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Canadian Surgeon Bethune to Be Staged on China's TV

A new television drama series on the life of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune, who treated Red Army soldiers on the battle front and died after cutting his finger during surgery, will be shown on China Central Television (CCTV) this summer.

The 20-episode TV biography of the man many say is the most famous foreigner to have lived in China will be broadcast on CCTV Channel 1 in August, said Yang Yang, the series director.

The production began shooting last March and was filmed in China and Canada.

"We will take viewers to the small Canadian town of Gravenhurst in northern Ontario where Dr. Bethune was born. The cast includes more than 100 Westerners," said Yang.

Bethune is played by Canadian actor Trevor Hayes.

Dr. Bethune is widely known in China and still garners deep respect from Chinese who readily relate Canada to the accomplishments of Bethune.

He came to China in 1938 during China's war of resistance against Japanese aggress and set up a front-line mobile hospital where he operated on wounded soldiers and is credited with saving thousands of lives.

While performing surgery, he cut his finger, resulting in blood poisoning which he died from. He died in Tangxian's Huangshikou Village.

Late Chairman Mao Zedong eulogized Bethune for his noble, selfless work and service in an article published on December 21, 1939. For decades, China's school children studied the eulogy, and many people can still recite it. China's highest award in medicine is called the "Bethune Award".

"Chinese see Dr. Bethune as a great man, but few know him well. His passion, his spirit of internationalism and his utter devotion to others are his legacy and that will all be seen in the TV drama," said the director.

(Xinhua News Agency June 7, 2006)

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