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Canadian surgeon Bethune commemorated in photo exhibition
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09:33, September 20, 2009

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A photo exhibition exclusively dedicated to Canadian surgeon Henry Norman Bethune opened Saturday at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in north China's Shanxi Province.

Bethune is a household name in China, a country where he saved numerous lives and sacrificed his own in 1939 during China's War of Resistance Against Japanese aggression.

"He is noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people," Chairman Mao wrote in his article In Memory of Norman Bethune.

The exhibition consists of 41 photos of Dr. Bethune living and working in China, some of which had never been shown before.

"As Canadians, we are all proud to be associated with this visionary adventurer and deeply touched by the respect and recognition shown to him here in China," said Canadian Ambassador to China, David Mulroney.

Most of the pictures were provided by Wang Yan, daughter of ShaFei, who was a forefather of China's news photography and a close friend of Bethune.

"I remember that I was touched when I first read about Bethune in my school days and now it feels like looking at the pictures of an old friend who has just passed away," said visitor Wu Jun.

"Many people love Bethune for they have learnt his deeds and spirit in Chairman Mao's article while my affection for him comes from his friendship with my father," Wang said. "Bethune was my father's mentor as he exemplified the essence of communism."

Upon his death Bethune left his Kodak Retina camera to Sha Fei.

Bethune also healed Japanese soldiers, took pictures of them, which were sent back to Japan.

"He wished the Japanese people would protest against the war when they saw how their sons were suffering on battlefield. He was a true humanist," Wang said.

Just before he died, Bethune wrote in a letter, saying that the last two years (those he spent in China) have been the most significant, the most meaningful years of his life.


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