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A lost soldiers' cemetery in NW China

( Updated: 2011-08-17 17:36

A lost soldiers' cemetery in NW China

Li Zhilong, a retired veteran, salutes in front of a tomb at a desolate soldiers' cemetery in Huiyuan town, Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Aug 8, 2011. The cemetery has 67 tombs of soldiers - Li's comrades in arms - who sacrificed their lives during service in a regiment that was dispatched to help the development of the town in 1950. Most of them died from overwork and tough conditions. The regiment reclaimed a lot of wasteland during that time. In 1997, family members of General Liu Guanghan, the colonel of the regiment, following Liu's will, buried half of his ashes in this cemetery, but did not set up a tombstone until 2010. Meanwhile, the cemetery became a piece of wildland without proper maintenance and was almost forgotten by the local young people. Some tombstones suffered serious damage, making it hard to recognize the names on them, and some were lost altogether. An uneven small path is the only access to this cemetery, where garbage and animal feces can be seen everywhere. A plan to renovate the cemetery was proposed by local government and is awaiting approval.[Photo/CFP]

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