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Time tells the truth

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

15:15, May 16, 2013

Hei Ming shows pictures from his collection Memories of Tian'anmen Square at the ongoing exhibition in EMGdotART, Guangzhou. (China Daily/Zou Zhongpin)

>> Photographer sees value in 1,000 words

Hei Ming's latest project attempts to write the history of nameless soldiers who sacrificed for China in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression - and others who time has forgotten. Xu Jingxi reports in Guangzhou.

Hei Ming was astonished by what he saw on his visit to the Normandy American Cemetery in France last year: Rows of white granite headstones, a cross or Star of David, flush with the vast grassland facing Omaha Beach, the scene of D-Day (June 6, 1944) during World War II.

The headstones commemorate 9,387 American soldiers, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. Engraved on each of the headstones is the person's name, rank, troop number, hometown and the date of death.

On the Walls of the Missing are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

"In sharp contrast, we only have monuments in China to pay tribute to the military dead in the country's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) - as a group. We may know how many soldiers died in the war, but we don't know who they are," says Hei, a documentary photographer who won the Golden Statue Award for China Photography, twice. His works have been exhibited overseas in such places as the National Library of France and the United Nations' headquarters.

"The war is a major event in our nation's history. Those who risked their lives to participate in this war are selfless heroes. Their names and stories deserve to be remembered."

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