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Peace Event Highlights Sino-US Friendship

The bitter lessons of World War II should never be forgotten to ensure peace is preserved, Anna Chennault, renowned social activist and widow of US war hero General Claire Lee Chennault, stressed at a symposium in Beijing on Tuesday.

The event was organized by the municipal government of Huaihua in Central China's Hunan Province to promote the upcoming Zhijiang International Cultural Festival of Peace.

"The bitter history left by World War II is hard to swallow, yet we should always bear it in mind while working for world peace," Madam Chennault said. "And the Zhijiang Cultural Festival of Peace will offer a great opportunity to do this."

Zhijiang Dong Ethnic Minority Autonomous County in Huaihua was the main battlefield of the famed Flying Tigers led by General Chennault in the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45). It was also the place where Japanese troops surrendered to China on August 21, 1945.

A memorial archway commemorating the surrender stands in Zhijiang. It was built in 1946 to mark the Japanese defeat.

The county also boasts many other relics like the Zhijiang airport, the second-largest airport in the Far-East battlefield during the war.

General Chennault first came to China to help train Chinese pilots when Japan launched its all-out invasion in 1937. The Flying Tigers he led, also known as the China Air Task Force American Volunteer Group, joined the Chinese people in fighting against Japanese aggression in July 1941.

"These courageous people, the Americans and Chinese alike, joined hands to fight aggression, helped bring the war to an end and worked for peace. We need to honour them and remember them," said Madam Chennault, when speaking of the friendship between the Chinese and the US people forged during the anti-Fascist war.

The festival to be held November 15 and 16 includes four major activities: the opening ceremony of the Flying Tigers Museum and the Zhijiang Peace Park, a study-tour to the historic sites in Zhijiang, a forum on history and peace, and a conference on local development.

Former members of the Flying Tigers and their relatives, witnesses of the Japanese surrender in 1945 and other veterans of the World War II will be invited to attend.

(China Daily September 26, 2003)

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