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VJ War Series Part II: How a Guerrilla Solider and a Child Oxherd Contributed to the War Effort
   2015-08-30 09:15:17    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Tiantian

File photo of Yang Jingyu,  a guerrilla solider from northeast China's Helonjiang province who contributed effort to the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. [Photo: Xinhua] 

We now continue our VJ Day series marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.

For China's northeastern provinces, it was a 14-year battle against Japanese occupation and colonial rule. For the entire nation, it meant an all-out war of eight years. National salvation depended on both collective efforts and individual sacrifices.

Sometimes it seemed as if the fate of the entire Chinese nation was on the shoulders of just one person.

In our 2nd report, CRI's Xiaoyi tells about stories of a guerrilla solider and a child oxherd who contributed to the war effort.


Areas along the Songhua River in Heilongjiang Province, especially the vast mountains and deep jungles, witnessed prolonged guerrilla warfare. Soon after it gained full control of the northeast after the September 18th incident in 1931, Japan set up a puppet Manchuria regime and imposed colonial rule, seizing resources, and enforcing cultural invasion.

As China withdrew its regular army, guerrilla warfare became the main form of resistance.

91-year-old Huang Dianjun explains why he fought.

"(People were) Oppressed by the Japanese, beaten and cursed by them. We were furious and full of anger. We had to stand up."

Huang Dianjun joined the combats in snowy mountains. They were led by General Yang Jingyu.

Writer and historian Sa Su says General Yang was one of the most heroic figures in those days, a brave soldier with military wisdom.

"He was the master of guerilla warfare. He was 1.9 meters tall and was nimble. So he was like god to many Chinese. His troops were quick to attack and quick to retreat. They often travelled long distances, leaving enemy troops tracing behind at a loss. Once there was an opportunity for combat, he seized it."

Heavily outnumbered by the enemy, the guerillas managed to inflict big losses of the Japanese, who mobilized elite troops to catch him.

A scorched earth strategy was carried out, looting rural harvests to cut off any means of supply. In February 1940, YangJingyu and his men were separated and surrounded by Japanese troops. He was fighting alone, but hit and ran for five days, with no food at all. Finally, he was killed by machinegun shots.

Historian Sa Su says Yang Jingyu won the respect of even enemy soldiers.

"The Japanese media reported that their soldiers couldn't help but burst into tears for his braveness when they approached the dead body."

Unable to understand why he could hold on, the Japanese ordered an autopsy, only to find tree bark, cotton and grassroots in his stomach, for he had not eaten for more than six days.

Japanese commander at the scene, Ryuichiro Kishitani, was shocked. Later, after Japan's defeat, he committed the seppuku-style suicide. His will reads," His Majesty might be wrong in launching this war. China has steely soldiers like Yang Jingyu. It would not fall."

YangJingyu's death inspired more people to fight. During the 14-year occupation of the northeast and eight-year national war, many joined in the battles.

Down south, in Laiyuan County, about 210 kilometres southwest of Beijing, a boy oxherd's story moved many hearts. A song depicting the sacrifice of 13-year-old Wang Erxiao later became a national hit.

On October 25th, 1942, Erxiao was herding his ox on a mountain slope, when he saw dozens of Japanese soldiers approaching, in search of wounded Chinese soldiers. Thinking there were also thousands of villagers hiding in the valley, the boy lied to the Japanese and led them to the ambush of the Chinese army.

85-year-old Shi Linshan remembers how he cooperated with Erxiao to warn Chinese soldiers that Japanese troops were coming.

"A bayonet was pointed at his back towards the heart. They forced him to show the way to the Chinese army base. He circled them around. He was stalling so that our soldiers could retreat."

When ambushed, one angry soldier stabbed Erxiao and tossed his body onto a mountain rock. The boy died later.

1942 was a tough year for people in North China. Japan was eager to dispatch some of their troops in China to other countries and even cross into Siberia to open a second warfront against Soviet Red Army. But continued fighting in China pinned down many of their divisions, delaying or even barring them carrying out the strategies jointly designed with Nazi-Germany.

Frustrated, the Japanese troops intensified their scorched earth policy, killing, burning and looting, in order to tighten the grip of North China. A tougher time for China, whose regular army were engaged in major battles elsewhere. Therefore pinning down as many enemy troops as possible would mean doing the impossible, and they did it, often relying on individual sacrifices, as in the case of Wang Erxiao.

Deputy Curator of the Museum of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, Luo Cunkang, emphasizes the distinguished contribution Chinese people made to the global anti-Fascist war.

"Another thing is China was the main oriental battlefield in the whole picture of the world's anti-Fascist war.However some Chinese people have little awareness of the important role that China played in this regard. Also the international community has put little emphasis on this fact."

1.5 million Japanese soldiers were eliminated in China, accounting for about 70 percent of Japanese casualties in World War Two. That helped achieve the overall victory of allied troops, at a huge cost of national sacrifices and individual pains, with a total casualty of 35-million Chinese.

CRI's Xiaoyi with Part Two of our VJ-Day series. Tomorrow, we will take a detailed look at the bitterness of the war.

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