Ninety-year old veteran of anti-U.S. aid calls on Chinese Communist Party: right the name of thousands of missing officers and soldiers

Liang Suzhen, 92, was a female soldier in the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army during the Korean War. Twenty years ago, she happened to meet the family of a missing North Korean soldier. Since then, she has been on the road of calling on the Chinese government to rehabilitate thousands of missing officers and soldiers, but has never heard anything back.

“Because we have been wandering in this strange land of 3,000 miles for 71 years.

We will never be able to speak.

We will never be able to speak of the tragedy of our sacrifice;

We will never, never, never be able to speak.

We will never be able to tell of our humiliation in the POW camps;

We will never, never, never be able to speak.

We will never be able to tell the story of our longing for our country;

We will never, never, never be able to say

We will never be able to say how much we miss our parents, our wives and our children!”

This is one of the stanzas of a poem written a few years ago by Soo-Jin Liang, who has settled in Sweden, for the missing officers and soldiers of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (CPV), whose commander Peng Dehuai led thousands of hot-blooded young men across the Yalu River to the battlefield in Korea at the end of 1950.

A recent photo of Korean War veteran Liang Suzhen (left) and her son Yin Jin (courtesy of Yin Jin)

It was not until three years later, when an armistice was declared, that China realized the tragic cost of its participation in the war. Initial statistics from the Chinese health service showed that nearly 149,000 volunteers were killed, about 220,000 wounded, about 25,000 missing and about 21,000 captured on the Korean battlefield. The 2010 edition of China’s Literature and History Reference revised the figures, stating that 180,000 people died in the Korean War, but did not list other specific figures. Excluding the more than 10,000 volunteers who “defected” to Taiwan after the war, Liang estimates that more than 8,000 of the missing volunteers have not been accounted for.

Since Liang is too old to be interviewed, her son, Yin Jin, told the station that these missing soldiers and officers have been carrying “trumped up” charges for decades.

“The people who did not return are neither martyrs nor heroes, so there is no way to characterize them, which makes them ‘trumped up’. But during the Cultural Revolution, if someone in your family ‘defected to the enemy’ or had overseas connections, these belonged to the category of people who could not join the party or become officials.”

Yin Jin said his mother met an elderly man named Li Jinying two decades ago, whose brother, Li Xiaochen, was sent to North Korea in 1950 and did not return home until after the armistice, and his family did not receive notice that he had been killed in action. Li Xiaochen’s mother, a small-footed peasant woman, once begged her way to Beijing and other places to inquire about her son’s whereabouts, but was suppressed by the local government, and the authorities confiscated all of Li Xiaochen’s identification, including a letter of condolence signed by He Long, commander of the Jinsui Field Army of the Eighth Route Army, and forbade her from petitioning again. Before she died, Li’s mother instructed her family to continue searching for her son. The fact that Li Xiaochen’s whereabouts were unknown became a stain and a crime for the whole family.

Liang Su-zhen’s transfer certificate issued after the Korean War armistice (courtesy of Yin Jin)

What happened to the Lee family deeply shocked Liang Su-zhen. Since she befriended Li Jinying, she has petitioned several state organs and government departments, including the National People’s Congress, the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, for the vindication of the thousands of volunteer soldiers and officers missing in the Korean War, but has received no response for more than a decade.

Yin Jin said his mother’s appeal for this reason for so many years but has been left indifferent, reflecting the cold-bloodedness of the Chinese government.

“The country lets you resist the U.S. and aid the North Koreans is honorable, you die in the end and no one cares, your family will be arrested anyway if you go to sue …… This reflects a very simple problem, and that is the disrespect for people.”

Our reporter was unable to immediately contact Li Jinying or independently verify exactly what happened to the Li family.

Yin Jin mentioned that after his mother left the country in 2004, she learned that the U.S. government has a department dedicated to finding missing officers and soldiers, while China does not have a similar agency, which further prompted Liang Suzhen to keep submitting letters to the Chinese government, media and NPC deputies in recent years, and she had also opened a Sina blog in 2015 called “Searching for Li Xiaochen, the wandering soul of the resistance war She also started a Sina blog called “Searching for Li Xiaochen, the wandering soul of the war” in 2015, but it was unexplainedly shut down soon after.

The reporter noted that the U.S. Department of Defense established the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Administration (DPAA) years ago to search for the whereabouts of U.S. personnel who were still being held or lost and missing after the end of major wars. On its official website, this department lists the names of Korean War missing persons from every U.S. state and territory, including their names, ranks, affiliation, time of disappearance and other important identifying information. Official figures show that there are still 7,559 U.S. personnel from the Korean War who are still missing.

Cheng Gangyuan, a former truck driver for the 7th Division of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army Artillery and a scholar of the Korean War, said that the Chinese government does not include in the number of killed in action the non-combat casualties, including those killed by enemy aircraft and those who died during transit after being wounded, and that the government has long kept “two accounts” and that the figures released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs are clearly inaccurate.

Cheng said the Chinese government’s delay in giving an account of the missing soldiers and officers shows the indifference of the authorities.

“The Chinese government is indifferent to the lives of soldiers, and they lack the humanitarian spirit of Western countries to figure out the whereabouts of each person. Some of the (Chinese soldiers’) families went to track this down and the government gave them sloppy answers.”

As stated in the poem composed by Liang Suzhen, these missing officers and soldiers have waited too long.

“71 years.

Is it not enough to prove our loyalty to the motherland?

Do we need 710 more years?”