YICHANG, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Villagers in Yichang City in central China's Hubei Province have called for a martyrs' cemetery to commemorate 3,000 Kuomintang (KMT) soldiers who died fighting the Japanese invaders during World War II.
Li Xian'ai from Nanbian Village has found dozens of skeletons on his land. He said other villagers, too, often come across bones when working their land.
The skeletons are the remains of a division of KMT soldiers, said Yu Guobin, deputy head of the cultural relics survey office of Yilin District, Yichang.
The KMT had reign over China at the time of the Japanese invasion.
They fought bravely for four years to prevent Japanese troops from reaching the war time capital, Chongqing, in southwest China.
The skeletal remains of the soldiers are scattered over an area of two hectares, he added.
"There was a field hospital here. Many soldiers were buried in a nearby cemetery if medical treatment failed," recalled 73-year-old villager Qin Debiao.
Based on historical records and tombstones, experts believe at least 3,000 soldiers of the No. 4 Reserve Division of the KMT's No.75 Corps are buried in the cemetery.
Most of the tombstones have been destroyed, though. On a hill near where the skeletons were found, a damaged stone tablet bears a inscription: "Conquer or die."
Qin and some other villagers recently signed a petition asking for a cemetery to commemorate the soldiers as martyrs be built.
"They died for us. We must preserve their remains," Li Xian'ai said.
The Yilin district government has asked the village committee to collect and preserve the remains. But possible further actions are still being discussed, Yang Yongquan, an official with the district's culture department said.
On Sept. 3, 2005, Chinese President Hu Jintao recognized the role of the KMT in fighting the Japanese aggressors. He said the KMT armies inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese invaders in several major battles.
Many commemoration ceremonies were held for the martyrs who died fighting Japanese aggression on Friday, the 65th anniversary of China's victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.
Changde City in central China's Hunan Province held a commemoration ceremony at the monument of the Changde Battle. Only 83 KMT soldiers of a division of more than 8,000 survived the battle, after holding back for 16 days a contingent of Japanese troops four times their size.
"I miss my comrades. We fought day and night in the city full of blood and bodies," Wu Song, 88, one of the survivors, told the hundreds of people, including visitors from Taiwan, who gathered at the ceremony.
In Nanjing City, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, people gathered at the monument commemorating Chinese, U.S. and Russian air force soldiers who died fighting in the war.
Qin Penghong, 77, and his family were among the first to come. His father, Qin Shaoting, was a pilot in the KMT air force. He died in air combat in January 1945.
"I'm proud of my father. He inspires me and my family to work hard, carry out our duties and contribute to the nation," he said.
Editor: Dong Jirong