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Memories Rekindled at Show
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About 200 family members of the founders of the People's Republic of China paid a collective visit yesterday to the biggest military exhibition ever to be held in the country.

Organized at the China People's Revolution Military Museum in Beijing, the free exhibition showcases the latest weaponry, technology, uniforms and equipment used by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). It also outlines the military's history.

"The show is very warm to me," said 81-year-old Liu Zheng, son-in-law of Zhu De, one of the founders of the Chinese Red Army (forerunner of the PLA) and former commander-in-chief of the PLA. "Although I seldom go out due to my age, I managed to come today."

"I am here to revive my memories as well as to learn new things. Many of the weapons and equipment on show are fresh to me."

One of the principles of the PLA is to equip its troops with the latest technology, said Liu.

"We will never intrude on other countries, but we have to be well prepared to protect ours."

Fan Jingming, wife of General Wang Zonghuai, one of the youngest lieutenant generals designated in 1955, said the show reminded her of the tough old days.

"I participated in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression in 1937," said the 86-year-old, who surveyed the show from a wheelchair. "I hope the precious pictures and vivid scenes here can remind people of the arduous era, when thousands of Chinese people paid their lives in exchange for peace and happiness (for the rest of us)."

Yesterday marked Fan's second visit to the show. During her first trip, the exhibition "was too crowded to see the pictures clearly".

Nine of Fan's family members were at the site yesterday, including her 85-year-old sister, who joined the Red Army in 1939.

The idea of a collective visit was raised by one of the daughters of Senior General Xu Haidong.

The show has received at least 1.85 million people, the museum's biggest crowds since 1976, with the daily visits standing at 60,000 persons.

(China Daily August 16, 2007)

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