Chinese Ambassador and Canadian Veterans Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Victory Against Fascism and Japanese Aggression
Mr. George S. MacDonell, Ambassador Luo Zhaohui and Senator Joseph Day (left to right).
In a touching ceremony on a sunny morning at the Hong Kong Memorial Wall at the corner of Sussex Drive and King Edward Avenue, Chinese Ambassador to Canada Luo Zhaohui thanked the 2000 Canadian soldiers who fought in the defence of Hong Kong in 1941 and paid special tribute to those who perished calling them “heroes of Canada and of the world.”
Ambassador Luo Zhaohui solemnly noted, “For the young Canadian fighters, they fought not for conquest. They fought to end conquest. They fought for peace, for lasting peace. Some survived while others never returned. They slept forever in the remote lands. We will never forget them. We will remember them forever.”
The event was attended by representatives of the Canadian government, ambassadors and defence attachés from a multitude of embassies and survivors of the Battle of Hong Kong.
One of Canada’s few living Second World War veterans, Mr. George S. MacDonell spoke on behalf of Canada’s veterans. He was only 19-years-old when he took part in the defence of Hong Kong. MacDonell received a standing ovation before and after his speech, where he spoke of his wartime experiences. He dedicated his remarks to the Chinese volunteers who fought alongside the Canadians in what he described as a courageous attempt to thwart the Japanese invaders against overwhelming odds. He said that Winston Churchill had ordered the British and Canadian troops to do everything possible to fight the Japanese to the end. He noted the Canadians and Chinese volunteers never surrendered and only stopped fighting when they were ordered by their commanders to lay down their weapons as the Japanese finally took the island city after a ferocious 17-day battle.
Senator Joseph Day spoke on behalf of the Canadian government and thanked China and the ambassador for their friendship.
China was a major battlefield of the Second World War and the Chinese people suffered a tremendous loss of more than 35 million people killed or wounded and a direct economic loss of over $100 billion. Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said that the international community stood firmly with China during the Second World War. He then paid tribute to Dr. Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who sacrificed his life for the Chinese war of resistance against Japanese aggression in November 1939. Dr. Bethune is a household name in China and Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said that he is the incarnation of Canada-China friendship.
Ambassador Luo Zhaohui also said that all should cherish lasting peace.
“While today we have the United Nations and the UN Charter, but unfortunately the world today is still not peaceful. In recent years, traditional and non-traditional security challenges have been mixed up. And global economy has experienced ups and downs. There is still a long way to go before a lasting peace can be realized,” he noted.
“To realize lasting peace, we should respect the international order based on the UN Charter, and build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. The Chinese and Canadian people share a common and glorious chapter in the history of World War II. Today we should work more closely together to build a brighter future for the world.”