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Cablegate: Veterans: Chengdu Burma-India Old Soldiers Remember

VZCZCXRO0776
RR RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHCN #0263/01 3190721
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140721Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL CHENGDU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3000
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/VA CENTRAL OFC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 3657

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHENGDU 000263

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI MARR PGOV
SUBJECT: VETERANS: CHENGDU BURMA-INDIA OLD SOLDIERS REMEMBER

CHENGDU 00000263 001.2 OF 002


1.(U) Summary: Chengdu veterans of General Stilwell's army in
the Burma-India Theater presented commemorative medals to the
Consulate and spoke of the importance of remembrance and keeping
the memory alive. The veterans complain that their history has
often been ignored and that the region lacks military cemeteries
for China's World War II veterans. The veterans group hopes to
raise money for a museum in Chengdu so that the memory of the
veterans of the Burma-India Theater will survive them.

Keeping the Memory Alive: Comradeship with American Allies

--------------------------------------------- -------------

2. (U) Drinking tea with Acting Consul General and Congenoff
in Chengdu's People's Park, a dozen veterans, all over eighty
years old, spoke of the great appreciation the people of
Southwest China have for the Flying Tigers and the protection
they provided to Chengdu and other interior cities against the
Japanese. The veterans demonstrated the A-OK thumbs-up sign
they learned from American comrades-in-arms. They recalled
their American teachers in Stilwell's army, the American food
they ate every day, and the American tanks and weapons they
fought with. The commemorative medal the veterans presented to
the Consulate reads "That we fought bravely to kill the enemy
and that we defeated the Japanese invaders - these are our
greatest glory. Medal struck by the Chinese National Resistance
Army and their descendants and by the Chinese India Burma
Expeditionary Army. September 3, 2005." In the center of the
medal is a picture of General Stilwell.

Keeping the Memory Alive: Veterans Wish to be Recognized

--------------------------------------------- -----------

3. (U) The veterans said they were disappointed that many young
people today do not know their story and that there are no
graveyards and memorials in China honoring the Burma-India
campaign veterans. One of the veterans, Huang Shaopu, told of
being asked during a 2005 interview with Asia Week (Hong Kong)
if there are reminders of the Flying Tigers and the American
wartime presence in Chengdu. Huang said he had to tell the
reporter that nothing remains in Chengdu from those days. Huang
said that there should be a museum to educate people about the
sacrifices of the soldiers who fought in the Burma-India
campaign. The group told the Consulate that it hopes the United
States could help. They gave the Consulate a group photograph
they had taken with an American veteran of the Burma-India
Theater who had visited them in October 2008.

Keeping the Memory Alive: Books

-------------------------------

4. (U) In this and a June encounter with the veterans at the
Jianchuan Museum in Dayi, Chengdu to dedicate an exhibit to U.S.
flyers, the veterans enthusiastically recommended recent books
on the Burma-India campaign and the U.S. Army Air Force in China
which they presented to the Consulate General:

-- In 2005, Xu Wen, a Chinese Burma-India Theater veteran and
graduate of Sichuan University, edited in five volumes
interviews with over 100 veterans together with an additional 20
accounts written by individual veterans themselves. The book,
entitled "Hot Blood, Expeditionary Army - Revealing the Secrets
of China's Expeditionary Army" [Rexue, yuanzheng - zhongguo
yuanzhengjun dajiemi] was published by the Dazhong Wenyi
Chubanshe, 2006.

-- "Superfortresses: B-29 in China - Documentary account of
fight of the U.S. Army 20th Air Force in China" [Chaobao Dui:
Meiguo Lujun diershi hangkongdui fuhua zuozhan ziliaoji].
Edited by Li Xiaowei, three volumes, Tianma Book Company, Ltd.
, Hong Kong (contact: b29inchina(at)yahoo.com.cn)

--" The Story of General Sun Liren - An Account of the Chinese
Newly Organized First Army in the India Burma Theater in the War
of Resistance Against Japan", [Sun Liren jiangchunzhuan] edited
by Xue Qingyu, published by Neimenggu Chubanshe, 2000.

Keeping the Memory Alive: Old War Stories Are Less Sensitive Now

--------------------------------------------- -------------------


CHENGDU 00000263 002.2 OF 002


5. (U) This visit with the Burma-India Theater veterans was the
sort of reminder of US-Chinese friendship one regularly
encounters in Southwest China. As the history surrounding the
period becomes less politically sensitive, Chinese television
dramas about World War II depict soldiers dressed in Republic of
China uniforms defending their country against the Japanese
invaders. In earlier decades, such portrayals of military
heroism would be reserved for communist guerilla fighters or for
the Red Army. The veterans complained that many young people
today do not know about the sacrifices they made in the
Burma-India Theater. The veterans hope that their story and
sacrifices will receive more attention in the coming years.

Chengdu Veterans Contact Person

-------------------------------

6. (U) Chengdu Burma-India Theater Veterans group contact
person: Huang Shaopu, hsp1925(at)163.com
ONUFERTD

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