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      18210244181 | 登錄 注冊
      發布時間:2022年07月15日     發布人: nanyuzi
      來源: 駐美國使館
      字號 簡體 繁體 打印


      Speech by Ambassador Qin Gang at the Opening Ceremony of “Remembering Heroes – 80th Anniversary of the Flying Tigers and America’s Second World War Air Defense of China Photo Expo”



      10 April 2022






      General Norton Schwartz,

      General Charles Bolden,

      Chairman Jeff Greene,

      Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,



      At the Online Reception of the Chinese Embassy for the 2022 Chinese New Year, I said, “In the coming year of the tiger, let’s not forget the Flying Tigers and many other touching stories.” Today, it is my great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the photo expo to commemorate the Flying Tigers, a great chapter in the history of China -U.S. relations.



      Just now, I toured the photo expo, and saw many precious photos about that part of history. 81 years ago, as China went through the most difficult days in its War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, a group of American pilots, bold and fearless, righteous and honorable, flew high above the land of China. I wish to use this opportunity to pay highest tribute to the Flying Tigers and their families!



      The story of Flying Tigers is a story about the shared fight of China and the U.S. With over 35 million casualties, China was the Eastern main theater of World Anti-fascist War, and in those years, Flying Tigers fought heroically with the Chinese people. From the China-Myanmar border to the Taiwan Strait, from the Yangtze River to the Himalayas, Flying Tigers soared above the sky like eagles, and shot down over 2,600 Japanese fighter jets. They opened up “the Hump”, a dangerous airlift route dubbed the “Skyway to Hell”. Hump pilots, wrote a CBS correspondent, “could plot their course to China by the line of smoking wrecks upon the hillsides.” Every time they boarded the plane, they knew that they might never come back, but none of them ever winced. They chose to fight, together with the Chinese people, for peace, for justice, and for a better world. Their courage and sacrifice has been sewn onto the banner of victory of Chinese people’s war against Japanese aggression.



      Let me recognize Mr. Harry Moyer and Mr. Robert Moore. Both are Flying Tigers veterans. Salute to you!



      The story of Flying Tigers is a story of mutual assistance between China and the U.S. When coming to China, all Flying Tigers pilots carried a blood chit, in case they were downed by the enemy. On the chit it reads, “This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue and protect him”. This was a life-and-death pledge between the Flying Tigers and the Chinese people, who would spare no effort to rescue the U.S. pilots they found.



      Back then, the Chinese were short of food and clothing themselves, but they gave their best food and medicine to the U.S. pilots they rescued. When pilot Glen Beneda parachuted out of his plane, local villagers and China’s New Fourth Army got him out of danger after nearly 60 days of rescue. After pilot Gabriel Disosway made an emergency landing, local villagers built a temporary 1000-meter runway overnight for the rescue plane to land on.



      In the Doolittle Raid in 1942, 64 of the 80 American pilots in the operation were rescued by the Chinese. In revenge, the Japanese invaders killed about 250,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians. But even in such a dire situation, the Chinese people were never scared away.



      We have a saying in China, “A drop of water in need shall be returned with a burst of spring in deed”. We Chinese are a thankful nation, as shown by the story of the Flying Tigers.



      The story of the Flying Tigers is a story about the enduring friendship between China and the U.S. The dust of war has long settled, but the tale of the Flying Tigers has been told and retold, from generation to generation. Museums and parks have been built in many places in China to honor them. The descendants of many Flying Tigers veterans have also become strong champions of China-U.S. relations.



      China and the U.S. have also been working closely to search for the remains of U.S. troops who assisted China in World War II. Inspired by the spirit of the Flying Tigers, many non-governmental groups have pitched in this effort. In 2015, Chinese volunteers, who were self-funded, trekked for a whole of 10 days and 9 nights to reach the glaciers in Tibet. At an altitude of 4,100 meters, they found some remains of three U.S. airmen, comprising 28 bones, who died 72 years ago. The volunteers said, no matter how difficult it would be, we must take the heroes back home.



      The story of “Flying Tigers” is not just a shared memory of China and the U.S. It is a shining beacon in our friendship, and a glorious mark in the history of China-U.S. relations.



      Ladies and gentlemen,



      History should never be forgotten. It deserves to be remembered and honored by future generations.



      The following 81 years since the Flying Tigers have seen tremendous changes in both China and the U.S., and the world today is totally different from 81 years ago. The interests of China and the U.S. have long been intertwined, but China-U.S. relations are facing unprecedented challenges. To go for conflict and confrontation or live in peace, to get stuck in a zero-sum game or to carry out win-win cooperation, these are the questions of the century. The peace we enjoy today has been won by the blood and sacrifices of numerous people, and deserves to be treasured. No one has the right to stoke conflicts and confrontation. The only right choice is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. We need to write more stories of cooperation like the Flying Tigers, for the wellbeing of the two peoples, and peace and stability of the world.



      Let me use the last sentence of General Claire Chennault’s autobiography Way of a Fighter to conclude, “It is my fondest hope that the sign of the Flying Tigers will remain aloft just as long as it is needed and that it will always be remembered on both shores of the Pacific as the symbol of two great peoples working toward a common goal in war and peace.”



      May the sign of the Flying Tigers remain aloft in times of peace!



      Thank you.