Norman Bethune was a well-known international humanitarian. In January 1938, during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, he gave up his comfortable life and job in Canada, and came to China to work for the Chinese army. Bethune, then nearly 50 years old, came to China from Vancouver with Joan Fletcher, a nurse, as a two-person medical team.
He died in November 1939 while trying to save the life of a wounded soldier. Mao Zedong wrote an article the following month, entitled In Memory of Norman Bethune, praising Bethune's humanitarianism and his contribution to China's efforts in fighting the Japan and the war against fascism. Generations of Chinese since continue to be inspired by his absolute selflessness, humanitarianism, strong sense of responsibility, and passion.
To commemorate Bethune, Jing Cha Ji Military Region Model Hospital was renamed Bethune International Peace Hospital, and the medical school renamed Bethune Medical School.
In 1952, Bethune's remains were moved to the north China Martyrs' Cemetery in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei Province.
(China.org.cn November 18, 2005)