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and also during World War II, a small, Communist-led guerrilla force was at the forefront of resistance in Northeast China. Now, that contribution is set to win the respect it deserves, as He Na, Liu Mingtai and Han Junhong report from Changchun.

  Cao Baoming is desperate to record as many stories as possible about events in the Changbai Mountains more than 70 years ago, when the 1,300-kilometer-long range was the main theater of resistance to the Japanese occupation of China.

  No one knows exactly how many Chinese soldiers died in the fierce fighting that encompassed the mountains that separate China, Russia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but Cao is determined to discover as much as he can.

  "So little has been recorded about NAJUA," said the vice-president of the Jilin Provincial Folk Literature and Art Society.

Cao was referring to the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, a communist-led guerrilla force that offered the largest resistance to Japan's occupation of northeastern China and the Manchukuo puppet regime it had established.




  "Japan used northeast China as the supply base for its more-distant military excursions. Without the constant attacks by NAJUA that diverted its attention and strength, the Japanese army would have found it easier to turn its aggression on the rest of China," he said.

  "The Japanese had worked out many ways to cut NAJUA's supply lines, but the guerrillas persevered and launched attacks that forced the Japanese to divert forces for punitive expeditions against them," he added.

  However, to Cao's dismay, very few files and documents relate to this important part of Chinese history. "Apart from the stories of Yang Jingyu and several other NAJUA leaders, people rarely know the history, let alone the stories of those unknown soldiers," he said.

  Cao spent the last Lunar New Year holiday at a private nursing home for old soldiers, and during his visit, he met a NAJUA veteran.

  "I was absolutely moved by his stories, which were so real and new to me," he said. "Oral history is one of the few ways we can learn about this guerrilla army. The surviving NAJUA veterans are part of a history that should be remembered."

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