The DPRK leader Kim Jong-il (2nd L) and his youngest son Kim Jong-un (3rd R from Kim Jong-il) visit the cemetery for Chinese soldiers who died during the 1950-1953 Korean War in Hoechang County, DPRK, October 26, 2010, in this picture released by DPRK's official KCNA news agency.[Photo/Agencies]
DANDONG, Liaoning Province - A total of 183,108 officers and soldiers of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) died in the Korean War (1950-1953), according to a latest museum statistics revealed as China commemorated the 60th anniversary of its participation in the war.
The figure that researchers and veterans said so far most fit the real situation is a statistics by the museum for commemoration of the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea in Dandong City of northeast Liaoning Province, which borders the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
It also makes the CPV's casualties less mysterious since there have been different versions spread within and outside China after the war ended on July 27, 1953 with an armistice signed at Panmunjom.
China's official military history document for the war says that CPV had a total of 360,000 deaths and wounded personnel but failed to identify the exact number of those who died for the war.
Addressing CPV veterans on Monday, newly-appointed Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Xi Jinping called the Chinese movement 60 years ago "a great and just war for safeguarding peace and resisting aggression."
A senior military delegation headed by another CMC Vice Chairman Guo Boxiong was visiting the DPRK for commemoration of the war.
Guo also paid a mourning visit on Sunday to CPV martyears' cemetery in Hoechang County of the DPRK's South Phyongan Province where thousands of Chinese soldiers, including late Chairman Mao Zedong's eldest son Mao Anying, were buried.
Chinese ground forces, under the CPV, entered the Korean Peninsula on October 19, 1950, to defend their own territory and to help the Korean People's Army (KPA) against Syngman Rhee's troops and multinational forces assembled in the name of the United Nations.
The CPV launched its first battle on October 25 against a battalion of Syngman Rhee's troops. In 1951, the CPC Central Committee decided to commemorate the war every year on that date.
The museum has been engaged in collecting the CPV's casualties information since the end of 1990s by sending researchers to some 2,670 counties and districts in Chinese mainland's 30 provinces, regions and municipalities except Tibet.
The museum's researchers verified each identity reported by local civil administration departments through comparison with actual situation, Prof. Zhang Zhongyong, a researcher with the museum said. The figure has included fighting personnel who were killed in action, died after being wounded and died from illnesses brought by the war, according to Yin Jibo, the museum's deputy curator.
On both sides of a memorial wall in the museum, visitors could see a number 183,108 representing the CPV's total death toll, and figures from each province, region and municipality.
"Although there could be new discoveries of the casualties in the future, there will be little room for substantial increase," said Yin. "But our work seeking for the CPV's martyears will continue so as to let all future generations remember the martyears' contribution and sacrifice."